Dear Readers,

35 years of Steinbeis. I’m delighted that my baby is now an adult and the fundamental values are still in place. Of course, this is also due to the people who have taken on these values and “live” them.

I’d like to leave you with two messages, both based on personal experience – innovation and people. I’ll start with innovation. There’s a tendency to think in terms of working out where things are now (capturing the current status), then planning where things should be (the required status), and then striding from current to required as if fulfilling a plan. Yet it’s the things that happen, the things that threaten losses, change markets, bring about structural change that lead to innovations – or perhaps it’s pure chance. I’ve visited many companies and whenever I have, I’ve always looked at their history and discovered so many of these changes.

Which brings me on to people. I’ve met people with a burning passion for an idea. It fuels courage. When trust came on top of this, it was enrichment par excellence. For me, the most important value or asset was always people. Look out for people you can trust and show them that you trust them. That’s the only way to achieve things. I can think of numerous examples of few people agreeing to do something and sticking to their agreement, even when things got a bit “rough.” The documentation and timelines rarely show what the real reasons were for making a decision. The same applies to critical decisions of a historic dimension. But it would be naive to think there aren’t hypocrites, people who suddenly forget what was agreed as soon as a small advantage emerges for them. With people like that, you achieve nothing.

In these times of information technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure people remain the most important asset and are recognized as such. Legal documents and agreements can be quickly drafted, down to every last detail, without working out who you’re actually dealing with. What remains is hope – the hope of a renaissance.

With kind regards,

Johann Löhn


In 1983, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Johann Löhn started building the Steinbeis organization on a foundation of “transfer entrepreneurship.” He was put in charge of the Steinbeis Foundation and in 1998 he was also given responsibility for Steinbeis GmbH & Co. KG für Technologietransfer, both enterprises he managed with great success until 2004. Between 1998 and September 2018, he acted as the president of Steinbeis University Berlin. Löhn is an Honorary Trustee of the Steinbeis Foundation and in this capacity a member of the jury of the Steinbeis Foundation Transfer Award – the Löhn Award, which was introduced in 2004 in honor of his achievements.

To contact Johann Löhn, write to johann.loehn@stw.de