Innovation award NEO – More health for the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion

Aging is a process that no one can defy. Additionally, demographic change and other factors accompany aging. The Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK) takes up this topic in the course of its innovation award NEO. With this prize, the TRK wants to promote innovative solutions that influence our future life. The award is presented by the TRK with a different topic every year. The emphasis of the NEO 2015 is the topic of health technology. More specifically, innovative solutions in the areas of diagnostics, therapy, rehab, prevention, health support, and telemedicine.

The competition is directed toward all people, academic and other institutions, companies, and clubs that are connected to the TRK, be it through studies or the location of the company. Do you have an innovative business idea in the area of health technology? Then use this opportunity to win € 20,000 and apply by April 27, 2015!

The competition has two stages. After the first round of applications, the jury will make a preselection and invite 10 applicants to hand in a detailed draft. The grand award ceremony will take place on October 13, 2015 at Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH in Baden-Baden.

Innovation – Curse or blessing!?

The crisis is barely over, and the whole country is already calling for innovations. In times of flourishing information technology, a shift in energy, and the question about our future mobility, we definitely can’t do without them. But are innovations truly the panacea for our problems, and does innovation really make it or break it when it comes to success? Continue reading

Part 2: Intuitive creativity techniques – Three examples

My last blog entry began with a brief introduction into the world of creativity techniques. At this point, I would like to present three different intuitive creativity methods.

Bisociation

In 1964, Austro-Hungarian author Arthur Koestler mentioned the theory of bisociation for the first time in his work “The Act of Creation” The meaning is derived from the term “association”. However, it isn’t the linear mental abstraction or link that is in the foreground but rather the connection of aspects of different domains. More specifically, this means that problems are solved by observing two thought dimensions.

In the first stage, participants must (as often happens) become aware of what problem prevails such as a specific issue in product development. Subsequently, a second, completely independent domain, for instance from nature, is determined. From this basis, an association phase begins with the help of stimulus images. This is intended to evoke thoughts, ideas, or feelings in participants. In doing so, it is important to write down the results of the associations. After this, the results are reviewed for analogies that may manifest themselves in the form of joint principles and realizations between the original problem and the association phase. In the end, the analogies must be evaluated and the original domain adapted.

The creativity technique of bisociation is especially useful for problems in the advertising and marketing areas. However, using them also makes sense for technical problems. Strangely enough, humorists also pays attention to bisociation, as a certain comedy may develop through the analogy of two different and independent areas. However, you should schedule a lot of time for the application of the method in both cases.

For further information about the bisociation methodology, visit: http://www.ideenfindung.de/start_english_version.html

Headstand technique

The headstand technique promises a lot of good solutions, because it makes use of a human characteristic: the contradiction of statements! For our intellect, it is easier to find negative aspects for something than to find positive ones. This is where the creativity technique sets in.

You formulate a problem as a question and then make it the opposite. For instance, an automotive manufacturer will ask, “Why are the sales figures of vans decreasing on the home market?” Now turn the question around and ask, “How can I decrease the sales figures of vans on the home market?” You will realize that you will come up with a lot more answers. Possible answers may be (1) higher gasoline consumption, (2) less space, (3) inferior comfort… Then you just turn the answers around: (1) lower gasoline consumption, (2) more space, (3) high-class comfort… and the answers fit to the initial question perfectly.

If you want to find out more about the headstand technique, you can read more here:  http://www.ideenfindung.de/start_english_version.html

6-3-5-method

In the 6-3-5 method, the name says it all. 6 participants must note down 3 ideas, each on a sheet of paper with 3 columns and 6 rows, and pass it on 5 times.

To begin with, each of the six participants jots down three ideas for a problem on a sheet of paper. Then the sheet of paper is passed around to the next person who writes down three new ideas in addition to those of the previous writer and, thus, further develops these ideas. This process is repeated five times so that each of the six participants has noted down three initial ideas and fifteen ideas for development by the end. Calculating this procedure to 30 minutes, you get a maximum of 108 ideas.

This method is similar to the brainwriting technique. However, the quality of the ideas is usually better due to the continuous development. The 6-3-5 method is simple and uncomplicated. It also doesn’t require a mediator.

A detailed description (incl. worksheet) of the 6-5-3 method can be found here:  http://www.ideenfindung.de/6-3-5-Methode-Kreativit%C3%A4tstechnik-Brainstorming-Ideenfindung.html

BMWi starts online learning program for entrepreneurs

BMWi-Lernprogramm_300

Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy / Startup Workshop

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has expanded its offerings for entrepreneurs and those interested. In cooperation with the career network XING, it has developed a free learning program for entrepreneurs.

The online learning program leads you through the most important stages during the startup process and helps you with many issues. For instance, you receive guidance in finding out whether self-employment is a career opportunity for you. In the individual stages, you find useful information, overviews, and other documents to work on. If you are already in the process of a startup, the learning program helps you in developing a business plan, informs you about different legal forms, and shows you what formalities and documents you need as part of a business startup, among other things.

The guide is built in modules so that you can skip directly to those issues that are important to you. We recommend the learning program as a reference tool. For additional information about the topic of founding, we will gladly advise you in person.

EXIST – Higher funding rates for transfer of research

The “EXIST Transfer of Research” is, next to the “EXIST Business Start-Up Grant“, the program “Young Innovators” of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the “Helmholtz Enterprise” program of the Helmholtz Association, one of the major instruments to promote high tech spin-offs from the KIT. Therefore, we are particularly pleased to inform all interested of the new, improved conditions for EXIST Transfer of Research in force since December 9th, 2014.

The most important changes in the new funding guidelines, in particular the changes in relation to the nature, extent and level of funding, are summarized below.

Funding phase I

The funding period is generally up to 18 months. New: For highly innovative and demonstrably particularly time-consuming development projects with the express consent of the expert jury, a funding period of up to 36 months may be granted. For unplanned delays in development of the funding period, this may be extended by up to six months while maintaining the funding volume.

Eligible are:

  • Personnel expenses / costs for a founding team with a maximum of four members – consisting of the research team with three research assistants (or one of them a technician / laboratory assistant) and a person with business administration skills
  • Expenses / costs for student assistants and administrative expenditures / costs are basically eligible up to € 250,000 (previously € 70,000).

Funding phase II

Overall, in funding phase II a non-refundable startup grant of up to € 180,000 (previously € 150,000) is made available to the company. The startup company needs to finance the funding phase II with own funds in the form of equity of the founders and possibly equity in the ratio of 1:3 to the amount of the startup grant. The funding phase II generally does not to exceed a period of 18 months.

You can read detailed information on support by the EXIST business startup grant in the guidelines. For further questions the consultant team of KIT Innovation Management is at your disposal.

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