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Sustainable ideas

Dare to shape the future

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When I was 14, I took a career quiz that revealed I had the potential to become an entrepreneur. That was my mental lifeline!

Fynn von Kutzschenbach, Entrepreneur

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Things sometimes happen by chance

Something that many newly founded companies have in common is that they aren’t created by one person on their own but through an exchange of ideas with others. And these encounters sometimes happen by chance: Sergey Brin was a student at Stanford University. In summer 1995, he met Larry Page on a tour of the campus, who wanted to talk to him about urban planning. Brin’s first impression was that he was loud and opinionated. He reluctantly let himself get drawn into a conversation. But when they were both studying at the computer science faculty at Stanford, they discovered that they had a common interest in analyzing the world wide web. Their conversations became more frequent and a year later they launched a search engine onto the market called Google that has changed our everyday lives.

This is an extraordinary example but also not a rare one. Many entrepreneurs meet each other at college or university. It also demonstrates that start-ups and their business ideas are often seeking to provide answers to the problems of the time. They carry out pioneering work – even when it comes to finding solutions to major issues related to the climate and sustainability. Year-on-year comparisons show that an increasing number of start-ups in Germany generate added value by focusing on ecological sustainability and social issues. Digitalization is also a powerful lever for young entrepreneurs, their ideas and new business models.

Everything that we do is based on ecological sustainability. It is a basic requirement.

Jürgen Stein, Chief Innovation Officer EnBW

An in-house think tank

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What is an API?

APIs simplify the transfer of data between different systems billions of times per day and act as access points for connecting companies with customers, service providers and employees. They optimize organizational processes and ensure, amongst other things, better process efficiency and shorter response times. Here is an analogy for how APIs can be used in an IT structure: If you build something with Lego, you don’t have to cut the components to size yourself. You simply chose the right brick, it fits perfectly into the existing structure and you can make progress more quickly.

We focus on energy-related themes and that means we have an indirect influence on the Energiewende. This sense of purpose gives me a huge amount of motivation.

Estefania Hofmann, Entrepreneur

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How do start-ups and a large corporation fit together?

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Innovation management at EnBW
Step 1

It doesn’t start with an idea. Innovation management begins with a problem. For example: There are scooters lying on the ground on almost every street corner in our cities and most people are annoyed about it. The starting point is: How can we solve this problem?

Step 2

The next step is to look for a solution to the problem and try it out on lots of people. Let’s stay with our example. We can ask whether this solution helps you as someone who uses the sidewalk? We can knock on the doors of the companies renting out the scooters and ask them whether our idea would be useful to them. If the response is positive, it is clear that we have achieved a problem-product fit.

Step 3

Finally, it is time to examine the market and see if anyone is willing to pay for the solution. If this is the case, we know that we are on the right track. Once you have found one set of customers who are willing to pay for the product, the next step is growth. It is important for the figures to grow month by month. This will prove that the business model is viable and that a spin-off company can be founded one day.

What is your opinion on sustainable themes? We have a few questions and look forward to your answers.

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