Christian Birnesser

Guest feature | Digitalization: 11 reasons why Karlsruhe is ready for the future

Digital solutions are finding their way into all areas of life and work. With this digital transition, we are seeing disruptive technologies present the old economy with staggering challenges. Entire industries are being forced to redefine themselves from one day to the next – and traditional business strongholds are following suit. Christian Birnesser from our CODE_n new.New Festival partner Cyberforum has summed things up for us in a feature called 11 reasons why Karlsruhe is ready for the digital transition. And what kinds of things the city should focus on despite – or maybe because of – its terrific starting point:

1. Lead through IT

The “fan-shaped city” already got a head start in the race to introduce digital solutions. As a bastion of Germany’s IT industry, Karlsruhe is inherently digital: The region is home to roughly 4,200 IT companies providing 36,000 jobs. A 2014 EU study of the most important ICT hubs on the continent listed Karlsruhe as a frontrunner thanks to its strong foundation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – right behind metropolises like Munich, London, and Paris.


(Image Source: KTG Karlsruhe Tourismus GmbH)

Where other locations have to start at square one, Karlsruhe already has a great footing. Now it’s important to keep up the momentum and not give out just before the finish line.

2. A new IT generation is up and coming

Karlsruhe is a college town with 43,250 students at 9 universities and schools of applied sciences. Nearly 20% of these students are enrolled in IT-related programs. The renowned faculties at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA) attract talented students from all across the country. IT and informatics have never before been in such high demand: In the winter semester of 2015/2016, there were 730 first-year students enrolled in informatics courses, just at KIT alone. That’s more than were registered back in 2012/2013, when double the number of high school graduates headed off to college. So this is know-how that has come to be very important in the age of digitalization.

It might sound like a broken record but: Today’s students are the specialists and managers of tomorrow. If they can be attracted to stay put and not move away, that’s great for the local economy – for the long term.

3. Breaking ground for business

The fan-shaped city has cultivated a very attractive startup scene. There’s a good level of exchange and people meet up regularly at events like the founders’ BBQ. The support that’s on offer is also exemplary: The Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE) is an ideal first port of call for business founders. It’s located directly on the KIT campus. With its CyberLab, the CyberForum runs its own incubator or accelerator especially for IT and high-tech startups. And both the city and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) are in a great position to offer consulting services. Beyond this, all key stakeholders have become involved in the network of founders in Karlsruhe. More…

Dr. Peter Leibinger

Guest feature | TRUMPF: Deep knowledge in a broad range of technologies is essential for innovations


Dr. Peter Leibinger, Vice-Chairman of the TRUMPF Group

In our first guest article by one of our new.New Festival partners, Dr. Peter Leibinger, Vice-Chairman of the TRUMPF Group, responsible for research and development, talks about innovation and sustainable technology development:

General trends of digitalization like Industry 4.0 or additive manufacturing disrupt the status quo in industrial manufacturing. Products, processes, techniques and business models might have to be changed fundamentally. When it comes to innovation for our industry, three definitions come to my mind. First is an obvious definition, by Schumpeter, that innovation is a new technical solution that successfully establishes itself in the marketplace. Secondly, innovation is any substantial technological novelty or new combination of existing technologies that are the basis for progress regarding the major requirements that a product has to fulfill. In the laser industry this would be for example productivity, usability or reliability. Thirdly, innovation brings a benefit that the customer actually experiences as a benefit. This can be a small progress on the technological aspect, however, small differences in products can yield dramatic differences in the customer experience

The basic principle we have at TRUMPF for a successful and sustainable technology development is: Deep knowledge across a broad range of technologies. This is absolutely essential. Through this we are able to judge, actively pursue and monitor competing technologies. This concerns both sheet metal forming and industrial laser technology. Along the sheet metal process chain we provide all relevant technologies – punching, bending, cutting and welding. The same is true for laser technology. With disk, gas and diode lasers, we have the power of choice and we find the best solution for any application. An important precondition to technological leadership in our field is also a selective vertical integration along the technological value chain. This means that we pursue all key technologies simultaneously. That’s why we can optimize the entire laser system and the individual subsystems. This results in decisive benefits for our customers, and at the same time protects our knowhow and our unique competitive advantage. More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Digital transformation is changing our working life – Get prepared for these 3 trends!

Digital transformation is currently hitting our working and everyday life with great revolutionary power. It rolls over all industries and challenges companies of all kinds and sizes – from now on nothing will ever be the same. Digital transformation is also the main topic of this year’s new.New Festival, where we will explore innovative solutions of digital pioneers. But let`s start at the very beginning and see what the digital transformation looks like: how can it change our daily work? We have identified 3 trends of digital transformation in your working life.

digital-transformation-change-working-life-3-trends-services-technology-market-circulation-industry More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

CODE_n SPACES Residents | CODE2ORDER: Digital Service Platform for Hotels and their Guests

Our CODE_n SPACES Resident CODE2ORDER started out with developing a software for restaurants, now they’re deep into the hotel industry. Their product allows guests to access information related to their trip or make use of hotel amenities – all through their smartphones. We talked to Patrick Luik, one of the three founders, about the initial idea, the current status and how they ended up in our CODE_n SPACES.

Patrick Luik

Patrick Luik, Founder of CODE2ORDER

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you explain, in layman’s terms and maybe with a couple of nice examples, what exactly you do?

