Inventing the future with INNOspace Weekend

10 October 2017

The first INNOspace Weekend was a great success. 65 participants attended from over 17 countries and a mix of backgrounds. For many, this cultural and interdisciplinary diversity contributed to the success of the event and to the development of many innovative and groundbreaking business ideas.

INNOspace Weekend, a new event hosted by the DLR Space Administration in the course of the INNOspace initiative is a 3-day intensive weekend of activities where aspiring entrepreneurs could unlock their creative potential, invent the future and build a startup in just 60 hours. The high-energy and dynamic event provides participants with the tools they need to incubate their own startup idea.

Amongst the notable guests who participated personally were Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker; Dr Gerd Gruppe, Head of DLR Space Administration; and Dr Michael Scharnberg of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Keynote, Dr Mario Herger spoke about the Silicon Valley mindset and what we can learn from the masters of innovation.

Notable guests at the first INNOspace Weekend.
Left to right: Dr Franziska Zeitler, Head of Department of Innovation & New Markets, DLR Space Administration; Dr Michael Scharnberg, Regierungsdirektor, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi); Henriette Reker, Oberbürgermeisterin Köln (Mayor of Cologne); Dr Gerd Gruppe, Head of DLR Space Administration; Andreas Kriechbaumer, Innovation; New Markets, DLR Space Administration
Credit: Design & Data GmbH/DLR Space Administration

The participants later got close insights into the current developments and future trends of each of the automotive, space and logistics sectors through an interactive tour. This was followed by a short workshop where the participants exchanged with selected experts on five trending topics of each sector.

On Friday afternoon, Angeliki Kapoglou introduced the design thinking process – an approach to creative innovation. The participants used the observations and insights they gathered from the tour to define key problems to solve based on the real needs they identified instead of assumptions about these industries. They started to shape their solution to form an idea they could pitch later that evening.

Design thinking workshop. Credit: Design & Data GmbH/DLR Space Administration

40+ business ideas were pitched in total, from which 10 business concepts were generated and presented to the judging panel. All of the teams enjoyed the creative atmosphere in Solution Space and some even worked through the night to refine their business models.

Pitching of startup ideas.
Design thinking workshop. Credit: Design & Data GmbH/DLR Space Administration

First prize was won by the team Streety whose idea is to use earth observation data from satellites for more up-to-date maps. A pattern-recognition algorithm will compare pictures from different days to detected changes in the road system and provide these updates to navigation companies. As the overall winner team Streety won a 1000€ travel voucher to a space/startup event of their choice, consultancy interview with ESA BIC Darmstadt and Airbus Bizlab in Hamburg, a visit to Airbus’s space facilities in Bremen and a company branding package by Design & Data GmbH.

Winning teams of the 1st INNOspace Weekend.
Credit: Design& Data GmbH/DLR Space Administration

For further information on the prize winners please see our press release:

Additionally you can gain an overview of the social media impressions of the event with the hashtag #INNOspaceWeekend and view the highlights of the event we recorded as a livestream below.