Grandma’s lasting inheritance

Product development and project management – local history and posterity

Sustainability and the arts can be “symbiotically reproductive”, this is the baseline and result of the concept developed by Steinbeis’s Prof. Ulrich Holzbaur in partnership with Uta Singer from the Giengen Cultural Office. Working on behalf of the Giengen Cultural Foundation, experts at the Aalen-based Steinbeis Transfer Center for Applied Management worked out a way to marry – interactively – the work of three of Giengen’s most famous women with the concept of sustainability.

Work at the transfer centers is primarily concerned with practical management, development, creating concepts, strategy and modeling. In particular, Holzbaur focuses on issues relating to systematic planning during the early phases of project management. The Giengen project demonstrated that this also makes sense outside trade and industry. Going by the motto of Nachhaltige Weibsbilder – roughly translatable as “Sustainable sisterhood”, the aim was to promote the town and sustainable development through Giengen’s three famous daughters: Margarete Steiff, founder of the internationally renowned toy maker Steiff; Lina Hähnle, the founder of nature conservation in Germany and Maria von Linden, the first female professor in Germany.

Searching a working partner for the project, Uta Singer, Head of the Cultural Office in Giengen, was keen to “say things as they are”. Singer had taken a shine to the town’s famous trio, and they became important pillars in the town’s new cultural development plan. In addition to the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Applied Management, Singer also pulled on board the University of Education in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

For Holzbaur, there was an obvious link between the concept of sustainability and the town’s three daughters – Margarete Steiff, a successful entrepreneur despite her physical handicap; Lina Hähnle, committed to the environment and social issues; Maria von Linden, researcher and developer. Holzbaur explains, “These concepts of product development and modeling are applicable to a wide variety of areas.” His proposed theme for “the three famous daughters” was based on the following:

  • An emphasis on experiential aspects, communication through experience
  • Culture and sustainability – education as the basis of sustainable development, a role model, development skills
  • The integration of internal and external effects by forming a link to culture and tourism
  • A combination of a verbal and figurative brand mark, integrating “Vor-Bilder“ meaning role-model and the “Weibs-Bild“ meaning a lady to the catchword of “Nachhaltige Weibs Bilder“ meaning strong women as a role model for sustainability – roughly translated via “sustainable sisterhood“.

The mark left by the three women of Giengen on entrepreneurial undertaking, environmental protection, social involvement and innovation can be seen all around the town. The Steinbeis experts worked up a variety of concepts to convey the key message: emotion is used as a vehicle to communicate information and values in a credible and sustainable manner. The experiential aspects can be borne out in a variety of ways: anything from an adventure trail to a cultural monument. There were a number of reciprocal approaches to integrate the concepts of the arts, culture and sustainability. Sustainable development can be seen as the conservation of human culture for future generations. The “Three daughters” concept can thus not only contribute to sustainable development within the context of education, it also forms a bridge between art and education, culture and sustainability.

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