28 February 2022 - New horizons for it's OWL: Sustainable value creation through intelligent systems

Event 'Horizons it's OWL'

The cooperation between business and science in the it's OWL Leading-Edge Cluster is a model of success. At the digital event 'Horizons it's OWL', more than 130 representatives from companies and research institutions discussed perspectives for future work on 22 February. Sustainability and climate protection are seen as the next big challenge. With their competences in the areas of digitalisation and AI, the stakeholders want to further develop OstWestfalenLippe as a model region for sustainable value creation. Jürgen Gausemeier handed over the chairmanship of the cluster board to Dr Stefan Breit after ten years.

The leading-edge cluster it's OWL is doing well. "With over 200 members and around 30 projects worth 120 million euros, it's OWL has developed excellently in recent years. The financing of the cluster management by the state and the members is secured for another four years," says it's OWL Managing Director Günter Korder with satisfaction.

it's OWL has set national standards in the field of AI and is characterised by excellent transfer to SMEs, adds Managing Director Prof. Dr. Roman Dumitrescu. "We have implemented over 100 transfer projects with a project volume of around 2 million euros. And with our innovation platform, our companies and research institutions will soon be able to access results and applications easily and network quickly," says Dumitrescu.

"It has been an honour to serve the region".

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gausemeier handed over the chairmanship of the it's OWL cluster board to Miele CEO Dr. Stefan Breit after ten years. "We have developed a bold vision for the region and made it's OWL a pioneer for Industry 4.0," said Gausemeier, taking positive stock. "I was very impressed by the team spirit on the Cluster Board. I had the privilege of working with excellent minds and creating something great. It has been an honour to serve the region," says Gausemeier.

Breit sees climate protection and sustainability as the next big challenges for the industry. This was confirmed by 95 percent of the participants at the event. In 2030, sustainability and corporate success will be one and the same, the Miele CEO is certain. "For Miele, sustainability is one of four pillars of the company's strategic orientation. In Miele's sustainability programme, more than 100 employees are already working in seven fields of action, e.g. climate neutrality, circularity, packaging and efficiency."

Model region for sustainable value creation

High savings potentials result from consistent digitalisation. "We want to leverage this potential at it's OWL and further develop OWL as a model region for sustainable value creation with intelligent technical systems. To do this, we need to build up new competencies and enter into cooperations."

One important partner, for example, is the Wuppertal Institute. Head of Department Dr Holger Berg points out points of contact and challenges: "An integration of sustainability data into the digital twin helps, for example, to develop climate-friendly products. Circular value creation models are one of the biggest challenges so far."

The participants underline the need for action. Only 50 per cent have already initiated or planned sustainability projects in their organisations. They see starting points for improvement in numerous topic areas, such as platforms for sustainable supply chains (53%), transformability in the product life cycle (47%) and digital ecological twin (46%).

Success model for cooperation

Jörg Timmermann, Managing Director of Kraft Maschinenbau, sees good conditions for developing practical solutions for SMEs in these areas. "We have committed players in the research institutions, universities and companies. Under the coordination of the cluster management, we can combine these forces and achieve great effects."  Prof. Dr. Rene Fahr, Vice President of the University of Paderborn, underlines this: "Transfer is becoming more important in all universities. With a new transfer strategy, the University of Paderborn will further expand its activities for SMEs and intensify transfer in the Leading-Edge Cluster together with the other universities from OWL."

To this end, it's OWL has already established numerous good offers that are in high demand among companies, research institutions and networks. According to the participants, innovation projects (86%), exchange of experience (74%) and transfer projects (54%) are seen as the most important formats. The personal exchange in the network is to be intensified again from April in numerous presence formats.