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ZHAW opens Proof of Concept Lab

The new multidisciplinary innovation platform provides expertise and infrastructure for ideation, prototyping and lean start-up innovation. This makes it possible to develop, test and validate new product ideas and business models in an uncomplicated and effective manner. The Proof of Concept Lab is targeted primarily at Swiss SMEs and start-ups, but also larger companies and public institutions.

More and more companies are recognising that innovations don’t necessarily need to come only from within the company. For the development of new products and services to succeed, however, there is a need for knowledge from other fields and industries as well as a new form of collaboration. The Proof of Concept Lab offers small and medium-sized companies in particular an ideal environment in which new ideas can take shape in a collaborative setting and feasibility can be evaluated and tested using prototypes. The new ZHAW Open Innovation Platform brings entrepreneurially minded companies together with university-based innovators and experts from different disciplines. ‘The challenges of today can often only be resolved when multiple companies join forces across industry borders or along the value chain,’ explains Adrian Burri, Director of the Centre for Product and Process Development at ZHAW and the initiator of the Proof of Concept Lab.

Bringing together expertise and disciplines

Particularly in the decisive early phase of the innovation process, there’s a growing trend toward collaboration with partners. ‘We want new business models to be developed and shaped from the very outset in the interaction between engineering and business disciplines,’ says Angela Beckenbauer, who directs the Center for Business Innovation at ZHAW and played a leading role in developing the new concept. The sooner ideas are tested with simple prototypes, the better the prospects for the success of a solution. The Proof of Concept Lab offers various models of collaboration – from one- to multi-day workshops and seminars with company teams to larger projects for the development of new business models and use of the facilities.

Innovative environment for innovations

The architecture itself also plays a role in creating an inspiring atmosphere. The corner section of building 118 on Lagerplatz in Winterthur in which the Proof of Concept Lab is located was constructed using recycled materials wherever possible. A ZHAW research and instruction project accompanied the planning and highlighted the enormous carbon-reducing potential of this type of construction. Over three floors, the new structure offers a collaboration space, a prototyping space and multiple workspaces.

If you have any questions

  • Adrian Burri, Director of the Centre for Product and Process Development, ZHAW School of Engineering, tel.: 058 934 71 02,
  • Dr Angela Beckenbauer, Head of the Center for Business Innovation, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ZHAW School of Management and Law, tel.: 058 934 46 61,
  • Professor Adrian W. Müller, Director of the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, ZHAW School of Management and Law, tel.: 058 934 62 77,

Tours of the Proof of Concept Lab can be arranged by phone.

ZHAW Proof of Concept Lab
K 118 Kopfbau
Lagerplatz 24
8400 Winterthur