3 min

Digital Makers Hub Celebrates First Anniversary

A Successful and Active First Year Comes to an End

Digital Makers Hub Celebrates First Anniversary

The Digital Makers Hub coordinated by the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences offers a platform for digital innovation, creativity and intensive interaction between different pioneers and drivers of digital change. The hub provides innovative approaches for small and medium-sized businesses in particular. In the first year of the project, the hub was already involved in approximately 70 events and online formats, thus establishing contacts with 1,800 Digital Makers. Special highlights included the Inspiring Chats on future-oriented digitalisation topics and the first virtual Future Tech Bootcamp.

Digital Corporate Culture

The Digital Makers Hub promotes the exchange and collaboration between small and medium-sized enterprises, leading companies and established research institutions. One main objective is the broad-based establishment of digital corporate cultures that are characterised by new forms of cooperation, intensive networking, communication across sectors and disciplines, open experimenting spaces, and fast innovation cycles.

Together with Zukunftsakademie Mostviertel, Tabakfabrik Linz, the initiative Industry meets Makers, and the initiative SMARTUP located with the St. Pölten UAS, the university established the hub as a platform for exciting formats of open innovation, co-ideation and co-creation in order to build bridges between the new digital tools and business models of the “new economy” on the one hand, and the established processes of the “old economy” on the other.

Inspiring Chats, Future Tech Bootcamp, Morning Talks and Hub Sessions

The first year of the project saw the development of the Inspiring Chats online format: an innovative format used by Digital Makers to discuss ideas. As key personalities, the Digital Makers promote the digital transformation. The Inspiring Chats feature networks of Digital Makers beyond the boundaries of industries, positions, disciplines and generations. Due to their online format, the Chats are accessible for all interested parties.

This expert round of Digital Makers includes managers of leading companies, scientists, developers, students, representatives of startups, inventors, and artists. They exchange views and ideas concerning the digitalisation and the future of work, of the regions, production, education and mobility.

The summer of 2020 also saw the first virtual Future Tech Bootcamp. The Bootcamp was dedicated to developing ideas related to the Internet of Things (IoT), radar technology, renewable energies, and artificial intelligence (AI). The fact that the bootcamp was held exclusively online for the first time allowed for an even stronger connection between the analogue and digital worlds. The approximately 70 participants had 13 Maker Spaces in six Austrian provinces at their disposal during the bootcamp.

Through its Morning Talks, the Zukunftsakademie Mostviertel enabled the networking meetings between SMEs and Makers. 19 so-called Hub Sessions provided the participants with short inputs on current topics in order to set own impulses for innovations and make information available.

Ecosystems for Innovations

“In the past few years, many of the most successful digital innovations were developed in places other than the traditional centres of research, development and innovation. We are seeing a rapid transformation of ecosystems for digital innovations that entails the establishment of creative environments and collaborative methods as well as considerably faster cyclical development processes”, says Hannes Raffaseder, Chief Research and Innovation Officer of the St. Pölten UAS.

Maker Spaces, knowledge alliances and similar initiatives have been created in this environment. The Digital Makers promote the digital transformation with creative ideas and unconventional approaches that are largely independent of institutional interests and therefore flexible and dynamic. In Austria, the Digital Makers have long been a relevant driving force behind (digital) innovations. The Digital Makers Hub strengthens this living and energetic ecosystem, and makes it more visible. It uses networks between the existing ecosystem, the SMEs and the leading enterprises to create important impulses for the establishment of a digital culture in Austria.

Statements on the Digital Makers Hub

“Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we have accomplished so much together in our first year thanks to the successful virtualisation of our most important programme formats, which makes us very happy. The calendar of activities for the second year is already becoming increasingly full, too”, explains Sandra Stromberger from the initiative Industry Meets Makers.

“The current crisis has impressively demonstrated the relevance of digitalisation. In order to take full advantage of the tools of digitalisation, we need networks such as the Digital Makers Hub as drivers, demonstrators and mediators”, adds Chris Müller, Director of Development, Design & Art at Tabakfabrik Linz.

“The Digital Makers Hub brings together companies, experts and developers to come up with innovative solutions together – new digital formats in particular enabled the establishment of broad-based, cross-border networks as early as in the first project year”, says Rosemarie Pichler, Managing Director of Zukunftsakademie Mostviertel.

Presentation at the Long Night of Research

The hub recently presented a “best of” the Inspiring Chats at this year’s Long Night of Research, which took place online due to the coronavirus. Follow this link for a video showing the highlights of the eight chats.

Digital Makers Hub

The Digital Makers Hub is one of three Austrian innovation hubs currently subsidised by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs within the programme “Digital Innovation Hubs in Austria”.

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FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Raffaseder Hannes

FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Hannes Raffaseder

Chief Research and Innovation Officer (CRO and CINO)