Interview: Meet Digital Innovation Hub CERR
CERR is Digital Innovation Hub Emilia-Romagna, one of the 22 Italian DIH, funded by Confindustria Emilia-Romagna and the other major industry associations of Emilia-Romagna Region, and is part of the EDIH recognized by the UE.
Could you tell us what has attracted you to REACH Incubator and what do you hope to achieve by joining the programme?
CERR|DIH-ER aims to support companies, especially SMEs and Midcaps, to become more competitive by improving their business/production processes/organization as well as products, services and business models exploiting digital technologies. CERR|DIH-ER promotes smooth digital manufacturing transformations towards Industry 4.0 and smart factory of the future scenario, especially based on the analysis and exploitation of data.
Within REACH Incubator and, in particular, with reference to the creation of new data value chains, we aim to contribute with our expertise: stimulating data-fueled sustainable solutions, supporting digital transformation of companies, accessing to financing, match-making with the innovation ecosystem, and creating use cases benefiting from this cross-sector multi-stakeholder data innovation.
What challenges and data have you listed for the programme and what made you choose them?
Within the programme, we aim to address challenges mainly based on the needs emerged during the assessments carried out in the last two years and the related digital transformation roadmaps. Challenges that we faced were related to design, production, maintenance and logistic processes, systematic control and analysis of problems and solutions adopted, integration among the various company function’ systems, improvement of the acquisition of information on the value chain.
Because of this, we decided to create two challenges for optimizing internal processes to increase efficiency, energy and sustainability performances.
Our first challenge focuses on maintenance processes to optimize plant and machinery usage, where we hope to minimize machine downtime and eliminate complete failure or serious damage, to improve process efficiency, by using data analytics to keep targeted data manageable and streamlined, and to reduce energy usage, by reaching considerable cost savings over the long term.
The second challenge focuses on visual inspection process and hopes to enable us to optimize printing process, understanding defects source and occurrences during manufacturing, improve process efficiency, developing descriptive-predictive-prescriptive data-driven models, and to increase processes sustainability, by creating savings on total cost of ownership.
These challenges were created in collaboration with our ecosystem, in particular SMILE-DIH and Bi-Rex Competence Center.
Can you please explain the relevance of the DVC themes to your region’s development?
Targeting digital transformation of business and Public Administrations is one of the key regional priorities identified within the Regional Strategic Document, Digital Agenda and the Smart Specialization Strategy, in particular encouraging the adoption of digital technologies, the generation, collection and processing of data (including big data), the access to HPC and the use of Artificial Intelligence.
CERR|DIHER is also part of the regional innovation network (High Technology Network – HTN) as Innovation Center accredited by local regional government and participates in the Regional Associations Clust-ER (Mech, Innovate, Greentech, Health, Agrifood).
CERR|DIH-ER put the focus mainly on DVC MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRY to strengthen the competitiveness of companies and value chains, to support digital transformation, open innovation, matchmaking and technology transfer activities, and to enable the regional data ecosystem to gain socioeconomic benefits from large scale deployment of data-based products and services.
What type of support can you provide to the incubated startups & SMEs during their participation in the programme?
Within REACH Incubator, DIHs play a key role in enabling incubated organizations to improve their innovations, providing a commercialization path and an access to regional networks.
CERR|DIH-ER provides access to mentoring and support services in all the aspects related to innovation and data cycle both in the development phase and later stages, facilitating the development of data-fueled solutions, allowing the definition of business models for the data applications, enabling their deployment and the access to our network, increasing the added value of data.
After their incubation round is over, how can your collaboration go further?
After the end of the programme, CERR|DIH-ER can ensure companies access to our services (innovation and digital maturity assessments, finance guidance, technological brokerage) and innovation ecosystem (composed by companies, universities, research centers, Competence Centers 4.0, Digital Innovation Hubs, Enterprise Europe Network).
CERR|DIH-ER supports firms alongside the whole innovation and digital processes developing product, process and/or organization changes, with the aim to increase the company competitiveness. CERR|DIH-ER promotes collaboration, dissemination of ideas and the exploitation of knowledge to experiment and find new ways to the Open Innovation paradigm, looking to Europe as a reference path.
Would you encourage other DIH to get involved with the programme? Why?
Yes, this is a very interesting experience and I would highly recommend every interested DIH to join REACH Incubator.
Being involved in the programme, gives a DIH the opportunity to establish cross-border experiments and collaborations for complementing challenges and services in order to better answer the needs of the companies of the region.
In addition, the programme is an opportunity to reach new companies all over Europe and to grow the DIH ecosystem, by providing assistance to start-ups and help them through the innovation lifecycle to create new processes, products and services, based on new data value chains.
Being part of one of the biggest incubation and acceleration programmes in Europe creates cross-border opportunities and sharing of best practices and lessons learnt among the participants.