Innovating Differently – The Steinbeis Women’s Competence Explorer in Technology Transfer: the workshop at the 2017 Steinbeis Day

The Other View on Innovating

Tap into diversity with the Competence Explorer!

Steinbeis offers major opportunities to link up competences and provide even better, even more comprehensive services. The key focus of the “The Other View on Innovating” initiative is to draw attention to the expertise and competences of women in the Steinbeis Network and bring them together on an interdisciplinary level. This doesn’t just have to involve women. Naturally it can also involve everyone else in the Steinbeis Network – and beyond. Steinbeis offers major potential to leverage diversity and extend the initiative, even outside the organization.

Just like every target group on the axes of diversity, women working in technology transfer have inherent usage expectations and experiences, providing access to valuable, value-adding ways of working. Integrating this diversity more closely in the innovation process and by doing this, fueling a broader spectrum of innovations, is in all of our interests. This not only allows us to create new sources of ideas and options to collaborate, it also lines up the possibility of exchanging ideas in a targeted manner with the Network, in order to add new aspects to business activities, and overall, to galvanize our impact. This broader spectrum will allow us to be more focused in how we react to the market and the increasingly diverse nature of customer requirements. The current technology shift requires multiple ways of collaborating, which also offer major opportunities to access new customer groups and acquire projects in new areas.

To do this, we want to organize ourselves step by step as a networked group – a group which allows us to get to know each other even better and complement one another at the lectern, in workshops, and in projects. Especially when it comes to lateral creation – Querschöpfung® – it should be possible to draw on the diversity of experience and perspectives offered by the applied projects at Steinbeis, in order to introduce new concepts to the market. It’s this diversity that is the lifeblood of the initiative. The German publication on The Other View on Innovating [Die andere Sicht auf das Innovieren] contains 19 articles and was a successful start in 2017. We made the first tentative moves toward setting up the Competence Explorer at the 2017 Steinbeis Day. Women and men at the event presented their competences, the focus of their activities, and their expectations. We used personal attributes to form clusters and these were sent to everyone involved. This has allowed us to lay the first foundation stone for the Competence Explorer, and it has already resulted in the first shared business activities. The next workshop will take place on April 24, 2018, when we will keep working on the concept. The Explorer should not just be a network, it should also provide a compass for exploring Steinbeis diversity. Right now is a particularly good time for new people in the Network to come on board. We would like to keep expending lateral creation as culture of collaboration and inject life into the Network.



Dr. Petra Püchner is head of the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) and the Commissioner for Europe of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour, and Housing. The SEZ helps business enterprises, universities, and research institutions in Baden-Wuerttemberg with issues relating to European research and innovation programs, also providing support with technology collaboration.
Dr. Petra Püchner
Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Stuttgart/Karlsruhe)


Beate Wittkopp is director of TransferWorks BW, the Steinbeis Transfer Center. The services offered by the Steinbeis Enterprise range from transfer models in the field of digital transformation, to equal opportunity strategies during times of cultural change in business and society, talent scouting in the MINT industries, and projects and initiatives in technology-driven networks.
Beate Wittkopp
Steinbeis-Transferzentrum TransferWerk-BW (Schönaich)

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