Research grants

The KIN Center for Digital Innovation is working on different large funded research projects. We often do this in collaboration with our business partners.

Find out more about our main research projects below.

Professor Marleen Huysman, head of the KIN group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, was awarded a prestigious national grant from the NWO’s Open Competition. The research will follow AI from development in the lab to its use on the work floor, to develop a collaborative methodology for augmenting knowledge work.

Currently, AI applications that are intended for use in knowledge work can be developed without input from experts in that domain (e.g. HR or healthcare). This is very different from early forms of AI, also known as expert systems, which depended on experts willingly helping them to become ‘smart’. Now that AI instead relies on large training data sets, the domain expert is often cut out altogether.  The (unintended) consequences of leaving experts out of the loop of AI development are unknown. Besides prof. Marleen Huysman, the research team consists of KIN Researchers Dr. Ella Hafermalz and Dr. Anastasia Sergeeva.

Together with  2 new PhDs and a Postdoc, they will work together to study AI development as well as its use in organizational contexts close up, over four years. The team will ultimately create a “Collaborative Methodology”, designed in close collaboration with practitioners who are involved in AI development and AI use. The Collaborative Methodology will facilitate interaction between experts before AI applications hit the ground in organizations.

The KIN Center for Digital Innovation received an EFRO (Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling) grant to conduct research on organizing digital innovation in ecosystems, in collaboration with the Faculty of FEW (Mathematics and Computing), Tata Steel, Facta, SKF, Semiotic Labs, Van der Eng Labels, Koning en Hartman, Bosma & Bronkhorst, IJssel Techniek and World Class Maintenance.

The senior researchers from KIN (VU) involved are Dr. Frans Feldberg, Prof. Dr. Ir. Hans Berends and Dr. Ir. Fleur Deken.

The premise of this project is that innovation nowadays requires collaborations between heterogeneous partners from different disciplines and sectors in innovation ecosystems. In the recently opened field lab ‘Techport Smart Maintenance’, diverse partners aim to develop data-driven innovations.  KIN is conducting qualitative research on the development and implementation of data-driven innovations for the Industry 4.0 transition. More specifically, the team investigates how Just-in-Time Maintenance allows organizations to develop new products and services.

The KIN team studies how these value creation and appropriation processes take place in the field lab Techport Smart Maintenance. By tracing the developments of new data-driven business models for Smart Industry solutions in the organizations, this project will identify best practices for other organizations to learn from as well as result in novel research findings that can be published in top international journals on innovation and management.

KIN Research and the Management & Organization Group from Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology are working on an NWO grant to research crossover collaborations for digital innovation. It is widely recognized that to develop solutions for Grand Challenges (such as the ageing population), heterogeneous parties need to collaborate. This project is investigating such crossover collaborations for the development of health & wellbeing solutions.

A team of senior researchers and two PhD students and a post-doc is investigating the collaboration practices of heterogeneous actors who are developing digital innovations. The first project, conducted by Natalja Laurey investigates how heterogeneous parties can become connected in digital innovation ecosystems. The second project, conducted by Dr. Marina Bos-de Vos will look into the role of creative professionals in crossover collaborations. The third project, conducted by Dennis van Kampen will identify how to coordinate such collaborations in successful business models.

The senior researchers involved are Prof. Dr. Marleen Huysman (main applicant, KIN research), Prof. Dr. Dirk Snelders (co-applicant, Delft University of Technology) and Dr. Ir. Hans Berends (KIN Research, co-applicant), Dr. Ir. Maaike Kleinsmann  (Delft University of Technology), Dr. Maura Soekijad (KIN Research), Dr. Ir. Fleur Deken (KIN Research), Prof. Dr. Gerda Gemser (RMIT University), Prof. Dr. Patrick Cohendet (Mosaic, HEC Montréal) and Dr. Frans Feldberg (KIN Research).

With the diverse backgrounds of team members in anthropology, design, and innovation management, they shed light on how to successfully organize crossover collaborations.

The following consortium partners will take part in the research and valorization activities:

With the radical shift from an industrial to a knowledge society, knowledge workers are becoming more significant and more autonomous.
Developments in technology and society have given rise to more openness in the processes and practices of these knowledge workers. Coordinating, learning and innovating are less constrained by organizational, geographical and cognitive boundaries. The challenge that organizations are increasingly facing is how to combine this openness with integration across individual knowledge workers, units and areas of expertise, and how to counter inherent threats of fragmentation.

These and related challenges are studied by Marleen Huysman, together with some of her colleagues of the KIN Center for Digital Innovation (Marlous Agterberg, Hans Berends, Bart van den Hooff, Philipp Tuertscher and Maarten de Laat of the Open University of the Netherlands).

The premise of this project is that the development and utilization of employees’ human capital will require coordinating, learning and innovating to be mutually reinforcing. PhD researchers Jochem Hummel (who defended his thesis on 5 Jun 2019) and Julia Schlegelmilch and Anastasia Sergeeva (who worked as post-doc on the project, now assistant professor at the KIN Center) studied how to manage human capital development across boundaries now that new technologies increasingly break physical, organizational, cognitive and epistemological boundaries. They all employ in-depth case studies of organizations that are in the process of such organizational changes, or that have already made successful changes and offer alternative ‘best open practices’ from which other organizations can learn

The researchers worked closely with a consortium of private and public partners: the Dutch tax authorities, CERN, Kentalis, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Sparked and VUMC.