Baden-Württemberg is the most innovative region in Europe. It invests 4.2 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in research and development. The state thus ranks highest among all federal states of Germany and the EU and is on target for fulfilling the aims of the Lisbon Strategy.
Being number one is an honor as much as a challenge. Not only do we have to be quicker translating new ideas into market-ready products, we need long-term strategies for innovation and the right processes to transfer technology to different areas. We also need to be open to international and, by implication, European collaboration, not just at the creative stage but also when we market products.
Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) plays an important role in this regard for the state of Baden-Württemberg. It works on behalf of companies, universities and research organisations by forging links with European networks, sponsoring bodies and development partners. Simultaneously, SEZ is involved in issues surrounding innovation policy and the implementation of these policies within companies.
A good example of this is the “Enterprise Europe Network” which came into being earlier this year. It replaced the previous “Euro Info Centre” and “Innovation Relay Centre” networks. This new network provides small and medium-size enterprises throughout Europe with one point of contact on issues relating to boosting competitive-ness and innovation capacity. It encompasses more than 500 partners in more than 40 countries. SEZ is part of this network and plays a pivotal role in “innovation” issues.
The word “innovation” is not some abstract or “whacky” concept. More than anything, it is the ability to convert an idea into a tangible product that will succeed in the global market – and thus add value. If new products do not generate profits, you do not have the financial means to foster more ideas. Not only that, but in this federal state of Germany, “raw materials” such as creativity, knowledge and enthusiasm are just about the only natural resources we have. So we must build on them, sustainably. And that applies to everyone in the world of science, education, research, industry and politics. We all have a role to play.
Dear readers, draw upon as much experience as possible from this latest edition of Transfer Magazine – to benefit your individual innovation processes. Steinbeis is delighted to offer you some food for thought!
Prof. Dr. Norbert Höptner