At the end of August I travelled to Silicon Valley as part of a delegation trip organized by the state government of Schleswig-Holstein under the leadership of Dirk Schrödter, head of the state chancellery – and flew home very impressed and enthusiastic. Other high-ranking representatives of the state government as well as the city of Kiel, the state parliament faction, the council meeting of the city of Kiel, many universities, the business development agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and the WTSH (Business Development and Technology Transfer), the economy and the initiators of the partnership regions around San Francisco and Kiel participated in the more than 60-member delegation. Star guests were the representatives of 4 start-ups from Kiel.
The innovative power of the Silicon Valley was particularly impressive from close up, which can be attributed to the interaction of university (Stanford University), venture capital and ambitious founders, professionally supported by accelerators that systematically bring the partners together – also with the scouts of large corporations, especially from Germany. Plug and Play is the most successful accelerator. Together all partners are spurred to top performance – a bit like a fever for success. The results are known and can be seen.
The delegation perceived and experienced these mechanisms of action and this culture together. And everyone was enthusiastic and convinced: that’s how similar we can be. A clear commitment to the cooperation of all parties involved, also in Schleswig-Holstein. I am confident that Schleswig-Holstein’s innovative strength – and thus its attractiveness – can be driven forward on the basis of this common spirit: what can everyone contribute to make it a success? A start has been made with the establishment of the Northern Germany Innovation Office in San Francisco, managed by Tim Jöhnk, a young man from Kiel who has been working in Silicon Valley for several years and has an excellent network. The perfectly organized trip was very worthwhile! I’m glad I was there.