The date: November 4, 2019. The time: 11:00 a.m. The location: the German Football Museum, at the heart of the venue for “Digitale Woche Dortmund” (#diwodo). This specialist IT festival, which is blossoming in many different ways, is being staged here for the third year running. Everything is getting faster – including the Internet and, consequently, digital processes. These days, we make new contacts and friends across the globe, and our networks are becoming increasingly complex. Initiated by companies in the IT sector, #diwodo has seen meteoric growth and comprises 120 events in 2019. This is where new players and new teams get to know each other.
What better location for the #diwodo kick-off event than Dortmund’s Football Museum, that symbol of successful teamwork? Dortmund has played a pioneering role not only in soccer, but also in technology. The first software company was established in the city in 1957, and it has been possible to study computer science here since 1972. Thomas Westphal of the Economic Development Corporation Dortmund came up with #diwodo’s slogan: “IT’s coming home.”
As Kai Bünseler from the Economic Development Corporation Dortmund put it on the opening day: “Digitization brings us closer together if we're not afraid of it – and if we treat each other properly.” In other words, like good players in a fair match. During “Digitale Woche”, Dortmund provides practical examples of this kind of fair and friendly interplay aimed at shared success.
The masterful timing of preparations at the German Football Museum for the #diwodo kick-off created an upbeat mood. The stage design, featuring a reception room and the entrepreneur showroom, was rapidly put into place. There was a tangible sense of anticipation and excitement in the run-up to the event. A team that lets everyone play their part – that’s the hallmark of Dortmund’s approach.
The KPS employees likewise rapidly got off to an ideal start in the showroom. The 3D printer and the coffee were ready at the same time: At the festival kick-off, Florian Reimann and Jan Blumbach from KPS presented one detail from “Machine prints e-commerce”. Thanks to modified software, a 3D printer adorned business cards with the #diwodo logo. The entire showcase was on display at the KPS Design Center in Dortmund on November 5 and 7.
E-Commerce and additive manufacturing were the keywords in KPS’s showcase, with an additional focus on the megatrends of sustainability and customization. We asked ourselves the question: What can on-demand production look like in practice?
First, we place an order online: Our product is to be produced in accordance with our wishes. In our showcase, a spare part (here, a gear for a cordless screwdriver) is ordered online for a purchased product. The data of the desired component is sent to the machine, triggering printing in the 3D printer. Images from production are relayed to us in real time, for example via chatbot. Finally, we see a notification that production and staging for dispatch are complete, or we’re invited to pick up the product. It’s conceivable that 3D-printer farms will manufacture products in much the same way as the photos we order are printed today. This could soon become standard practice.
The major benefit: If a component in a product is damaged, it can easily be replaced and the product repaired. This promotes sustainability by extending the useful life of products.
Take the following example of a startup from the fashion sector: Patterns personalized by the customer are manufactured on demand. The data is sent to the machines, and the garment is produced. A unique item made on demand, which does not consume resources unnecessarily, and which also expresses our individuality – this demonstrates a new entrepreneurial approach. The sale in the conventional sense is no longer necessary. And in this case, production takes place on demand.
Florian Reimann believes that every employee has skills they cannot always exploit to the full in their day-to-day work. Smart homes, VR, and 3D printing are all issues that employees engage with in their free time. The Innovation Campus offers staff the creative scope to contribute their ideas and expertise. These ideas are supported by the Discover, Develop, and Deliver methodology, enabling them to be developed into demonstrable results.
Dortmund is “The Most Digital City”: Dortmund was honored with the “Lebendige Stadt” Foundation’s award for “The Most Digital City” in 2018. When it comes to the digital economy, the Ruhr area is developing rapidly. Dortmund stands out thanks to its IT service providers and digital-savvy production sector. Jan Blumbach, Principle at KPS, regards the city as a first-class location for the qualified management consultancy. Creatives and the IT scene provide scope for interdisciplinary interplay of the kind seen at #diwodo19.