Innovation Factory2023-01-16 15:47
Established in 2019, Innovation Factory is an interdisciplinary unit within Polis University that seeks to support researchers, students, young creators, entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate. At the intersection of design, technology, and entrepreneurship, IF operates both conceptually, generating technical expertise and knowledge in and of the ecosystem, and as a physical space, offering opportunities for digital prototyping and fabrication through its 3D printing and scanning technologies at the recently established Makerspace, the first of its kind in Albania. The Makerspace was ideated and built in collaboration with EU for Innovation and has amassed a series of equipment allowing students, young ventures, and young makers to design, experiment with, and fabricate their models and prototypes, bringing together industry and academia through a blend of teaching, learning, and doing.
The lab seeks to build expertise by creating reliable research and entrepreneurial capabilities in the fields of design, architecture, and technology and attracting talent in strategic areas to activate innovation transfer processes. Facilitating horizontal collaboration between the university, entrepreneurs, businesses, and local agencies has been a guiding principle from the start, seeking to build cross-cutting, interdisciplinary structures that cultivate networks and help establish the pillars for an innovation-centric approach to both research and entry into the labor market, a focus that can be achieved through supporting commercialization of research and start-up ideation and creation.
To date, IF has supported over a dozen early-stage start-ups, one of which is fully operational in the market today whereas an additional two are finalizing their market-entry strategies. As the first organization to fill this gap in the local ecosystem, what makes the lab unique is the combination of managerial and entrepreneurial know-how with technical know-how, with the possibility for makers to test and optimize the latter in our Makerspace. In addition to growing its portfolio of projects, IF has collaborated with a number of organizations in the local and European innovation ecosystem, such as Tirana Inc., the first multi-university incubator in Albania, Albania Tech, a platform aiming to grow the visibility of key ecosystem players in the country, and PRENEURZ Amsterdam, a Dutch consultancy supporting universities bridge the gap between academia and industry.