Patrick Luik: Digital communication between hotels and guests currently only takes place before and after a guest’s visit, not during their stay. That’s why we’ve developed a service and marketing platform that bridges the gap between all three of these phases. The platform allows guests to access information related to their trip (guest maps, points of interest, etc.), or even make use of hotel amenities like room service, the hotel shop, feedback tools, and more – all through their smartphone, and without having to install a special app. Everyone wins with this solution, the hotel and the guest.

And who’s your solution for?

Patrick Luik: Our solution is aimed primarily at hotels that are looking to offer their guests better, more digital services. It doesn’t matter whether the hotel has 30 rooms or more than 15,000 rooms (chains, for example). Secondly, the solution is also for hotel guests.

What made you think of the idea? And what made you set up the company?

Patrick Luik: Our original idea was actually something entirely different. We initially developed a solution for the restaurant industry. After some time, we swapped tables for rooms and it unlocked a whole bunch of possibilities and ideas within the hotel industry, which we’re now also following up on closely and implementing. More…

Nadine Korany

The secret’s out – these 52 finalists will be celebrating the digital disruption at the CODE_n new.New Festival in September

Over 380 young companies from all over the world applied for one of the four contest clusters under the overarching theme of ‘Digital Disruption’; now the best of the best have been chosen. The 52 finalists from 11 different countries will be travelling to Karlsruhe in Germany this autumn to present their digital business solutions at our new.New Festival, to potential customers, investors, mentors and visitors. Early bird tickets are available as of today.

“From Israel to Germany and over to the U.S., the young startup businesses represent an exciting spectrum of digital solutions in the four contest clusters: Applied FinTech, Connected Mobility, HealthTech and Photonics 4.0,” says GFT CEO and CODE_n Initiator Ulrich Dietz. As different as these four clusters might sound, they all have one thing in common; representing areas in which the digital revolution will take place – quickly, thoroughly, disruptively – changing our lives forever. Wonder what that future might look like? Our CODE_n Finalists of 2016 have the answers and while we will introduce all 52 startups in detail soon, we decided to present some exciting handpicked examples first!

Weltkarte (2) More…

Robin König

Interview with CODE_n Corporate Member Vodafone: The best way to start-up your business!

A bit more than a year ago Vodafone Germany introduced its Start-up Power Team (short SUP) – a team that is solely responsible for creating strong partnerships with young companies. Besides promoting and mentoring startups, Vodafone offers them to test prototypes in their test facilities and enables access to a large distribution network. To find out more about Vodafone’s recent startup activities we talked to Michael Reinartz, the new Director Innovation at Vodafone Germany.

First of all thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Could you explain, which role startups play in Vodafone’s overall innovation strategy? And why exactly do you believe it is important to include them into your strategy?

Michael Reinartz, Director Innovation, Vodafone Germany

Michael Reinartz, Director Innovation, Vodafone Germany

Michael Reinartz: The work of the start-up power team forms one of the three pillars of our company’s innovation strategy. Through cooperation with startups, we aim to bring more external innovation into Vodafone. Contrary to most other corporates, we are focusing exclusively on technology and distribution partnerships and do not conduct financial investments in startups. We are convinced that with our extensive consumer and enterprise distribution network, our technology centers across Germany as well as with our expertise in a variety of different fields, we can support start-ups better than with a mere investment.

If you could describe Vodafone’s startup activities in one sentence, what would that be?

Michael Reinartz: It’s rather simple: Our goal at Vodafone is to match promising startups with our technologies, products and our network and work together to bring innovative ideas to market.

You mention the matching of Vodafone and startups. Why is such a potential partnership with Vodafone interesting for startups?

Michael Reinartz: We offer startups to develop and test their products at our Innovation Park. At our so called VIP labs we have over 1000 test projects each year, which makes our Innovation Park Labs one of the leading test facilities for telecommunication innovations worldwide. At the facilities we have more than 300 experts from the widest range of technological fields, which represent a unique pool of digital communication know-how. These experts can provide valuable mentoring to startups and it helps them to extend their personal network. Furthermore, regarding more technical benefits, the capacity of our test network is sufficient to provide mobile coverage for a country such as Switzerland – this offers startups unique testing opportunities. In addition we offer startups the possibility to test their products or services among our customers. Together with the startups we will identify the right customer segment for their market research to receive the best possible customer insights. Each problem that we can identify at an early stage of testing, reduces the lead time of innovation projects, meaning that we will actively help startups to bring their products and services to the market sooner. More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Best creative thinking techniques – 3 tips to generate great ideas and how to put them into a business model

An innovative idea is the starting point of every new business. The new product solves an existing problem or brings a whole new world of possibilities for the industry. However, we all have experienced that identifying the problem is only the first step on the long road to an innovative solution. This road called ‘generating a great idea’ is paved with many creative and strategic challenges. But no worries – there are also as many techniques for creative thinking and business model development to guide you through this road. Whether you are about to launch a startup or update your existing business model, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best three creative thinking techniques. Get inspired by them!



Filiz Sarah Gärtner

How can startups and corporates successfully collaborate? Best practices with business incubators, accelerators and partnerships

Many reasons why startups and corporates seek collaboration are clear: startups benefit from funding, expertise as well as from a business and sales network, while large corporates profit from startups’ innovative power, operational speed and creativity.  A large percentage of corporates stated that they require startups to enable innovation for their business. In an equal collaboration, the vital effect of startups for the innovation process of big companies meets the need of startups for a powerful patron. But when new and established businesses come together, they most likely face challenges like a culture clash or the struggle of control and independence. However, equal and successful collaboration is possible! Find out how with the best practices in incubations, accelerations and partnerships.