How can communities prepare for what the future holds – and retain their appeal? Plenty of exhibitors at this year’s “Zukunft Kommune 2010” trade fair were eager to answer this question. Held on 18 and 19 May in Stuttgart, Germany, this trade fair highlights local solutions, services and provision. Several Steinbeis Centers shared a booth among the exhibitors. It proved the perfect setting for countless in-depth discussions between concerned mayors, county council members and representatives of public institutions.
Representatives of organizations and public institutions gathered at the Neue Messe convention center in Stuttgart to learn about current and sustainable issues from over 180 exhibitors. This fair has evolved into the defining one of its kind in south-west Germany. It also doubles as a platform for various community functions, such as recognizing the winner of EULE Baden-Wurttemberg, a lighthouse project and competition to unearth the region’s best ideas.
“The initiative to band together and present a united front at ‘Communities for a Future’ came from the Steinbeis Transfer Network,” explains August Musch, managing director of the consulting service Steinbeis Beratungszentren GmbH. “Many Steinbeis Centers have government clients and offer services tailored to cities and municipalities. Being here at this trade fair – all together – boosts our public image and our ability to acquire new business.”
Communities face a growing number of challenges. And they need sustainable, efficient solutions that solve very specific problems. Offering a complete spectrum of services, Steinbeis offers highly specific solutions – just like the ones presented to visitors at the trade fair booth. Six Steinbeis Centers were on hand to introduce their broad range of services for municipalities. Visitors also had the opportunity to speak with Steinbeis representatives about consulting, R&D, evaluation, expert reports, training and employee development across the entire Steinbeis Transfer Network.
When speaking to community representatives, Sebastian Durr (Steinbeis Consulting Center, Development Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency) explained how renewable energy could be put to use in cities and municipalities. “Public institutions are sometimes unaware of where there’s a potential to save, or where things could run more efficiently. Not only does our center help them identify these areas, we support our clients in developing concepts and running campaigns that promote renewable energies,” continues Durr.
The Steinbeis Consulting Center for Regional Development and Economic Development showcased best practice for regional economic development initiatives as well as the opportunities that result from making projections about commercial real estate, investigating locations and bringing defining characteristics to the fore. “By consulting with third parties to take an active role in economic development, municipalities and cities can help companies already on the ground to survive and thrive in today’s difficult economic environment. It’s a completely different approach to keeping what you already have intact,” notes Alexander Fromm, a representative for the Center at the trade fair.
One of the things the Steinbeis Transfer Center Applied Systems Analysis focuses on is analyzing and forecasting how regions change in terms of socio-demographics. “Complex relationships between on-theground factors, patterns of migration and earning power are well-suited to short to medium-term projections of the region’s economic and labor market indicators,” states Professor Gunter Haag. These projections help decision makers to improve an area’s economic infrastructure.
Dr. Leonhard Stiegler heads up the Steinbeis Transfer Center ExpertCom. For him and his team, “securing bandwidth in rural areas remains a top priority. And we have what it takes to give communities the information they need to give the infrastructure an extensive yet necessary overhaul.” This includes starting with an analysis, identifying needs and providing expert support in submitting funding requests. The Center sets great store by assisting clients throughout the entire project and crafting individual solutions to meet each challenge.
The Steinbeis Consulting Center Regional and Economic Development was represented by Dr. Hans-Jorg Domhardt. “Consultations with communities about regional and local development reveal that clients are not always aware of where the journey is heading. We have a number of tools at our disposal to set our clients on the right path. Our expertise, our designs, our expert opinions. Add to that results-based project management and a track record in regional development,” said Dr. Domhardt in explaining the Center’s aims. What makes the whole process work: direct access to decision makers at local and regional levels.
Walter Seeger, director of the Steinbeis Consulting Center Healthcare Consulting Institute, told visiting health care professionals about how clinics are undergoing strategic realignments to achieve better results over the long term. “We consult with and support our clients in end-to-end, process-based clinic management. This takes costs into account, such as process cost accounting and market analyses. But it also uses analyses to look at what’s happening in terms of revenues price calculation and risk assessment,” explains Seeger.
Final thoughts: Steinbeis exhibitors called the trade fair a rousing success. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with community representatives, share ideas, even discuss working partnerships. What’s more, Steinbeis Center professionals met likeminded colleagues in their network. So it’s no surprise that talk is already spreading about attending the “Zukunft Kommune 2011” trade fair in Cologne.
Steinbeis Consulting Center Development
Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (Wolpertshausen)
Prof. Dr. Günter Haag
Steinbeis Transfer Center Applied Systems Analysis (STASA) (Stuttgart)
Walter Seeger, Frank Boos, Prof. Dr. Peter Dohm
Steinbeis Consulting Center HCI Healthcare Consulting Institute (Rastatt)
Dr. Leonhard Stiegler
Steinbeis Transfer Center ExpertCom Stuttgart (Stuttgart)
Prof. Dr. Gabi Troeger-Weiß, Dr.-Ing. Hans-Jörg Domhardt
Steinbeis Consulting Center Regional and Communal Development (Kaiserslautern)
Steinbeis Consulting Center Regional Development and Economic Development