Series of events Dialogue Forum for the exchange between HFT Stuttgart and the public utilities of the region within the framework of the innovation laboratory M4_LAB successfully started.
On April 11, 2019, the starting signal for the series "Dialogue Forum Region Stuttgart" was given in the historic building of the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences. The series of events is conceived and organised within the framework of the innovation laboratory M4_LAB - a cooperation between the HFT Stuttgart and the Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH in the funding line Innovative University. The first event was dedicated to the regional public utilities and their strategic, digital, personnel and agile orientation for the future. The German public utilities enjoy a very good reputation. Although they are firmly anchored locally and close to their customers, they will continue to face numerous opportunities and challenges in 2019, such as the continuing turnaround in electricity, heat and transport, the shortage of skilled workers, digitization and new working environments.
With its professors, the University of Applied Sciences offers an excellent pool of experts who have specialized in precisely these areas. They can provide answers to questions such as: "How can regional companies such as public utilities face this change and strengthen themselves from within through strategies and organisational measures?" Two moderated workshop and discussion rounds took place in the circle of 10 decision makers of the regional public utilities, Dr. Taj Kanga from the Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH and the team of the M4_LAB. After the welcome by Prof. Dr. Ursula Eicker and a short introduction round, the participants were divided into two teams so that they could take part in both workshop rounds. In the first workshop on "Strategy and Digitisation", moderated by Prof. Dr. Bastian Schröter and Prof. Dr. Patrick Planing, the question was discussed of the challenges facing municipal utilities in times of great change and what role digitisation in particular will play in this context. They presented what municipal utilities can realistically achieve and how they could design and implement business models such as electromobility, renewable energies or neighbourhood concepts, as well as what possibilities there are to advance the digitalisation of municipal utilities strategically and securely. The second workshop, moderated by Prof. Dr. Doreen Appelt and Prof. Dr. Patrick Müller, was dedicated to the topic "Agile Organization and Human Resources". Especially the topic "Agility" met with great interest and many questions occupied the participants. For example: "How much agility is suitable and tolerable for municipal utilities at all? In which business areas can an agile way of working have positive effects, where might it not work?" It became clear that many municipal utilities are facing the same challenges and would definitely like to have more exchange on these topics.
Within the framework of the Innovative University, the transfer of knowledge from the HFT Stuttgart to society will be further expanded. The Dialogue Forum Region Stuttgart offers a suitable platform to promote precisely this transfer and exchange of knowledge between experts and interested parties. The First Dialogue Forum on the subject of the Stuttgart Region Utilities gave the appropriate starting signal. During a joint culinary refreshment after the event, it was already clear during the networking and in the conclusion that important impulses could be set and that the choice of topics should be further deepened. The next event in the series Dialogforum Region Stuttgart in autumn 2019 on the subject of neighbourhood development is currently being planned.
Janina Adamo-Bornowski (Janina.Adamo-Bornowski@hft-stuttgart.de)