Welcome to our interview series with the partners running Better Factory. Today we are lucky to be joined by two of our all-star team, Tânia Moreira and Marco Duarte, to learn more about Inova+ and their role in the project!

Tânia Moreira is EU Project Manager at INOVA+. She has contributed to the concept, management, and dissemination of H2020 projects, namely S+T+ARTS initiative’s projects, LEA, European Researchers’ Night – ScienceWars.

Marco is an H2020 Consultant at INOVA+. He has experience in IT Management and Consultancy, across Health and Well-being, Retail and Industry.

Thank you for joining us today! Please could you give us a short introduction to INOVA+, and your role there, in your own words?

INOVA+ is the leading consultancy company in the field of coordination, management, and dissemination and exploitation of international projects. Our mission is to deliver knowledge, management capacity, networking empowerment, and the technical and financial support for the design and development of projects on Innovation, Training and Research & Technological Development.

INOVA+ is based in Porto, Portugal, and is also located in Lisbon, Brussels, Heidelberg and Warsaw. We are a company with international dimension and experience since our beginning, which believes that innovation is the key for organizations’ growth.

Tânia participating in the Better Factory live stream interview from the S+T+ARTS booth, at ERF200

Thank you! To someone reading this who has never heard of Better Factory before, how would you describe it in simple terms, and why do you feel it is significant?

Better Factory is a H2020 Project which invites small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies to re-design and take their product portfolio into lean and agile production facilities. Manufacturers can tap into disruptive product innovation that responds to new market demands from the collaboration with Artists and Technology Suppliers. The two-round experience of 16 months from each group of manufacturing SMEs, artists, and technology suppliers – with the support of together with business, arts mentors and technology experts – will enable to scale-up their product and service portfolio through testing commercial tools for optimization of waste, energy, resources and logistics. The combination of expertise and know-how from these different actors is the uniqueness of Better Factory!

RAMP will offer manufacturing SMEs highly customized product developments from technology suppliers, as well creative services by artists – one of a kind and tailored solutions for manufacturing SMEs as micro‐services.

Inova+ is the leader of one of the project’s work packages, ‘Knowledge Transfer Program’. This means that you are leading the business, art and technology mentoring processes for each of the 16 teams comprised of one artist, one SME and one technology provider, as they work on their KTE (Knowledge Transfer experiment). Could you tell us more about that process, for any future applicants that are reading?  

Taking part in the Knowledge Transfer Programme is a great challenge but it is promising very interesting results! Each team of KTEs – an SME, artist and technology supplier – are mentored from the beginning of the process – following their matchmaking and proposal definition for their experiment as a team. The work plan is divided into three main phases: (i) knowledge co-creation by the definition of a mentoring plan; (ii) knowledge transfer by implementation and testing of multiple ideas and experiments to address the respective SME challenge; and the (iii) knowledge scale-up by supporting the team to explore and commercialise the KTE results. The final goal for the KTEs will be to support the participants in the generation of new businesses from the creation of their success stories.

What are you personally most excited about achieving with Better Factory?

The most exciting point in Better Factory is the given possibility to develop innovative ideas to produce prototypes which on one hand addresses the needs of manufacturing SMEs to improve the effectiveness and optimisation of production processes, and on the other hand, offers a unique collaboration between technology supplier and artist – with different experiences and mind-sets but perfectly matched to produce a unique approach for the SME challenge.

The total 16 teams in Better Factory not only will be addressing real challenges in manufacturing companies, but also discovering new ideas, approaches, and methods which can be applied to other manufacturing SMEs looking to scale-up by optimised automation processes.

What do you think are the main challenges of the project?

The project has the great challenge to provide crucial support in guiding artists and technology suppliers to develop creative and innovative solutions that must provide real value in addressing the SME challenges, while at the same time, meet their expectations on technology offer on marketplace. Technical requirements and expectations, and being evaluated in a continuous manner, enhance robustness of the Better Factory marketplace platform with state-of-the-art technology for manufacturing digital services.

How do you see the future of the RAMP platform, after the project has ended?

RAMP can disrupt the manufacturing SMEs on offering smart robotics and automation services. The marketplace will allow manufacturing SMEs to connect the factory devices and perform experiments with services, requiring no infrastructure change, no production downtime, and no in‐house expertise. This makes their investment in digital technologies extremely cost effective and risk free, making it highly attractive. Moreover, it will also drastically simplify the entry of technology provider SMEs and start‐ups into the digitization value‐chain. RAMP will offer to Manufacturing SMEs highly customized product developments from technology suppliers as well creative services by artists, one of a kind and tailored solutions for manufacturing SMEs as micro‐services.

No doubt there will be some readers that are keen to meet you to talk more about the project and your role in it. Which events can people find you at in 2022, and beyond?

Yes! You can meet us at: 

If you’d like to learn more about our partners or KTEs, just head back to the Insights section to read more interviews!