Innovation promotion is as versatile as the concept of innovation itself. Sometimes it is a burgeoning trend, a new competitor, or simply chance that initiates an innovation. Often, however, important innovations emerge especially where companies, universities, networks and economic development agencies work together.
As a regional network initiative and successor project to Enabling Innovation Münsterland, the Enabling Networks Münsterland project supported companies and universities in Münsterland from 2019 to 2022 in developing innovations, implementing them and finding the right partners for the project.
The Enabling Networks Münsterland project was funded by the European Union and the NRW Ministry of Economics as part of the ERDF call "Regio.NRW".
The Enabling Networks Münsterland project started on 1 September 2019 with a volume of around 2.35 million euros. The focus was on networking: Five entrepreneurial think tanks and five technology scouts were to support the development of new innovations and the search for new technologies.
First round of think tanks
Through the exchange of representatives from companies, research and regional networks in the five think tanks, the innovation competences of the region were further developed and future strategies were worked on. The results of the process could be new study programmes, new networks, new cooperation projects or even new research infrastructures.
Project consortium develops "Technology Scouting for SMEs" offer
In order to give small and medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to identify technologies relevant to them at an early stage and to make the appropriate experts in the region transparent about them, the project partners have developed various measures to make access easier for companies. To this end, five technology scouts from different disciplines help with orientation in the technology jungle.
First Innovation Story published
Many innovative success stories from the Münsterland region have been launched as cooperation projects. Because when different companies, institutions or scientific facilities put their heads together, everyone benefits - in the region and beyond. The joint project Enabling Networks Münsterland tracked down these and other innovations and presented them at muensterland.com/innovation-stories. Some of the stories were also filmed.
Think tank convention
At the think tank convention, the members of the five think tanks exchanged ideas on topics such as the circular economy or smart care and explored potentials for the Münsterland. There were exciting cross-connections between the topics discussed in the individual think tanks. At the same time, the members benefited from the exchange of knowledge and the network and were able to initiate cooperations.
Information on technological developments, contacts to regional experts and start-ups and insights into best practice examples from the region are offered by the Tech-Kompass Münsterland as one of the many technology scouting measures developed in the project. The Tech-Kompass provides orientation in the technology jungle and is specifically tailored to the region. At muensterland.com/tech-compass it takes a look at the five regional fields of innovation that characterise the Münsterland region and can still be accessed after the end of the project.
"Tech-Trends Münsterland" published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI.
New technologies offer particular development potential for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Münsterland region. On behalf of Münsterland e.V., the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research analysed 60 technologies that are of particular importance for the development of companies in the region. The results of the analysis were presented at the event and subsequently made available to regional companies and interested parties.
Innovation Scouting trips
In search of innovations, entrepreneurs visited research centres in Germany and the Netherlands. The goal of the four exciting Innovation Scouting trips was to get new impulses for research and innovation. Together with so-called technology scouts, they went to Aachen, Duisburg, Würzburg and Eindhoven. In keeping with the Münsterland's fields of innovation competence, the focus was on digital solutions, networked production, materials of the future and technological solutions in medicine.
Think tanks finalise recommendations for action
The last round of think tanks took place in autumn 2022. The participants finalised the recommendations for action for the region as a result of their work from the past think tanks.
Final event "Transformation Münsterland - sustainable, cosmopolitan, digital".
The completed funding projects Enabling Networks Münsterland and Gründergeist #Youngstarts Münsterland gave an outlook on the future of Münsterland as a business location and presented their project results at the closing convention. The recommendations for action created in the think tanks for the region were presented and discussed in talks. The keynote speech was given by Dr. Anna Weber from BabyOne Online GmbH.
The Enabling Networks Münsterland project ended on 31 December 2022, after which Münsterland e.V. and the project partners prepared to apply for further funding to continue the successful regional innovation initiative.