CTM conference and event news




Updates from the R&D management Conference office 


As many might be aware, the direction of the R&D management conference has moved to the IfM since 2018. Dr Letizia Mortara is working in collaboration with the IfM ECS and RADMA (The R&D management association) to develop this important conference in the technology and innovation management area. The conference will be 40 years old in 2020 and two events are being held to celebrate the community around the R&D management Theme. Keep the dates!

  • Innovation across Boundaries: Historical Reflections and Future Vision, 29th June - 1st July, 2020, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • Invention to Innovation: creating the conditions for impact, 4th and 5th of August 2020, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

News and updates are available from the spanking new website https://www.rnd-conferences.org/ from where you can also see pictures of past events.





Academy of Management Annual Meeting


At the prestigious 2019 Academy of Management Annual Meeting (August 9-13, Boston, Massachusetts), Dr Letizia Mortara and PhD student Valeria Dammicco have been invited to share their recent research work at the panel discussion on “Makerspaces and Entrepreneurship: Colocation and Collaboration in the Digital Era”. The panel was organised by Joel West (Keck Graduate Institute) and Russell E. Browder, (Baylor University) and sponsored by the TIM, ENT and OCIS divisions.


Valeria and Letizia presented the initial results of Valeria’s PhD research which focuses on the role that Makerspaces (open design and fabrication workshops) are playing in shaping entrepreneurial dynamics in local communities. Letizia, who has been one of the pioneer researchers in this field, already in 2015 started investigating the emergence of these new innovation and production environments and built an initial classification taking the perspective of entrepreneurs who might want to use them. Valeria built on her initial work and has currently looking at Makerspaces as new contexts for entrepreneurial innovation emergence. By travelling to several Makerspaces in the UK and talking to their managers and users, she is investigating how the process of product development happens in newly founded ventures which are also in the process of building their venture infrastructure. She is cross-comparing the experiences of entrepreneurs within and outside of Makespaces to better understand how the various configurations of both tangible and intangible resources such as design and fabrication technologies, knowledge and networks in Makerspaces are affecting the way in which entrepreneurs outside of corporate environments manage to bring their ideas to market.





The power of sustainable design: adding beauty and aesthetics to waste materials


On Wednesday the 27th of November, the Cambridge Makespace (“the community's inventing shed in the heart of Cambridge” https://web.makespace.org) hosted a talk by mexican designer Arturo Soto on “The power of sustainable design: adding beauty and aesthetics to waste materials”. The talk was facilitated by doctorate candidate Valeria Dammicco, in the 3rd year of her PhD at CTM.


Valeria met Arturo during her PhD fieldwork, when she visited the London BlackHorse Workshop (http://www.blackhorseworkshop.co.uk/), a design and fabrication facility -similar to the Cambridge Makespace- which focuses on providing the necessary resources and space for people to make things with their hands.

Arturo runs his business from there, specialing in the design of exclusive and luxurious pieces (www.memoriesofgreen.net) whilst trying to only use sustainable and recycled materials as both a principle and a design challenge. During the talk, he covered various aspects of his design process and how he developed his brand, sharing his own experience of designing with waste materials he collects around some industrial areas in London (like scrap metal and wood).


As part of her PhD work supervised by Dr Letizia Mortara, Valeria has been examining different types of fabrication spaces and their role as potential drivers of entrepreneurial development in local communities.

The concept of fabrication spaces emerged out of the 'maker' movement, which places an emphasis on sharing tools, time and knowledge in local workshops to create both digital and physical artefacts — from computer codes to customised products, designed to fit individual needs —.


The very presence of these facilities is radically changing the way we think about manufacturing, since the tools and resources necessary to experiment with product innovation are now being democratised and made accessible to many. These new types of organisations are still emerging and there is no one specific model or agenda shared across these communities (there are over 100 just in the UK). This makes it particularly interesting to investigate how different configurations of both tangible and intangible resources can affect the entrepreneurial innovation journey of individuals.


If you are interested in the project, or know anyone who used these facilities to develop and commercialise a product, contact Valeria vd283@cam.ac.uk.

Date published

6 December 2019

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