The recently founded innovator space e.V. aims to create an open space for the topic of digitalization. The plan is for a kind of open-lab and network that makes it possible to courageously tackle visions and create new companies. The innovator space should also serve as an area for getting the rest of society on board and breaking down their reservations. The association will be located at Münchner Freiheit 7 until the end of March. We spoke with association’s Managing Director Vinzent Ellissen.
Vinzent, you and seven additional entrepreneurs came together to found an association, innovator space e.V. — what is your objective?
We want to unite innovative minds across disciplines, regardless of their profession, university or employer. And it should exclude individual interests while being as transparent as possible to create a solid foundation of trust for everyone involved.
We hope that doing so will make a constructive contribution to solving current and future challenges in our societies while also strengthening our local economy.
Germany needs to be more open to making mistakes and show more curiosity
Why even create the whole thing?
We are all involved with digitalization and view its developments with some concern. While we missed out on the first wave of digitalization here in Europe, we now run the risk of not paddling up fast enough to catch the next wave and ride it successfully.
In Germany, we are in urgent need of a culture that is more open to innovation and change in people’s minds. We also need to be more accepting of “mistakes,” which would then give us more courage to try something new with genuine curiosity or to at least support it constructively. From the realm of politics, we also expect more courage to look in more visionary directions.
“Being able to scale where you are – we need to guarantee that!”
Failure should also not be due to a lack of funds in the end. It is imperative to secure more capital from private individuals, companies and the government to allow companies to scale where they are. The alternative is losing them, one after another, to countries that are more likely to invest. The marketplace is most often global these days — whether we like it or not.
However, this insight has not sunk in with everyone. If our project can generate stimuli to get our surf board going a bit faster and increase our chances of successfully riding the next wave, then we will have achieved quite a lot. In the end, we want our own lives and also those of the following generations — according to our values — to remain worth living.
That requires stability in the economy, stability in society and stability in the environment — and that is where innovator space e.V. also aims to make its contribution.
How do you plan to get innovation out on the streets and public in concrete terms?
There are already so many super initiatives in Munich. Yet from our point of view, many of them have relatively high barriers to entry — either because they are “too far out there,” or because the local culture is “not that pronounced yet,” or because they are closed rooms on floor X of some building.
“Make innovation approachable”
Our vision is to create a space where people also like to spend their time off, to have a beer in the evening, for example. A space that is easy to reach both day and night. A space that involves as little “commuting” as possible for most of our target group. A space that does not close off, but instead opens up.
The innovations and particularly the people behind them should be approachable. That makes it possible to actually take the rest of the population along with us into the digitalized future with all of its advantages and possible disadvantages.
(Almost) every event is welcome
How exactly are you planning to use your current innovator space until the end of March?
We plan to use the space for networking events, presentations, meetups, discussions, workshops, hackathons, exhibitions and experience labs. In short: any event that supports the aim of our association is welcome here. Based on our own experience, we feel certain that potential only develops when the right people meet up, get to know one another and learn to trust each other.
We welcome any type of cooperation that brings innovators from SMEs and the industrial sector together in one space. We think it’s high time to make a daily effort to leverage the current (is it still there?) potential of our location to benefit both our own society and global society as well.
In concrete terms: establish cooperative projects and products
In addition to events, some initial teams are starting to form that are expected to develop different products during the time period. A couple of them are aiming to reduce the hurdles faced by innovators and startups even further. What comes to mind are things like “open-sourcing standard contracts” such as shareholders’ agreements, NDAs or investment contracts. Or also on “outsourcing all kinds of bureaucratic overhead” such as financial accounting, taxes, notaries, company registration or payroll accounting for a price that could be unbeatable thanks to economies of scale.
Proof of concept by the end of March
Let’s assume your concept catches on – what happens after 31 March?
Our concept is currently in the proof of concept stage, meaning it’s a kind of experiment. In the next two months, we want to find out if there is actually a need for this kind of project. We firmly believe that it depends on whether there is an actual need in the end and on whether we started the project at the right point in time. Of course it also depends on whether we as a team are able to invest the strength necessary to implement it on a voluntary basis.
If it works, we will definitely expand the concept — with particular emphasis on increased integration of partners from the world of business, academics and politics to keep the project stable over the long term. At the moment, we are pleased to welcome anyone who is able to contribute something, wants to get involved and support our purpose.
Last but not least: what does Munich mean to you?
We all love Munich — otherwise we wouldn’t a) live here or b) invest the amount of energy we do in the project, which should also strengthen our city.
For me personally, Munich means home, friends and family, security, Bavarian tradition and on the whole an awesome quality of life! Let’s keep it this way or even make it better!
Thank you Vinzent for such an open interview!
If you would like to learn more about innovator space and the association, you should stop by the opening event on 31 January — or visit one of the many events that follow.