ToyLabs aspires to create synergies among SMEs from the toy manufacturing industry and FabLabs in order to provide the first with the ability to deliver more innovative toys and games, leveraging the expertise of FabLabs on digital fabrication and ICT-enabled techniques for rapid prototyping and production.
Toylabs addresses the Objective's "ICT-21-2016: Support technology transfer to the creative industries" scope to...
"... support creative industries SMEs in leveraging emerging ICT technologies for the development of innovative products, tools, applications and services with high commercial potential."
ToyLabs categorises its Objectives and Goals in three areas, namely Scientific, Technical and Business.
Develop an Agile Toy Co-Design and Co-Creation methodology, early engaging customers in product development iterationsScientific Objective I: Develop an Agile Toy Co-Design and Co-Creation methodology, early engaging customers in product development iterations
ToyLabs will propose a novel integrated methodology for accelerating innovation in a high demand creative industry connecting the design and creative process initiated by SME Toy manufacturers to flexible shared manufacturing facilities (FabLabs) and to prospective customers in an efficient way overcoming usual geographical and technical barriers. The methodology targets at enhancing the innovation throughput of EU creative industries on the basis of increased collaboration and involvement of external stakeholders from the early stages of the process. The methodology will follow an agile approach, including rapid iterations and advanced information models and will involve multiple stakeholders, starting from the toy manufacturing SMEs and including FabLabs (considered not only as manufacturing facilities but as co-creators of the products), Toy Safety Experts and potential End Users/ Customers.
Develop a market trends early prediction approach based on social and public analytics
ToyLabs will develop an approach for analysing multiple available resources of information about market trends in the Toy Industry, directly from textual information and opinions expressed in the web - especially in the social media - but also indirectly through image analysis. The approach will serve as the basis for the development of the market analytics and trends analysis component to be integrated in ToyLabs platform.
Build and Validate an enhanced Open Innovation Model applicable by any creative SMEs, accelerating the transformation of their Creative Inspiration to Business Impact
While increasing interest is being shown in the development and application of open innovation models, research and applications mostly focus on large technology-based companies, where the notion of open innovation first started, rather than on the SME sector. ToyLabs will focus on the development of an enhanced model especially addressed to SMEs, which, although they do consider external collaborations as a way to extend their technological competences, they are usually limited to common outsourcing and/or alliances with larger firms and seem to pay little attention into building close cooperation with other SMEs benefiting by the exchange of their creative competencies. The ToyLabs Open Innovation Model will not be limited to the early stages of innovation but will cover the whole lifecycle of a new product, from the concept creation up to its commercialization and afterwards the collection and management of end-customers’ feedback.
Develop an innovative Open-Source enterprise collaboration platform supporting the collaborative creation, production and distribution of new products under the prism of the ToyLabs Methodology and proposed Open Innovation Model
The co-design and co-creation methodology and the enhanced open innovation model to be developed in the framework of the project (see SO I & II) will be realised via an open-source platform through which the whole creation process will be supported. The ToyLabs platform will be able to drive and orchestrate the agile collaborative product design and creation process, bringing together all involved parties, taking advantage of advanced information models and data analytics and incorporating mechanisms for interoperating with popular tools and services for product modelling, design, testing and manufacturing that the involved parties specifically use in their business.
Utilise Augmented Reality technologies for product concept and design validation by end customers
ToyLabs will design and build an Augmented Reality component for getting users’ feedback on new concepts through a virtual experience of playing with toys which are still at the design phase. Through AR, the user focus groups will be able to gain a complete understanding of the look and feel of the toys, as well as of their operation/ gameplay and on the basis of their experience and preferences to provide recommendations either for improving or for customising the concept.
Prove and optimise the ToyLabs framework and outcomes through a set of pilots engaging Toy Manufacturing SMEs, FabLabs and Toy Safety Experts
Proving and optimising the concept and the tools developed by ToyLabs through a set of pilots on real-life cases is a core objective of the project. The ToyLabs pilots will validate the overall methodology and supportive platform and tools in practice, targeting at pushing in the market new toys, co-created, certified and customer-verified, following the ToyLabs collaboration model.
Build a concrete Business Plan and new viable business models reorienting and extending the value chain by engaging customers and decentralised manufacturing facilities in the production process
The decentralised co-creation of products, which is the core idea supporting the ToyLabs concept, may create opportunities for Toy Industry SMEs in terms of replacing mass production and global distribution needs with mass customisation and local fulfilment. Given that ToyLabs does not stay to the early stages of product design and creation – like most relevant solutions do – but supports the whole product creation lifecycle, including commercialisation and product distribution, the development of a main business model and of alternative instances specialised to the different sectors which ToyLabs stakeholders belong to, is a real challenge in order to ensure sustainability. In this framework a main business objective of the project is the development of a core business model which can support the co-creation of new Toys by Manufacturing SMEs, collaborating with FabLabs, Toy Safety consultants/experts and end customer groups in a way that all participating stakeholders may get benefitted. The business model will be based on a fair and balanced revenue-sharing model, establishing profits and economies for all participating members in relation to their added value contribution during the design, creation, commercialisation and market positioning of new products. The proposed business model(s), while will be focused on the Toy Industry, may in fact be considered as basis for any other creative industry type where the methods and tools proposed by the project could be also applied without significant changes.
Create an open creative innovation network of collaborators certified to apply the ToyLabs methodology and solutions
Creation of the ToyLabs ecosystem, a network of companies, belonging to the sectors related to the ToyLabs concept, which by incorporating and getting aligned to the methods proposed by ToyLabs shall get (self) certified as ToyLabs-compliant partners. The idea behind the creation of this network is to provide the required space and opportunities in order any manufacturing SME to be able to take advantage of the methodology and the respective tools and services developed by ToyLabs in order to accelerate, improve and de-centralise the creation of new Toys and in general of new products in the creative industries sector.