Mapping and extending the regional meta-innovation-ecosystem

Sandra Speer
RheinMain University of Applied Sciences

Thomas Heimer
RheinMain University of Applied Sciences


The 5-year strategic, university-wide project IMPACT RheinMain[i] intensifies transfer with industry, civil society and politics. This project of the University of Applied Sciences RheinMain consists of twelve different activities along the entire research and innovation chain, focusing on smart energy, smart home, smart mobility topics. Based on our value chain concept activities range from e.g. from identifying research topics in regular focus groups and innovationlabs with strategic partners, entrepreneurship activities (information, qualification) to workshops with potential users (citizens) in co-operation with the Deutsche Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt. In our case, the concept of knowledge transfer is defined in the broad sense: transfer from the HEI to the outside environment and vice versa.

The Rhine Main area is characterized by a dense innovation ecosystem. The three focus topics - smart energy, smart home, and smart mobility - reflect main areas of the research agenda of the University of Applied Sciences across the different faculties. At the same time, the topics are highly dynamic have blurring boundaries content- and industry-wise, especially reflected by new business modells and industry activities appart from their core business. So, for identifying regional knowledge sharing opportunities we are mapping the „meta-innovation-ecosystem“ with new innovation initiatives, sector-specific accelerators, incubators, living labs, innovation labs, industry networks and clusters with relevance for the three topics foci on smart energy, smart home, smart mobility. The mapping exercise is mainly based on internet research, systematic interviews, workshops and direct interception with external interested parties accompanied by a systematic mapping within the University of Applied Sciences.

On the one hand, IMPACT RheinMain aims at creating synergies and new opportunities for collaboration on the basis of this mapping exercise, e.g. by linking to innovation initiatives as well as extending active networks and networks of networks. On the other hand, we could identify gaps and might partly fill them in the future, e.g. with living labs as facilitators for exploration and exploitation of new knowledge. So in this case, the meta innovation eco system will also be helpful for working on and with the entrepreneurship eco system. Besides working strategically on the external innovation environment, the internal networking between faculties is enhanced in parallel to those external activities.
[1] IMPACT RheinMain is funded by the BMBF and GWK, Innovative Hochschule, 03IHS071.

(Comment: Unfortunately, for job reasons, I will not be fully flexible, and would like to ask for a presentation on June 18th, or in the morning of June 19th if possible)