This edition of TRANSFER Magazine focuses on the strategies of a sustainable economy and society – and thus probably the most pressing challenge faced by society, for example in areas such as climate change. Steinbeis enterprises have long recognized the importance of this topic – which is nothing new – and have aligned their focus and activities accordingly. But more recent developments, such as the tragic extreme weather that hit the southern and western regions of Germany, clearly demonstrate to society as a whole that what is needed now is joint action. Sustainability is one of those topics that transcend many areas – not just the three pillars of the environment, the economy, and socio-cultural factors, but all specialist disciplines. As such – whether from an economic, technical, or scientific perspective – it can drive the necessary transformation processes for the required infrastructures.
The transportation transition, the green energy transition, the raw materials transition – words we see in headlines, but they need to be underpinned by strategies and implementation concepts. When you are transferring and sharing technology, this means being able to understand and control complex systems. Let’s take modern travel solutions – mobility – as an example: We know that mobility has a significant contribution to make to climate protection, but it also has a major influence on the structures of human settlement. The discussion surrounding electric vehicles and alternative fuels is entirely necessary; but without further consideration – for example, when it comes to changing travel patterns, adapted infrastructures, or further developments in IT systems – it does not go far enough. And ultimately there is also the question of financial viability.
This is just a brief assessment, but one thing it clearly shows is the scope of tasks ahead of us and the complex solutions that are required. The developments we are witnessing may be menacing, but these tasks offer myriad opportunities and possibilities to come up with potential solutions and continue to develop and operate sustainable business models in the future. These processes of transformation will not be easy if we want to establish an economy and society that is sustainable. Transformation also entails saying goodbye to things we have cherished and being open to a future that enables current and, above all, future generations to live in an environment worth living in.
The articles in this edition of TRANSFER magazine show clearly that the projects worked on in the Steinbeis Network have long been tackling the challenges facing society, and that they have the potential to provide us not only with strategic courses of action but also detailed solutions to individual problems. We are on the right path, but we must also remember that a much longer stretch of the journey still lies ahead. The tasks that await us are diverse and touch on many areas – so let us continue on this path with all our might.
With kind regards,
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Stöckner (author)
Professor Dr.-Ing. Markus Stöckner is a Steinbeis Entrepreneur at the Karlsruhe-based Steinbeis Transfer Center for Infrastructure Management in Transportation (IMV). As a professor at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, he teaches and conducts research at the Faculty of Architecture and Construction Engineering and the Institute of Traffic and Infrastructure.