Startups rock CeBIT
Date: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 19:56
CODE_n leads established companies into the digital age
Whether it’s robots that clean solar panels or mobile smart home solutions in the cloud: The 50 startup companies presenting themselves during CODE_n at CeBIT 2013 demonstrate emphatically that innovation, lateral thinking and boldness are closely linked. Established companies can profit from their fresh, unconventional perspective on generating new ideas. “We have to learn to think differently if we want to overcome the challenges associated with the transition to alternative energy,” says Ulrich Dietz, initiator of CODE_n and CEO of the GFT Group. “As a marketplace for creative experiments, CODE_n provides the perfect platform for this.” The Hager Group, a global company for electric installations, shows what this can look like. The company is taking advantage of the opportunities at CODE_n in order to maximize its own innovative potential.
50 Hager Group employees will spend an entire day exchanging insights with different CODE_n finalists to understand how they approach the concept of innovation. They will get more information about product ideas and business models – more specifically, everything related to the idea of “open innovation”. “Startups are a source of innovation,” says CEO Daniel Hager. “Companies like us have to be open to knowledge from employees, clients, partners and young entrepreneurs alike.” For Hager, CeBIT counts as one of the main exhibitions where the company can find digital inspiration for new solutions in building automation, electro-mobility or energy distribution. CODE_n adds a new quality to a visit to CeBIT. “Companies today are undergoing cultural transformation. We want to become faster, and more open, to start thinking across disciplines and to network,” says Daniel Hager, the family business’s third-generation leader.
“That is precisely the idea behind CODE_n: to create a platform for exchange and innovation where pioneers and people who make things possible meet,” says Ulrich Dietz. “This is especially important with topics like alternative energy. It’s something that interests us all, but the road there raises a lot of questions.” The combination of the innovative power of startups with the sustainability of established companies is of particular significance for challenges related to the energy transition. On the one hand, optimal energy supply requires the know-how of experienced providers. On the other, the industry can only innovate with the help of advances in cloud technology and mobile computing, smart grids, social media and crowdsourcing. “No one denies that an energy transition is a must. The question is: How? CODE_n is helping shape the future by bringing together generations of entrepreneurs, and leading companies into the digital age,” says Dietz.
Gerhard Müller, partner at Ernst & Young, is also convinced of the potential at the interface between startups and established companies. “It’s a win-win situation: Young companies need support from experienced ones in order to continue growing. On the same token, startups can help break rigid business conventions. They are able to communicate on a global scale, make decisions quickly and always think in terms of alternatives.” This approach is the exception for most established companies, but offers exciting stimulus for changes to company cultures. “Young entrepreneurs have grown up with social media, but also alongside the growing threat of climate change. The result is an special mix of risk-taking prowess and openness,” says Müller.
CeBIT Senior Vice President Frank Pörschmann expects this same level of openness from a visit to the exhibition experience in Hall 16: “The transition to alternative energy is an enormous feat that can only be overcome through joint efforts. If we are able to initiate collaborations at CODE_n that bring an energy-efficient future a step closer, it would be a great success.” In light of the upcoming five days at CeBIT, Pörschmann adds: “The concept behind CODE_n is one of a kind. What other event finds the 50 most fascinating business concepts from all over the world, brings them together in one place, and showcases them in front of a wide audience? And we’re even more pleased to pave the way for a seamless exhibition experience – one that is both incomparable and inspiring for all visitors – with this year’s CODE_n innovations for the digital industry.”
Above, CeBIT Senior Vice President Frank Pörschmann at CeBIT 2012