Suits in a construction site – Deutsche Bank, Shell, Google and Factory host two-day innovation summit in Berlin

Simon Schaefer and Sven Kielgas
Simon Schaefer and Sven Kielgas

Simon Schaefer and Sven Kielgas

Take 34 high-level executives, researchers, entrepreneurs and art experts, put them in an unfinished building in Berlin for two days and what do you get? A ten-point charter to boost innovation in Germany and a few concrete suggestions, including a matchmaking platform for startup financing and a new copyright for digital content.

The event took place as part of the Berlin Innovation ConSensus, a community-sourced project backed by Deutsche Bank, Shell, Google and under-construction tech hub Factory. It started in June with an open call for submissions. Last weekend, a hand-picked group of experts met at Factory to distill the suggestions into a charter, presented on Sunday to Germany’s State Secretary for Economics and Technology Anne Ruth Herkes.

A new way to match ideas and financing

One new initiative has already come out of it. Deutsche Bank Berlin, Factory, the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, creative project platform Jovoto and advisory firm Osborne & Partners will meet after the event to figure out a way to better connect banks, business angels, VCs and crowdfunding platforms in Germany.

“We’ve decided to get together and collect what each of us can do in terms of financing, for example for which period or lifecycle of a company, and find out what, in the end, we can already today offer as a group,” Deutsche Bank’s regional managing director Harald Eisenach said on Sunday.

“That helps me if I’m contacted and I can’t do anything, that I know somebody who might be better positioned. Maybe we develop, from that, a platform where we can do matchmaking between demand and offers in Berlin easier than today.”

Berlin Geekettes and Iversity among “lighthouse” projects

The experts also decided on several “lighthouse” projects for innovation in Germany. Selected projects include Berlin Geekettes, online education platform iversity, Zimory’s upcoming cloud computing trading platform, and seniors’ exchange programme Granny Aupair. While the projects won’t get funding as a direct result, they do now have exposure and the possibility of further support from the Innovation ConSensus network.

Other proposals include a new “reorganised” copyright for digital content, especially for artistic works – a hot topic in Germany. Google subsidiary YouTube is still involved in a legal battle with German rights collection society GEMA over royalties for music videos.

The experts invited to last week’s summit included high-level professionals from Deutsche Bank, Shell, Google, Deutsche Telekom, SAP, Hewlett-Packard and Coca-Cola, Humboldt Institute director Thomas Schildhauer, art collector Christian Boros, artist Olaf Nicolai, opera director Julia Riegel and the founders of startups, Jovato and Tollabox.

The Innovation ConSensus project will publish a full report in October and is expected to follow-up with whichever government wins Germany’s federal election later this month.

Image credit: Factory founder Simon Schaefer and Innovation ConSensus co-curater Sven Kielgas via Innovation ConSensus 2013

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