Common Ground Wins

The InnovationSPIN as a living idea of cooperation for the
challenges in the East Westphalia-Lippe region

Ostwestfalen-Lippe lebt seit vielen Jahren das Prinzip des gemeinsamen Handelns und der gegenseitigen Unterstützung. Das beginnt bereits mit der Varus Schlacht und setzt sich auch heute weiter fort.

The region with its diverse history was particularly thriving on the textile and furniture industries in the 19th and 20th centuries and had to reinvent itself since the 1980s - just like the Ruhr area. That is why the networking of various institutions and organizations in OWL is still a tradition today. As early as 1993, the OWL GmbH was founded. It is an important platform for cooperation in the region.

The idea of regional networking then also moved the minds of the city, district, (vocational) schools and university at the Lemgo site in Lippe - a district with rural structures and an attractive educational and scientific landscape.

Markus Baier, mayor of the Old Hanseatic City of Lemgo, recalls: „In 2016, we developed a master plan for the campus with the involvement of all stakeholders locally and also in the region to create a center for new impulses here and to give space to the idea of networking. We wanted to counteract the typical dichotomy of ‚university‘ and ‚city‘.“

Markus Baier

This resulted in the first spatial overall plan for the Innovation Campus Lemgo, which has since then been continuously developed and implemented in concrete terms, and which also attracts many interested parties from business, education and research.
In 2017, it was obvious that the REGIONALE 2022 would come to OWL. Under the heading „UrbanLand,“ the goal is to use the NRW structural development program to strengthen the equivalence of living conditions in cities and rural areas through innovative and model projects. They are intended to provide answers to the question of how we want to live, reside, work, get around and organize our leisure time in the future.
Naturally, those responsible in the Lippe district also began to think about projects within the framework of the REGIONALE. The OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lippe Bildung eG and the Paderborn-Lippe District Association of Skilled Crafts all had some project ideas. Four project outlines were already on the table.

Prof. Stefan Witte

„During a conversation, we realized that our projects had a similar thrust,“ recalls Prof. Stefan Witte from the Executive Board of the OWL University. „We were interested in rethinking education and cross-institutional research.“

For Michael Lutter, chief executive of the Paderborn-Lippe District Association of Skilled Crafts, it was obvious: „We quickly realized that we were still thinking too small. Something new with more dynamism and greater networking would be good for the region.“ No sooner said than done: what was the first idea at the end of 2018, the three sponsors put directly into action.

Michael Lutter
Markus Rempe

„At the beginning of 2019, we constituted the project team and just a few months later, the basic framework of the InnovationSPIN was in place,“ Markus Rempe, Chairman of the Board of Lippe Bildung eG, is pleased with the effective work of the team.

The wording of the application and the submission of the project to the Regionale 2022 followed on its heels. The idea of creating a common space for training and education, entrepreneurship and applied research was well received. The UrbanLand Board, as the decision-making body for the REGIONALE 2022, awarded the forward-looking project A status in 2019. The REGIONALE project is funded with more than 41 million euros.

Annette Nothnagel, manager of the REGIONALE 2022, commented: „Crafts, universities and vocational training are jointly building a house in which trainees and students will then work together on key issues for the future. This makes the InnovationSPIN next practice for the question of how research and learning across training courses can lay the foundation for innovations in SMEs - and not just in East Westphalia-Lippe.“

Annette Nothnagel

The goals of the InnovationSPIN are versatile. The district crafts association is committed to making its 2,400 member companies fit for digitization in the skilled trades. At the same time, the involvement of Lippe Bildung eG offers numerous people a gateway to education on sustainable and equal terms.
And the OWL University, with its applied research, sees itself as an active partner for the region and the economy. This creates interactions in education, training and research that specifically require and promote cooperation.

Dr. Axel Lehmann

„At the InnovationSPIN, learning and research are linked and can thus be experienced first-hand. This constellation is forward-looking for the education (and training) and the retention of skilled workers for our region and the establishment of new pioneering companies,“ emphasizes District Chief Executive Dr. Axel Lehmann from the district of Lippe.
In September 2022, the InnovationSPIN will be inaugurated and put into operation on the campus premises of the TH OWL in Lemgo.

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