Last Thursday, we held the EU-InnovatE Research Fest @ TUM to celebrate the end of our large-scale European project also locally at the leading institution. Here, we brought together more than 60 scholars and students, as well as two partners from practice, to spread the word about our project and exciting results about sustainable lifestyles, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Europe.
The welcome was held by the dean of the TUM School of Management, Prof. Gunther Friedl, who introduced the triple bottom line of sustainability (economic social, and ecological) and the importance of technologies to achieve a sustainable future in Europe. In this regard, he highlighted how the EU-InnovatE project nicely reflected the mission statement of TUM to solve grand societal challenges by working at the intersection of business and technology. Afterwards, Prof. Frank-Martin Belz introduced some of the numerous case studies we have been working with (including SomEnergia, Food Assembly, and Noem) and outlined some key findings of our project (including the power of users in sustainability transitions and a process model of sustainable entrepreneurship). Prof. Belz closed his talk with a vision for an ecosystem for sustainable entrepreneurship in the future, consisting of Technische Universität München, UnternehmerTUM & Makerspace, the TUM Center of Life Sciences and Management, and the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award.
After a networking break, we welcomed two of our project partners from practice to hold guest speeches. First, Dr. Jens Ramsbrock – Project and Innovation Manager at BMW – gave a talk about electric driving and electrical energy storage. He provided interesting information on their pilot projects of electrical driving with end-user involvement. In addition, he gave some highly interesting and novel insights into how BMW is involved in developing innovative energy storage system solutions and the “second life” of batteries, e.g. repurposing batteries into a stationary solar-powered electric storage system. Second, we welcomed Jakob Assmann – co-founder and CEO of Polarstern – who is a prime example of a sustainable innovator and entrepreneur. Together with his co-founders, he developed a venture that offers sustainable energy (green electricity and gas produced from organic waste). Furthermore, for every new customer they acquire, the venture donates money to families in Cambodia to be invested in their own biogas plants. Through their business model, they aim at achieving a holistic and global energy turnaround towards more sustainability.
Afterwards, we jointly celebrated the successful completion of our project EU-InnovatE and made new, important contacts regarding future projects. Thank you to everyone who contributed to and participated in this wonderful event!