“Free” Innovation Environments: Lessons learned from the Software Factory Initiatives
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Entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises usually have issues on developing new prototypes, new ideas or testing new techniques. In order to help them, in the last years, academic Software Factories, a new concept of collaboration among universities and companies has been developed. Software Factories provide a unique environment for students and companies. Students benefit from the possibility of working in a real work environment learning how to apply the state of the art of the existing techniques and showing their skills to entrepreneurs. Companies benefit from the risk-free environment where they can develop new ideas, in a protected environment. Universities, finally benefit from this setup as a perfect environment for empirical studies in industrial-like environment. In this paper, we present the network of academic Software Factories in Europe, showing how Companies had already benefit from existing Software Factories and reporting success stories. The results of this paper can increase the network of the factories and help other universities and companies to set- up similar environment to boost the local economy.