Future Steel Forum
  • Europe Hero 1
  • Europe Hero 2
  • Europe Hero 3

Professor Dirk Schaefer

International Thought Leader in Cloud-Based Design and Technology for Digital Manufacturing at University of Liverpool


Professor Dirk Schaefer holds the Chair in Industrial Design at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom (UK). He previously held academic positions at the University of Bath (UK), the Georgia Institute of Technology (United States), and the University of Durham (UK).

Prof. Schaefer is spearheading internationally leading research on Cloud-based Design and Manufacturing (CBDM) and Social Product Development (SPD) in the context of Industry 4.0. His research group coined the term CBDM, and in 2014 he published the first two books on Cloud-based Design and Manufacturing as well as Product Development in the Socio-sphere. A third volume in Springer’s Advanced Manufacturing Series, Cybersecurity for Industry 4.0: Analysis for Design and Manufacturing, appeared in 2017.

Prof. Schaefer earned a PhD from the University of Stuttgart (Germany). He has more than twenty five years of experience in Computer- aided Engineering, Design and Manufacturing, both in industry and academia. He serves as a technical reviewer for more than 50 international academic journals, national and international funding organisations, and frequently organises conferences in his field. His accomplishments include more than 150 publications in journals, books, and conferences, and more than 100 talks at events all over the world. Prof. Schaefer is a registered Professional Engineer in Europe (Eur Ing), a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Chartered Technological Product Designer (CTPD) in membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), and a Chartered Scientist (CSci), Chartered IT-Professional (CITP) and Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS) in the UK. In addition, he is a member of the Design Society (DS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Abstract - Open Innovation and Social Product Development

In today’s highly competitive business environment, innovation capacity is considered one of the most important indicators of a company’s performance and a differentiator that separates the products or services of one business from another.  The traditional model of what we now refer to as closed innovation worked well for decades, along with its benefit of the outcome protection right and the protection of a company’s intellectual property to prevent competitors from exploiting it. However, over the past decade the situation has changed as a ramification of a continuing globalization along with political, societal, and technological changes it brought about that are now affecting the innovation playing field. Enterprises continuously seek new methods to enhance their innovation capacity in order to remain competitive and extent their position in the market place.  An exciting paradigm shift in this context relates to the introduction of Social Product Development (SPD) into the industrial innovation and product realization landscape. The key tenants of SPD are Open Innovation, Crowd Sourcing, Mass Collaboration and Crowd Funding.  In this talk, an overview of Social Product Development and its tenants is provided, along with an exploration of its opportunities and challenges in industry.


Show me all speakers

Official Media Partner

Organised by

Sponsored by

Supported by

Member of