Digital Innovation: How SMEs Benefit from Maker Spaces and Research Labs


On February 27, 2018, the Innovation Lab of Salzburg Research and Happylab Salzburg invented to the workshop “Digital Innovation for Craft & Trade in Open Workshops and Research Labs”.

The workshop is part of the European project „Labs.4.SMEs“. Its aim is to strengthen cooperation between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and labs in order to make the innovation process in companies more efficient, cheaper and faster.

The event offered a varied program. After welcoming the hosts Veronika Hornung-Prehauser (Salzburg Research, head of the research department Innovation) and Christian Riedlsperger (LabManager Happylab Salzburg), Salzburg-based companies from various industries reported on their practical experiences and impressions in working with open workshops (Labs, Makerspaces & Co.). You have explained by way of example that, depending on the project, all the tasks of the innovation process from idea development, prototype production to small series production and start-ups in and with the supervisors in the FabLab Happylab could be carried out (

  • Joinery “Wood in Form” – Michael Ebner: Individual small series for wooden boards gastronomy
  • COMMEND International GMBH – Reinhard Tranninger: Individual bell and telephone panels (mainly for tunnel alarm telephones)
  • MIUT – Susanna Vogel (presented by Christian Riedlsperger): all steps from idea, design, prototype, small series up to company foundation (interior design)
  • BUTTERBROT – Adelheid Rainer: Material testing (testing of laser cutting for vegan leather, for example for dog articles)

Two impulse contributions deepened the topic:

  • “The Digital Twin – When the Physical and Digital Worlds Meld” (Christoph Schranz, Salzburg Research, Open IOT-Lab)
  • “The roadmap to the innovative business model – How do I get from my product idea to the market?” (Veronika Hornung-Prehauser Salzburg Research, InnovationLab)

Afterwards, there was an intensive exchange with all participants about the benefits and use of new digital tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC precision devices etc. in the course of innovation. Afterwards, the participants were able to convince themselves of the Open IOT-Lab of the Salzburg Research as well as the Happylab Salzburg ant take part in a tour.

The successful event served u.a. as a prelude to attracting interested regional representatives of different craft and business sectors to the planned “Innovation Challenge”. It invites transnational (Italy-Austria) up to 20 SMEs to test the newly developed cooperation model between labs and companies in real innovation projects in the project Labs.4.SMEs. The result should be exemplary for the increase of the innovation potential in the regions.

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