Good Ideas Overcome the Crisis

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German Innovation Price 2010 report from the Wirtschaftswoche, 03.05.2010 Nr. 18 (pages 95- 98) treat caries without drilling, measuring instruments against food pisons and cooling shirts: with which ideas the winners and finalists cleared the last hurdle of the German Innovation Price 2010. Times of crisis are times for innovation. While orders where missing, seemingly secure markets vanished and unexpected competitors appeared, many companies bethought of what mades them big: innovations. Many increased their research budgets. "But as soon as the crisis is gone, innovation loose its meaning on the perseption radar of managers", sais Bernd Kriegesmann of the institute for applied innovation research at the Ruhr-university in Bochum. Yet successful companies are united by the fact that innovation belongs to their identity. New ideas, business models and products are meticulously planned development and hard work for them. This support the stories of the winners and finallists of the German Innovation Price, which is organized by the Wirtschaftswoche together with Accenture, the energy supplier EnBW and the conglomerate Evonik. It took nearly a decade until Schott managed to convert all glass melts for ceramic hobs to a production without toxic heavy metals. The reward: Today the glas cermic of Mainz is the standard for a whole branche. Also the employees of the prosthetics producer DMG from Hamburg how they can treat caries with a liquid - without drilling. The solution they found already takes away the fear of visitings a denstist of thousands of patients - only a year after the new technique lauches the market. The examples also show how important it is, "to use new developments and techniques so that market-ready solutions arise from them", sais Frank Riemensperger, Germany-CEO of Accenture and jury member of the German Innovation Price. Winner Startup: Wellness-Fibers Solve Contradictions

Smartfiber for the first time produces functional fibers of natural ressources. This results in cooling shirts and antibacterial socks.


he last meters to the top. The feet are running hot. Trousers and shirt stick on the skin. Smartfiber-CEO Michael Kohne knows that: In his spare time her likes to climb on mountains. Therefore one of the newest achivements of his company expecially lies at his heart: Since 2008 smarfiber out of Rudolstadt near Erfurt produces the thermo fiber smartcel cllima. From this clothing may ba produces that cools climbers during summer and warms skiers during winter. The fabrics with cellulose from scandinavian trees are produced environmentally friendly and resource saving. "The raw material for our products could even be eaten," sais Kohne, who aims at a turnover of five million euro for this year.

funktional fibers of plant based cellulose For many years outdoor outfits mainly consisted of synthetic fibers. Sometimes they even were covered with harmful chemicals to resist wind and weathe. Yet the producers of outdoor products have a target group, that "wants to live lastingly and above all healthy", sais Klaus Engel, CEO of the chemistry giant Evonik from Essen and member of the jury of the German Innovation Price. "Synthetic fibers are a contradiction to that." This contradiction is solved by smartfiber. For the company combines natural fibers with intelligent functions. For the smartfiber became awarded with the first place od the German Innovation Price in the catagory Startup: "smartfiber was the first to produce functional fibers of plant based cellulose", sais jury member Engel. "It is a unique innovation with high market potential, because it serves two mega trends: resource effinciency and wellness." The word is spreading: the German brand Bogner plans a winter collection with the smartfiber-fiber. By now also beddings, sports underwear and socks are tailored from the fabrics as well as golf pants and protective clothes from Hiltl. 1,2 tons of fibers per day The temperature regulating textiles function according to an easy principle: The celllulose fibers are saturated with wax, which melts above 25 degrees celsius. During this it absorbes heat from the environment, for examle from the skin. As soon as the body cools the melted wax re-emits its heat. Nearly 1,2 tons of fibers are produced by smartfiber evrey day. Everything is imediately reselled: The company estimates, that 2010 the turnover only with this product will imore than double compared to the previous year. This would correspond to 2,4 millionen Euro and be great success - particularly if one considers, that the researchers from the Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research TITK in Rudolstadt had the idea for the wax saturated natural fiber only two years ago. Due to the cooperation with the think tank TITK smartfiber comes to circa two innovations per year. Only in November Kohne presented its customers a fiber with pharma class 4 zinc oxide namd smartcel sensitive. Zinc fastens the wound healing and soothes irritated skin. By now the product is woven in baby and kids clothing, underwear, t-shirts, bathrobes and bed linens. And in Kohne's head already new product ideas are floating around: For example a fiber with cream for skin care or sun protection. One could make summerclothing out of that. Some kind of cosmetical dress? Kohne smiles: "Women will love that." german PDF-Version of the article  



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