In 2013, it was decided with all those involved in the Münsterland Innovation Award to establish an event format in the non-competitive years. This format was to serve a current "trend" topic and offer employees of companies, universities and institutions from the Münsterland region a platform to inform themselves and network.
In 2014, stakeholders from the region came together on the topic of "climate and energy". Two years later, the innovation forum entitled "Digital take-off" was held in the terminal of Münster/Osnabrück Airport.
Like the Innovation Award, the Innovation Forum is supported by the sponsors - the Sparkassen im Münsterland, Westfälische Provinzial Versicherung AG and inngoy SE.
Innovations and the Münsterland - they go together. "In our region, there are an incredible number of companies that cultivate their culture of innovation, move forward without fear and give their employees the freedom to develop ideas," said Klaus Ehling, board member of Münsterland e.V., at the last Münsterland Innovation Forum on the topic of "Greenfield innovation - where is the culture of innovation growing?" at Münster/Osnabrück Airport.
The Innovation Forum was organised on 6 December 2018 by Münsterland e.V. with the support of the Enabling Innovation Münsterland project . The forum takes place every two years in cooperation with the sponsors, the savings banks in Münsterland, Westfälische Provinzial Versicherung AG and innogy SE.
Christiane Grün is a Münsterlander who stands for innovation in particular. The Reken native is Managing Director of 3M Deutschland GmbH. As the third most innovative company in the world after Apple and Google, 3M has registered more than 25,000 patents. "We see every employee as a researcher," Grün said in her keynote. Everyone should look at what they can improve for the people next door, but also worldwide. Of course, the management must be prepared to create space for this, to hand over responsibility and must not react over-critically to mistakes, because these are naturally part of the innovation process. "3M's innovation target is to make 40 per cent of sales with products developed in the last five years. We have achieved that," says Grün. Among other things, because every employee has the opportunity to use 15 per cent of his or her working time to develop ideas.
The participants of the Innovation Forum got creative themselves with Lego Serious Play and the Marshmallow Challenge in the green zones. Using (uncooked) spaghetti, tape, string and a marshmallow, the challenge was to build a structure that was as high as possible but stable. The approach to this gave a relatively quick insight into team structures and team behaviour: Did they first build a stable foundation or did they stick as many spaghetti together as possible? The teams had 18 minutes - and at the end it got exciting when workshop moderator Dr. Markus Könning, head of innovation consulting at the Economic Development Corporation (WFG) for the district of Borken, approached with the folding rule. Who had the tallest tower?
In the talk with moderator Tobias Häusler (WDR), the sponsors also gave insight into the innovation culture of their companies. "Our main focus is currently on supporting several initiatives to promote our innovation culture as well as the development and implementation of new ideas. Trust, creativity and the right way to deal with setbacks play a major role in this. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We rely on our own potential, the exchange in networks and also cooperate with new market participants in the development," said Christian Gottschalk, Innovation Manager of Westfälische Provinzial Versicherung AG.
On behalf of innogy SE, Thomas Birr, SVP Innovation & Business Transformation innogy SE and CEO of the innogy Innovation Hub, explained how the energy company is driving the digital transformation: "The future of energy will be very different from today's energy system and energy as an industry will be fundamentally redefined. At innogy, we have developed a clear picture of the future: Tomorrow's energy world will be more decentralised and fully digitalised. For this future system, we are developing new business models and digital solutions for our customers with start-ups worldwide. In doing so, we are also using key technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain or augmented reality, which will massively change the energy industry in the coming years."
On behalf of the savings banks in Münsterland, Dr Jörn Stöppel looked at the bank's overall strategy: "Accompanying growth has always been an important topic for the savings banks: every day, we accompany founders and already established companies from the initial idea to concrete implementation, so that we contribute to the culture of innovation along the way. In addition, the Savings Banks themselves develop numerous innovations in order to meet the very different and changing customer needs and the associated communication channels. That is why we support the Innovation Forum out of genuine conviction."
Change, redesign, progress: topics that are of enormous importance in Münsterland. Because a company's or business's ability to innovate determines its future - and this has long since reached the companies and employees in Münsterland. Find out more here.