Clarissa González is in the final stages of her PhD studies at Chalmers. She comes from Mexico and has always been interested in finance and technology. Initially, she thought she would work in purchasing or planning. But, after her master’s in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, where she got the chance to do much practice, she became increasingly interested in products and services and how this could create more sustainable values. In early 2018, sustainability wasn’t the buzzword as it is today in Mexico and the rest of the world.

Why did you become a researcher?

When I finished my master’s education, I wanted to study further and then saw that Chalmers was looking for researchers in exactly my areas of interest. They wanted to explore the possibility of measuring key figures for sustainability in production. That’s why I applied for the position and also got the opportunity to come and visit Gothenburg during the hot summer of 2018 to see if I could imagine living here in Sweden. I didn’t expect such beautiful city and great weather when I arrived, I can say. Even before returning to Mexico, I had signed an employment contract with Chalmers.

Why did it become Chalmers?

For me it was important to stay close to industrial reality, Chalmers has a fantastic balance between industry and academic development. Also, one of my professors at my university in Mexico had contacts with several colleagues at Chalmers and gave me good references Not to mention that I had already heard and cited several of my future colleagues before meeting them.

Clarissa González
Clarissa González

Work package manager

Digitala Stambanan Production

Can you describe what your research is about?

I focus on transforming business models from more product-based to service-based ones that are not only based on capturing material value. Then, of course, I take digitalization into account and how it works as an enabler for developing advanced services. Most importantly, I have sustainability as an overall umbrella, an essential part of the companies’ transformation.

Do you collaborate with other researchers?

Yes, I do. I collaborate quite a lot with others and preferably internationally. I think it comes from the fact that I am a social person who needs many impressions and does not enjoy working in isolation. In addition, when you work with research on business models, you should collaborate with many people to create innovation. Therefore, I have always looked for researchers who do similar things to be able to exchange ideas and experiences. It is also an excellent way to keep track of what is happening in the area around the world. My old professor from Mexico once said that “when you start being able to read research reports and think it’s a trend, you’re already a bit too late” because the people who wrote these have already worked 2-3 years on the subject. Collaboration is essential to me, and I am happy to share my experiences. It is crucial to participate in the discussion regarding digital platforms that Digitala Stambanan focuses on. We know others are working on it, but there aren’t many reports written yet. The research we are conducting within Digitala Stambanan is very far ahead, perhaps not bleeding edge, but cutting edge.

Which other countries or universities are far ahead regarding research on industrial sustainability?

I think it is natural to think that grass is greener on the other side, but Sweden is way ahead regarding industrial sustainability. Businesses generally understand that this is important and that it is something that needs to be done. It also makes me proud to work in Sweden because we are good at energy production and manufacturing strategies for increased sustainability. Here there are many manufacturing companies of both large and small products that show the way for the rest of the world.

How do you see your research connecting to what Digitala Stambanan is working on?

The idea of having platforms to share data easily, flexibly, and transparently aligns with my research. In my research, I focus on the transformation to more service-based business models that are not only based on the use of material. For the companies to cope with this, effective data sharing is needed, trust must be created, collaborations must be developed, and there must be a clear direction for the participating companies to create value together.

What are you working on in “your” work package, WP3?

In work package 3, we want to shift the focus from large companies to smaller ones and their opportunities to do business using digital platforms. The smaller companies have fewer resources to test different solutions when it comes to labor or money, but they account for a large percentage of the total number of industrial companies that exist in Sweden and Europe. They must know it is not done in vain when they do something. In WP3, we want to investigate how different digital solutions can be adapted and create value for SMEs to show how many small players can offer an attractive market for technology providers. In the project description, there is not much written about the sustainability aspect of using digital platforms, but it is a result of having access to more information to make better decisions, which leads to better management of resources, more efficient solutions, and higher quality of products and services.

In the project, we try to show parts of the results in the form of demonstrators. What do you think about it?

It creates clarity and direction for our work in the project. We notice that more and more projects internationally are working with demonstrators to show more clearly what is being achieved. Through our demonstrators, we want to show the benefits of digital platforms and not just talk about them. They are essential for the spread of knowledge together with our other communication activities. While it is vital to highlight the innovative part of the project, it is also necessary to emphasize the need for resilience in the systems. System failures have significant consequences and costs as data becomes increasingly critical for businesses. Therefore, it is essential to design resilient solutions so that disturbances have as little impact as possible.

How can we reach out more in Europe with Digitala Stambanan’s mission?

It is vital to join hands with other initiatives, show how we work, and share the developments we see in the area without thinking that we are sitting on the final solution for the sake of it. Let us be transparent and cooperative instead of holding our own to create competitiveness. That is also important in the competition from platform providers in Asia and the USA.

Thank you, Clarissa! Very interesting to talk with you. Good luck with your continued work!

Digitala Stambanan strengthens the Swedish industry through digitalization of value chains. The project is a collaborative project financed by Vinnova and participating companies. The work is now underway in two tracks through the strategic innovation programs PiiA (Processindustriell IT & Automation), which drives the Digitala Stambanan IndTech project, and Produktion2030, which runs the Digitala Stambanan Produktion project.