Karlsruhe as a Team Player
Achieving more together
Global issues such as IT, energy and mobility dominate the economic and scientific landscape of Karlsruhe. The region owes its position as one of the world’s leading innovation hubs not only to the strong digital industry and excellent research facilities, but also to a structural peculiarity: the „Karlsruhe principle of short distances”.
Business, science, public administration and culture have committed themselves to the overriding goal of pooling their interests in the field of digitalization and continuing to position the region as the driving force of digitalization. To achieve this, the institutions work hand in hand – and each area contributes its know-how to a wide variety of projects. As a result, new ideas and innovative concepts can be implemented quickly, which would not be possible without this close interlinking.
The „Karlsruhe principle of short distances” doesn’t only have an institutional component, but also a spatial one. Companies, universities, non-university research institutions, start-up centers, creative spaces, cultural institutions and the town hall are all within a few hundred meters radius. Thanks to connected mobility solutions and the multi-award-winning bicycle infrastructure, all central facilities in the fan-shaped city are easily reachable. This facilitates personal exchange and cross-institutional, unbureaucratic cooperation
In order to achieve more together and actively shape digitalization, you need a strong overarching brand as well as a shared conviction. In Karlsruhe, therefore, the course for the future was set at an early stage with the Initiative karlsruhe.digital.
The initiative brings together stakeholders from science, business, culture and public administration. It pools expert knowledge in order to take advantage of the opportunities associated with digital change, to master challenges as a team and to actively shape the future of the region.
karlsruhe.digital comprises 150 experts from over 50 institutions who work together under the umbrella of the initiative. At the top is the steering committee comprising three chairmen from business, science and public administration. Ideas for future projects are discussed in this committee. The agency is responsible for operational activities and is supported jointly by the Scientific Office of the City of Karlsruhe and the CyberForum. In the eleven working groups, the digital aspects and success criteria of areas such as public administration, science, education and culture, but also topics such as location factors for professionals, start-up culture and sovereignty are analyzed and further developed.
The holistic approach of karlsruhe.digital is particularly evident in the showcase events developed by the initiative. The city festival „Bunte Nacht der Digitalisierung“, was launched to make digital ideas and solutions tangible and give citizens a glimpse behind the scenes. At the InnovationFestival @karlsruhe.digital, the best digital innovations from Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion are presented on site and in a live stream to a global audience.
A strong digital hub needs strong networks. The Karlsruhe entrepreneur Dr. Friedrich Georg Hoepfner recognized this early on – and in 1997, together with eleven partners from science, research, public administration, business and finance, initiated the first network of business start-ups in Karlsruhe.
25 years and many milestones later, the CyberForum e.V. is, with over 1,200 members, now the largest regionally active high-tech entrepreneur network in Europe. Regardless of whether it is a start-up, medium-sized software company, global IT group or research institution – the CyberForum brings all stakeholders in the region of Karlsruhe together.
The focus is the exchange of experience, knowledge, contacts and ideas. In addition, the CyberForum supports companies from the IT and high-tech sector in all phases of corporate development – from foundation, through the recruitment of skilled workers and employee training, to location marketing.
For the creative industries, these tasks are undertaken by the K³ Culture and creative industries office and the MEKA Medienregion Karlsruhe e.V., companies from the energy sector are represented by the EnergieForum and focus.energie e.V. and the Automotive Engineering Network serves as a regional platform for mobility and engineering. The Gründerallianz Karlsruhe supports start-ups on their way to market entry across all industries.
Inspiring Creative Spaces
The digital industry benefits in a way that hardly any other does from the networking and cooperation of the individual players. Karlsruhe takes this into account with initiatives such as karlsruhe.digital and strong networks. But even in the age of digitalization, where a lot happens virtually, physical proximity and personal exchange remain important cornerstones of new ideas and pioneering innovations.
This requires singular places where the IT, cultural and creative industries not only work together, but also live together. The best ideas are often not born in meetings between colleagues, but rather during a coffee break in an exchange with others.
For this reason, several creative spaces have been created in Karlsruhe in recent years, which give start-ups and companies the opportunity to combine their existing potential and use synergies effectively. These include the Alter Schlachthof with the Perfect Futur Startup Center for Creatives and the FUX Fortification and Expansion Center, the CyberLab in the Hoepfner Burg, the Technology Park Karlsruhe and the RaumFabrik Durlach. In all of these locations, emphasis has been placed on an inspiring atmosphere, modern open-space concepts and the provision of public space for creative exchange