NetLog: Steinbeis NetworkDialog

Premiere of the new Steinbeis discussion forum

Also on Steinbeis Day, all Steinbeis entrepreneurs were invited to the first Steinbeis NetworkDialog, or NetLog for short. This new forum, which will be held annually in the future, focuses on dialog between multiple people and on a number of levels with the aim of building and promoting networks. Networks and personal exchange with others in the form of dialog are essential elements of the Steinbeis network, and given the shift to virtual meetings and digital discussion, both are gaining in importance.

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The starting point for NetLog – as a new form of interacting with others – was the realization that transformation and convergence will be defining processes in coming decades, not just for people, but also for companies, and organizations. This continual process of change requires an equally steadfast ability to adapt. The solutions that will be required to given problems will be identified less and less by individuals. The usefulness of communities and collaboration will be determined by the value they add; overall, “less” will need to be “more.” Competitive advantage will then stem from the value of networks, especially when this results in greater efficiency and effectiveness in solving different problems by building on skills in synergy. To acquire the right skills to innovate, companies, organizations, and the stakeholders who support them will also require technological competence. The increasing level of convergence between technology expertise and management consulting offers significant potential to tap into such network value.

Within the Steinbeis metwork, on the one hand attention is focusing on networks that come in a variety of formats. Some involve several Steinbeis enterprises (SEs), forming part or even the core of a network. Others involve just one SE, playing a part in creating (network) value, or acting as an enabler. It has also been observed that networks have reached different stages of maturity: from the initiation phase, to planning, impact, and finally review.

The first Steinbeis NetLog event was an opportunity for such value-adding networks to showcase themselves within the context of the Steinbeis network and engage in dialog with other network members and guests. The selection of networks at the event was as diverse as the topics that are currently impacting our economy and society. The projects that were presented and discussed during the event reflected a number of success stories from the Steinbeis network, all of which were implemented with partners or are still being implemented.

Focal topic: the energy industry

Going by the motto “Solutions for the Heating Transition”, Steinbeis entrepreneur Professor Dr.-Ing. Manfred Norbert Fisch presented an SE network that was launched from scratch. His talk demonstrated that the transition to alternative sources of heating requires interaction across an entire system, involving all forms of renewable heat generation. Heating networks are an opportunity to decarbonize the heating supplies of entire cities, villages, and neighborhoods. The ideal system in terms of energy use and economic factors will be found by leveraging potential on a local level and spaces available for energy generation. The goal of the network is to showcase and offer consulting services and different ways to make things happen, spanning a broad range of topics. Initial discussion had already taken place before the event and the Steinbeis Day marked the first chance for the network to meet face to face.

Focal topic: digital transformation

Representing the transfer platform Baden-Württemberg Industry 4.0, in his speech at the Steinbeis Day Professor Dr. Daniel Palm highlighted the difficulty of implementing digital transformation at companies. The Baden-Württemberg Industry 4.0 transfer platform is a Steinbeis Innovation Center formed by a network of three universities funded by the state, providing examples of initial solutions and thus showing how SMEs in particular can overcome different challenges.

Focal topic: micromobility

Steinbeis Entrepreneurs Professor Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Nendel and Mirko Spieler have enjoyed a successful partnership for some time with external companies as part of a network looking at the area of micromobility. For a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the partners are investigating travel using smart pedal vehicles (SPVs) in the connected and digital cities of the future. A flexible, quick, and environmentally friendly format of micro-travel, SPVs are designed to offer firms an innovative and sustainable solution for use in urban environments.

Focal topic: New Work

Steinbeis Consulting Group Personal (SCGP) and Steinbeis Consulting Group Digital Business Transformation (SCG DBT) have been working together as micro-networks as part of an interface project. During Steinbeis Day Professor Dr. Arnd Gottschalk, a member of the SCGP, highlighted the challenges and key success factors affecting companies as transformation occurs in the world of work. The New Work movement offers employees greater levels of flexibility and individuality, but in many areas the shift in corporate culture has not yet reached top management and working processes. His network has therefore developed its own offering of collaborative services in the field of New Work, based on holistic and systematic approaches to change management with the aim of supporting successful transformation.

The first kick-off event will be followed by further NetLog events looking at a variety of topics. The unanimously agreed goal will be to keep expanding the Steinbeis network, to promote strong partnerships, and to develop a diversity of dialog formats that support networking.


Dr. Michael Ortiz (author)
Head of Corporate Development
Steinbeis Headquarters (Stuttgart)

Stefanie Zebitz (author)
Project Manager Corporate Development
Steinbeis Headquarters (Stuttgart)