Lüneburg Innovation Incubator
THE IDEA: STRENGTHEN THE REGIONAL ECONOMY WITH RESEARCH
“A breeding ground for ideas” – this is how the Lüneburg Innovation Incubator could be described. The Innovation Incubator was a research-driven project for regional development. With this project, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and the German federal state of Lower Saxony strengthened the research and economic potential of the former governmental Lüneburg district. From August 2009 until July 2015 science and industry worked together. The focus was mainly on three fields: digital media, health and sustainable energy.
As a result a nascent regional innovation system has emerged, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) acknowledged the project’s achievements in the study „Lessons learned from the Lüneburg Innovation Incubator". Innovation players were innovative business start-ups, new networks for research and knowledge sharing, cooperations with international companies and NGOs and a sustainable infrastructure for continuing these activities. Moreover, the Incubator helped to further improve on Leuphana’s educational approach; especially Leuphana Professional School and Digital School created a pioneering learning environment. Click here to read the complete study by the OECD
More than 550 additional scientists were recruited by the Incubator. A total of 45 innovative projects with about 600 partners was implemented. Support for the establishment of more than 60 innovative business start-ups was provided. About 420 jobs were secured or created in the region. More than 80 thematic events involved more than 8 300 local entrepreneurs, employees and development actors.
In June 2015, at the Incubator’s official closing ceremony at Lüneburg, the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil, the Chairman of the Managing Board of the German Federal Employment Agency Frank-Jürgen Weise and the Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Stefan Kapferer acknowledged the Incubator’s achievements in building knowledge bridges between science and economy.
VIDEO SERIES: HOW DID ECONOMY AND SOCIETY BENEFIT?
What ideas, methods, products and services have been developed within the Innovation Incubator? Who does benefit from them? And how do things go on? Entrepreneurs, founders, representatives of associations and scholars answer these questions in the video series “Innovation Incubator: Voices from the Region”.
The city tour game “Lüneburg 3D” offers new perspectives on the old Hanseatic city. Mathias Fuchs, supervisor of the Incubator project “Art and Civic Media” and manager of the international games conference DiGRA 2015, talks about the game’s development.
How can companies optimize their search engine advertising? In collaboration with the local agency web-netz, Burkhardt Funk, vice president of the Leuphana, and his co-workers came up with an answer to this question within the Incubator project “SEM-A2“.
A founder needs support. Founder Jessica Zeller recounts how her young company was supported by the Incubator when starting Edkimo. And she explains the idea behind Edkimo: a feedback app for school lessons.
First there was an idea: short explanatory videos made with stop trick animation that simplify complex topics. Founder Andreas Ebert recounts how this idea turned into the Lüneburg communications agency explainity with the help of the Incubator.
Effective help by mouse click: the research group GET.ON developed 11 online health trainings and 2 mobile apps. Studies have shown their effectiveness to prevent and treat mental illnesses, says Hanne Thiart, certified psychologist and founder of the GET.ON institute.
Tourism and healthcare do not fit together? But they do. Thomas Lötsch from the Economic Development Agency recounts how visiting professor Monika Rulle helped him to enhance the profile of the health tourism sector in Cuxhaven.
“In the future, web-based health trainings will be an integral part of the German health care system”, predicts researcher Till Beiwinkel. The Incubator project “Integrated Care” evaluated a program for prevention and therapy of the Harburg Novego AG.
Target groups, resources, risks – the business executive of the Celle IT specialist Delta plus, Jörg Krüger, analyzed the business model of the geothermal product GeoCool in cooperation with researchers from the Incubator. He found the researchers of the project “Sustainable Business Models” to be “extremely practical”.
“From eco-freak to sustainability pioneer”: business executive of Werkhaus, Holger Danneberg, dealt with issues of sustainability in SMEs in several workshops. Now his company publishes a report on sustainability and pursues a new communication strategy.
A raw materials strategy for regional companies: Siegfried Ziegert, director of the Executive Department of Economic Development, County of Osterholz, and coordinator of ARTIE, introduces the network “Raw Material Source:Product”. The Innovation Incubator is one of the initiators of the project.
How can craft businesses become more sustainable? Colette Bomnüter of the Chamber of Crafts Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Stade and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg looked into this issue. The method they came up with is now being offered as part of the consulting.
Incubator researchers developed an optimized heat storage system: the “Thermal Battery”. It satisfies the demand for warm water and heat in single-family or multi-family homes more cost-effectively and environmentally-friendly and it requires less space than traditional systems. Environmental researcher and founder Oliver Opel explains the reasons why.
Does a storage quarter in Ritterhude make sense? Legal, technical and business experts dealt with this question within the Incubator project “EnERgioN” on behalf of the Osterholz public utility company. “The Leuphana University is especially good at bringing together all the stakeholders”, says Heide Oberbeck from the public utility company. According to her, that is a special competence: “For the most part, investigations only take into account one perspective.”
Corrosion in pipes and water systems causes immense costs for industrial companies. Incubator researchers and the sensor manufacturer Franatech worked together to develop the early warning system “FeQuan” to predict these kinds of damages. Companies may save up to 25 percent of their costs for water treatment, explain Joachim Schwerdtfeger and Michel Masson from Franatech.
Clemens Mader, visiting professor for regional environment and sustainability, developed sustainability strategies in cooperation with the juice company Voelkel, the bakery Dinkelmeister, and the Chamber of Crafts Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Stade.
Contaminated grass from flood plains of the Elbe River is turned into fertilizer: a process that is enabled by a new method. Ecologist Caroline Thiem explains how the method came into being within the Incubator project “Activated Biochar”.
Good leadership, employee satisfaction, employer attractiveness: the researchers of the network “Performance Management in SMEs” conducted two employee surveys on behalf of Ina Wenhold, human resource manager of the eco-mail-order company Deerberg.
“A driving force behind the development of the regional job market”: Bernd Passier, chairman of the board of the Agency for Employment Lüneburg-Uelzen, evaluates the provisional results of the Lüneburg Innovation Incubator.
In cooperation with the Incubator project KIM, Agathenburg Castle presented the art exhibition “Some Issues of History” as part of the Daniel Frese Prize 2013. It was an encounter of regional and international art. “This approach is unusual and gives local artists the opportunity to be recognized internationally”, says Bettina Roggmann from Agathenburg Castle.
More than 350 companies from the district of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Lüneburg-Wolfsburg teamed up with the Incubator. Michael Zeinert, chief executive of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, points out in what ways the companies have benefitted from the collaboration.
Eliminating waste – with this goal in mind the laser manufacturer LAP implemented “Operations Excellence”, a method that was developed in the Incubator to optimize processes. Thus, production manager Joachim True was able to reduce the stock by 500.000 Euro in a short period of time so that now there is 25 percent more storage space.
The guide “Cooperative Day Care For Companies” explains step-by-step how companies can become more suitable for children and why it is beneficial for them to do so. Education researcher Timo Bleckwedel designed the guide within the Incubator project “Cooperative Day Care For Companies”.
“When people spend their money on local businesses, they help their community to thrive”, says Jan Orthey. In collaboration with the innovation network “Sustainable SMEs”, the owner of Lünebuch – Buchhandlung am Markt refined strategies for the local retail industry.
What exactly makes a sustainable product? Christine Kruppa from the organic bakery Bohlsener Mühle tackled issues like this within the network “Sustainable SMEs”. In this context, she made useful contacts with other companies and sustainability researchers.
More than 400 consultations, over 60 Start-ups: Carsten Wille, head of the Start-up Service and start-up consultant, outlines the interim results of the Incubator. The expansion of the Start-up Service was greatly supported by the Innovation Incubator.