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!

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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.

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Nadine Korany

380 applications, 40 countries, 6 continents: The CODE_n CONTEST makes Karlsruhe go global!

Over the last three months, 380 startups from literally all over the globe submitted their application for this year’s CODE_n CONTEST “Unveiling digital disruption”. The deadline ended at midnight – sharp – and what we can tell already is that the first impression of submitted business models is quite impressive. CODE_n initiator and GFT CEO Ulrich Dietz is sure that “we’ll once again showcase this year’s highlights from the world of digital technology” – this time at our own new.New Festival in Karlsruhe.

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There, behind the doors and all around the area of the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM), 50 of the 380 applicants will get the chance to present their unique ideas revolving around the four CONTEST clusters Applied FinTechs, Connected Mobility, HealthTech and Photonics 4.0. They will get to meet our well-known partners, possible investors, potential customers, politicians, the media and research bodies.

As our new.New Festival website (which also went live today!) states: It’s the perfect place for digital pioneers, startups, lateral thinkers, experienced innovators – it might even be the perfect place for you! That is, if your into digital innovation. The CODE_n CONTEST jury, made of renowned experts from the world of business and media, will pick the 50 best candidates and make sure you will get to see 50 ideas with plenty of novelty and a high level of quality. Here’s a little sneak preview from what they get to choose from: More…

Nadine Korany

Do you want to rise your startup in Applied FinTechs? Apply for the CODE_n CONTEST!

Your innovations in Applied FinTechs are radically changing our environment – how we live as society and how we do business professionally. Whether we pay for our coffee, need a credit or set up an automatic payment for the rent, every day we are consciously or unconsciously using financial services while incidentally huge amounts of data are being collected. The ever-present linkage of the financial sector and our everyday life illustrates the huge potential for Applied FinTechs to bring major changes for society.

FinTech revolutionizes a variety of financial services such as mobile payments, social mining, money transfers, predictive analytics, fundraising or cognitive automation – and this brings many improvements for private and commercial use. No wonder that global investment in FinTech has skyrocketed from $ 930 million back in 2008 to over $ 12 billion by the beginning of 2015! Step by step FinTech startups are disrupting the traditional finance system. We are thrilled to find out what the next big step will be! Do you have an ace up your sleeve with your startup in Applied FinTechs? Make the move and apply for the CODE_n CONTEST! More…

Edina Mezildzic

CODE_n SPACES Residents | Refine Projects: Lean prinicples with tiny Post-it notes – big style!

Meet our CODE_n SPACES resident, Refine Projects! Methods knowledge paired with innovation and operative implementation power – that’s just how Refine adds sustainable value to its customer’s projects. We talked to CEO and founder Bülent Yildiz to discover how the Refine team uses Post-it® notes and Legos to structure complex projects and make them more efficient. Read on to learn more about how the company was founded, how the construction industry has been turned on its head, and about the challenges they faced in finding just the right team.

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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?

Bülent: We reduce complexity in projects worth millions – all with the help of Post-it® notes and Legos. Manufacturing in construction projects is so efficient these days, it’s like the automotive industry 60-80 years ago. Back then the automotive industry produced products without prefab units, without production systems, and without concentrating on added value. Therein lies the problem as we see it, and for us at Refine, therein also lies the solution.

Then there’s the trend that anyone who watches the news will spot: These days, 70% of all projects go over schedule and budget – even up to 200% over budget. We tackle the complexity of managing thousands of individual processes on dozens of projects. We simulate project flows with Post-it’s and create project delivery systems for our customers. This hands them a tool for lean project management. We’re consultants but we’re also instructors on lean construction.

And who’s your solution for?

Bülent: We focus on one-off projects in the construction industry, but our solutions are also applicable to complex, cross-industry projects. Our customers include large corporations like Stihl but also smaller to medium-sized local construction companies, as well as bricks and mortar businesses like the Mondi Group. More…

Nadine Korany

Your Startup is driving forward in Connected Mobility? Head to the finish line and apply for the CODE_n CONTEST!

Your startup in Connected Mobility is reinventing the wheel! By developing new transportation and supply chain solutions for people, goods and information you are driving the revolution of mobility. Innovations in Connected Mobility will not only have a tremendous impact on the economy by finding more efficient ways for transportation, but also improve the integrated services for information processing, data security and manufacturing. One key technology of Connected Mobility is the Internet of Things, a concept of non-living objects intelligently communicating with each other. By means of this information technology we can expect groundbreaking changes for both our society and economy.

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Nadine Korany

Want to stand out with your startup in HealthTech? Apply for the CODE_n CONTEST!

Your startup in the field of HealthTech is making a true difference for our everyday life! When digitalization merges into the health sector, we witness life-changing discoveries. Every advance in this sector is a victory – from improved diagnostics, to innovative prosthetics or profitable data management. Medical technologies revolutionize step by step the treatment and prevention of diseases. Therefore, health is one of the most important fields where technology needs to be applied: In 2015 medical technology was again the field where the most patent applications (12 474) were filed and with a growth of 11% it was also one of the fastest growing sectors.

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Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Once a sales rep for cash registers, now a business founder: how orderbird set up a new business

If the name orderbird rings a bell, it’s probably because it was one of the ten finalists at the very first CODE_n CONTEST in 2012. The startup also now rings different bells – think ‘ka-ching’ – as one of the five most successful mPOS systems in the world. And the initial spark of genius behind its business concept is still the same today: The startup from the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg can convert iPads into an ordering system for the catering industry. Five years after it was set up, the former CODE_n contestant is now organizing its own successful startup competition, naturally with a slant toward catering. The aim of its Gastro-Gründerpreis (gastronomy startup award) is to help lateral-thinking caterers with €10,000 of startup funding. In its third year now, the much sought-after award is bestowed at Berlin Food Week and the jury includes well-known German experts such as Christian Rach, Cynthia Barcomi, and Sophia Hoffmann.

 We invited the CODE_n alumni at orderbird to join us on the occasion of our fifth anniversary and tell us about their own early days as a startup. How did its founders come up with the idea of turning an iPad into a ordering system for catering? And how did they get the right people on their side? Read more about the story of a startup – from the initial insight and inspiration to becoming a full-blown publically traded company.

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The new management team at orderbird (left – right): Artur Hasselbach, Thomas Köhl, Patrick Brienen, Jakob Schreyer, and Bastian Schmidtke

The ingenious idea behind orderbird first came to Bastian Schmidtke in 2009. He was scrolling through the Business Insider website when he read about the U.S. military using the iPod Touch as a remote control for bombs. Bastian was selling cash register systems in southern Germany at the time, and his thoughts immediately leapt to catering: More…