The global economy is experiencing rapid and sweeping change. Seemingly unforgotten principles are breaking new ground, to the beat of a classic mantra: “only people create value” (Springer). In the current climate, this takes on a whole new meaning. The classic concept – that enhancing and safeguarding social prosperity depends on the pace of technological development – could not now be clearer. Consequently, developments depend on technological progress and, to a large extent, the ability to innovate with technology. As most technological progress happens in or via manufacturing, everything will boil down to our ability to master, shape, develop and apply production technology.
Similarly, education and knowledge play a key role in driving innovation. To do this role full justice, since its foundation the Steinbeis-Technology- Group at Steinbeis University Berlin has been raising its profile as a provider of technical and industrial engineering services. Bound by Humboldt’s principle of uniting teaching with research, and following the fundamentals of Löhn’s transfer theories, what ensued was a network within a network, offering everything from research to development, training, employee education and media marketing. The approach has allowed us to create individual and complex solutions from our own basic and applied research, plus consulting. The conflicting goals of productivity, cost and quality are evaluated systematically in every research and development project, examining fundamental technical relationships vis-à-vis time – plus time vis-à-vis cost. This is then structured systematically, not only making research and development services tangible entities, but also a basis for curricula. Accepting the reality that knowledge has a “half-life” acts as confirmation that the validity of research knowledge is shortening – rapidly! This is the case, although in essence this “only” applies to knowledge of facts, not methods. And just because things move quickly does not necessarily mean there is maximum throughput. The same applies to education backlogs and people’s attempts to solve backlogs by shortening the length of studies! The real challenge for society when it comes to education lies in synchronizing fields that move at different speeds. The Steinbeis University “project skills” degree makes a profound contribution in this respect, not only by addressing the situation but also by actively shaping it. Today’s customers are not just passive recipients and consumers. Increasingly they have to play their own part in adding value. Lifelong learning has become a synonym for needsbased training and employee development and there will always be a requirement for needs-based training, plus an employee development system that balances academic principles with the technological, commercial and management needs of industry.
This is the issue being addressed at the workshop in Stuttgart on 1 April 2009 – “Energy – Efficiency in Application and Transformation”, a forum for experts who discussed the energy supply side to efficient energy use and the conservation of resources. This latest edition of Transfer provides a compact and we believe powerful summary of our philosophy and strategy. Our aim was to provide you with an informative read that would leave a lasting impression, and we would be delighted if one day this leads to a fruitful partnership!
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Günther
Ulrich Günther ist einer der Direktoren der Steinbeis-Technology-Group (STG) an der Steinbeis-Hochschule Berlin. Über ein Projekt der STG zum Einsatz neuer Schneidwerkstoffe in der Produktion lesen Sie auf Seite 6.