Participatory methods

SHOWCASE Vision Factory

TITLE: Multidisciplinary Science Center, VAS COUNTY


Pannon Business Network’s main profile is to make the local/Hungarian SME sector more competitive and innovative to be able to make them find the right answers to nowadays challenges. The region’s biggest and most actual problem is the lack of appropriate workforce in multiple areas of manufacturing.

Responding to that challenge, the organization turned to the direction of the Industry4.0 program’s achievements to implement them in the region. To support this process, PBN decided establish a local Digital Innovation HUB, which could bring innovative solutions to life cooperating together with covering multiple areas of engineering.

The Digital Innovation HUB is operating since the 1st of November 2017 and is called Am-LAB, which means Advanced manufacturing LAB. Right now the organization is employing 3 full-time engineers that have qualification in industrial designing, sensor technology and applied physics supported by mechanics students and other co-workers. Also Am-LAB possesses an expanding technology park having already multiple 3D printers applying multiple techniques, a 3D scanner, an autonomous mobile robot, a drone and also a robotic arm.

The project of UrbanInno is helping Am-LAB to recognize and gather users’ needs that comes from various areas, like general public, SME representatives/leaders and the local pupil community via participatory method events. With having that knowledge, the product development and prototyping of goods could be right on track to meet with users’ expectations from the very beginning of the process.

Vas County applied three participatory methods and the first one was the Vision factory to map not only the end-users needs, but even the knowledge and know-how that the co-workers of am-LAB would need along the way to make this initiative a success story in the end. It was a common learning process towards applicable I4.0 knowledge to acquire through 5 different events


The attendants who took part in the realization of the method consisted of bunch of representatives from the local pupil community, am-LAB and PBN co-workers (mainly engineers and UrbanInno project managers) and stakeholders, who already gathered unique I4.0 experiences in practice.

Direct invitations for interested local schools and well-known Industry4.0 applying actors were used, just as web-based advertisements and calls in relevant platforms. Even international actors representing the Austrian higher education arrived to introduce their special I4.0 based solutions to help participants better understand how different techniques could be used in practice and making them valuable.

Different type of participants were also informed in advance about the single events they would attend, because some of them were more intense and time-consuming, like a 3D printing training for students, which was held in 3 consecutive days. Furthermore, study visits and I4.0 showcases with experts were organized to provide a deeper insight for the participants.

The future applying I4.0 is going to be built by the younger generation, the open-minded and developing companies, its experts and engineers, so that is how PBN selected the invited actors.


The participatory method was realized with having 6 events, 4 of them was concentrating to train the local pupil community representatives and get their feedbacks, 1 of them had the focus to provide PBN’s and am-LAB’s members qualified I4.0 know-how and the other is to unite different type of end-users to exchange views and draw-up the outlines of a future strategy.

Along the events students got an insight to I4.0 based technologies and the Internet of Things expression was explained to let them better understand what kind of developments enabled the actual revolution to happen in the industrial field. Also various ways of exploiting these new techniques were shown by experts to the team of am-LAB and PBN. Since I4.0 is not an advanced area in Vas County, am-LAB and the involved end-users could play a major role co-operating with the local companies to find the most useful and profitable ways to implement what this new technology is offering.

Just think about it? A company and its members has their own point of view and sometimes it could be hard to shape up an innovative idea with breaking out of their own inner circles and trust somebody else, even if newly appearing technologies would enable way more productive results. A fresh mind of a student could help even if I4.0 is barely introduced to him/her, not to mention am-LAB’s employees, whose mission is just to help this process. That is why a Vision Factory is very useful, to let together all points of views of actors and see what are the common points and useful findings. Even better, that in the frame of multiple workshops, the different type of end-user groups could work out their own ideas with supporting each other and then a common event was held to discuss jointly the main directions.


The results are even better than it was expected! 5 of the students that I4.0 was introduced to are still working with us and getting more and more engaged to this mission of am-LAB and PBN.

Also, our technicians are right on track to help SME-s from all around Hungary to produce higher productivity with having I4.0 knowledge and know-how under their belts, to which our Vision factory contributed a lot.

Based on the outlines of the Vision Factory, a Project-in-a-day method started to mainly concentrate on the prototyping of solutions that are going be offered for co-operating SME-s and also a Motivational Video Pitch is ready to engage more partners, check it out here: