The vision for What-IF Incubator will be to operate as a regional “co-creation platform for sustainable solutions” in order to promote structural innovation through the facilitation of cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary solutions that tackle complex societal problems within the island’s setting.
By doing so, Interfusion’s WhatIF Incubator envisions three types of results: groundbreaking solutions, new knowledge and innovative professionals.
In order to achieve the above, this particularly collaborative in-house shared workspace is founded on the following Modules:
- A triple-helix collaboration between local industry, government and education: This means that the What-IF Incubator provides a platform for these three sectors to meet and work together whilst sharing knowledge and building on each other’s experiences.
- A cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach: Groundbreaking new products and services are being developed from a design-thinking perspective. The priorities are determined in consultation with stakeholders and clients and projects range from publicly financed to completely private.
- Physical environment: Special attention is given to the spatial use, the sharing-based culture, informality and flexibility of the arrangement. Interfusion will provide space for prototyping, education, research and project activities.
- Research and knowledge development for and by the local industry: A focus on multi- and trans-disciplinary research in which cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation can demonstrably contribute to sustainable socio-cultural and economic strengthening of the region.
The main challenge which Interfusion’s What-IF Incubator will seek to overcome relates to an important innovation gap that is evident within the planned developments of the island.
In contradiction to EU countries with a high innovation capacity and a strong embedded policy, Cyprus lacks a dynamic triple helix composition hub with up-and-coming companies, users as co-designers and knowledge institutions.
Many of the innovation initiatives identified at the moment are relatively mono-disciplinary in nature, aimed at one specific sector. What is missing is a connecting link, aimed specifically at the crossovers between different sectors (public and private) and the bridge building within them. Particularly the mutual cross- fertilization between different domains – especially from the perspective of design and creation is, as we believe an important factor to accelerate regional innovation.
We can describe this as the need for a regional “innovation engine” or a “passion-based co- creation platform” that encourages structural innovation and innovation ecosystem, facilitates synergy between the components, accelerates and where desired, adds new elements such as design and practice labs.
Apart from bringing entrepreneurs and research communities closer, the What-IF Incubator will also pursue the facilitation of an open dialog among the implicated stakeholders (government bodies, businesses, research institutions, intermediate organizations, universities) via the creation and use of the appropriate communication channels, in order to contribute towards the adoption of new practices and the development of a favorable environment for innovation.