"Technology alone is not enough"
Facebook, Twitter and Google are evidence of how technology available
everywhere only becomes valuable when there is a spillover effect from
culture and the creative scenes.
"It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities
that yields us a result, that makes our hearts sing." (Steve Jobs)
Google’s goal “to organize the world's information and make it
universally accessible and useful” is just as unthinkable in unfree,
fear-ridden cultures as Facebook’s mission “to give people the power to
share and make the world more open and connected.” Likewise, in his
famous Stanford speech Steve Jobs emphasized (starting at minute 2:40) the vigorous spillover effect of culture, the humanities and art on Apple.
There are two kinds of spillover effects:
- General spillover effects:
Creativity can be found in virtually every company, but only artists
add the elements of “freedom” and “intrinsic motivation.” Ariane
Berthoin Antal and Anke Strauß report here that 100% of managers who have allowed artistic influences on their work practices are satisfied with the results.
- Culture-specific spillover effects:
In addition to these general spillover effects, which are similar
everywhere, there are other culture-specific ones which can produce
features unique to every country: some countries have a deep-rooted
culture of diligence, others a tradition of technical brilliance, and
in still others the cultural heritage values teamwork, joy in living or
other traits. All of it can turn into economic strengths if one works
at it systematically, and at UNPERFEKTLabs we also try to generate
culture-specific spillover on to product characteristics.
What does this mean for companies in Germany?
In Western cultures a variety of different people work together without
fear, openly and with tolerance, and the possible products are much
less limited than in unfree countries. Just as other cultural circles
live by their strengths, we in the West should allow these cultural traits to flow over into the work practices of our companies and into the characteristics of our products.
Isn’t this all obvious?
The spillover effects specific to Western culture, namely “freedom,
openness, diversity” arise to some degree automatically in any Western
company, which makes it easy to take it for granted. But up to now
there has been at best a casual, unconscious assumption of these
advantages – not to be compared with what would be possible if one
deliberately sought culture-specific spillover effects and then
optimized them: one could have been satisfied with “heating” as the
obvious use for the raw material coal – the idea of powering steam
engines with it was not at all obvious, but rather had to be worked out.
Only by recognizing spillover effects can you really use them / Examples:
And as soon as Western politicians have understood that even our
economic success in the West depends on freedom, openness and
diversity, they will think twice about wanting to limit freedoms,
exploit openness and restrict diversity. Isn’t it fascinating that the
largest companies in the world are suddenly fighting for freedom
because it has become an essential part of their business concept? More...
- If you applied traditional Western values such as
freedom of opinion only to culture, books, newspapers etc., you would
never invent Facebook or Google.
- If you considered diversity only as an important
societal value, you would never come up with the idea of improving
products “Made in Germany” for greater economic success by bringing
migrants into the process.
- If you only thought of hospitals, schools and
universities in terms of high technical standards, you would overlook
the fact that a huge number of clients come because of the free,
- If you only thought that our country might be at risk
again of becoming dangerous and authoritarian, you would never found
Amazon, which analyzes our interests so that it can suggest products to
us which we would never otherwise have considered.
- If you tried to sell vacation houses in southern
Europe or the USA only because of the beautiful location, you would
miss the opportunity to strengthen the local free cultural scene with
just a little money and thereby increase the attractiveness of your
- Banks could make freedom and tolerance the basis of business models - including data havens as a new business unit of Western banks.
Economy minister Garrelt Duin and cultural
minister Ute Schäfer have awarded us the 2nd price in 2014th European
N.I.C.E.-Contest as one of the best spillover-projects between culture
and economy. There was 1 first, 2 second and 1 third price selected out
of 108 applications from 22 countries.
Collaboratively organized help
We are constructing a communication-system through which the helpers and those
needing help come together, and which will work all the better the more
open, tolerant and better a neighborhood is. A spillover of the traits
of our free Western culture to the nursing care sector. First trial
operation in inner-city Essen. More...
What happens if, in the development and market introduction of a
simple door stop, you open yourself up and ask all those who otherwise
are ‘just’ target customers for their opinions, criticism and ideas?
Follow along and learn together with us whether this approach makes
sense even for such simple products. More...
Repair-Cafe, platform for individuals and organizations related to
senior citizen topics as well as an exhibition venue for companies.
What spillover effects are there in the area of “Old&Young”? More
coming soon.. Preliminary information here.
Essen’s Kreuzeskirche has become a location for
culture, private and commercial events (without any religious reference
and even for other faiths) AND at the same time it remains a
Protestant church. “A guest at church” can generate spillover effects
from Western culture on to gastronomy, events... more...
Successes so far
Linuxhotel, Unperfekthaus and GenerationenKult-Haus are all based on these spillover-effects and techniques.
of yesteryear had to think about which products would be possible using
the new raw material “coal.” Anyone who had only considered the “oven”
missed the mega-business to be achieved with steam engines, trains,….
It’s no different with what our Western culture offers us today as “raw
materials”: today’s opportunities are just as easy to miss as was the
path from coal as an article of combustion to coal as a fuel for steam
We need to think about how we in Western countries can make use of the
raw material “freedom, openness, diversity.” Just as then a lot of what
we now consider absurd technical ideas were proposed, we too need to
experiment in areas where the culture-specific spillover is not at all
obvious. Because you never know from what unexpected corner ideas might
UNPERFEKTLabs makes use of an ideal, already existing environment to achieve this
The creative quarter Essen-City and its Unperfekthaus
– together with over 1000 artists, founders, scientists, entrepreneurs
and organizations from 18 countries at last count. All are pursuing
their projects independently within 5000 squaremeters of space, but all
of them are also open to interested parties and cooperative efforts.
The house is one enormous creative network. 5.3 million inhabitants and
companies of the Ruhr district are just 30 minutes from us, enjoy our
restaurant, hold private and company celebrations, seminars, house
guests in our luxurious hotel,
use our workshop spaces, stages,…. In short: they all ensure that a
constant flow of the most diverse influences affects what goes on. Just
the right thing not only for the many companies, individuals and
organizations who are active with us, but also for the UNPERFEKTLabs!
The Unperfekthaus itself has won numerous awards: Culture Prize of the
non-profit Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft, the “Mustard Seed Award” of
the Catholic Church, NiBB Innovation Prize ,...
Companies, startups, organizations, individuals,... can all benefit
One of the critical missions for us as UNPERFEKTLabs initiator and
moderator will be to ensure that EVERYONE reaps tangible benefits from
the projects. Spillover and co-creation effects should run in all
directions – not only from culture and the creative scene to companies,
but also the reverse, and always including the non-profit sector and
- The company that introduces a project aspires to economic benefit.
- Startups and artists seek contact, receive frequent orders and find economic opportunities within the context of the project.
- Non-profits, as part of project backing, get to
demonstrate their expertise, which encourages sponsoring and donations
on the part of the participating companies.
- Individuals who are engaged strictly for the cause
have an opportunity to introduce their ideas in the creation process of
projects which otherwise take place out of sight and inaccessible.
|Generate culture-specific spillover effects from the West.
In the UNPERFEKTLabs we transfuse “Freedom, Openness, Diversity” into
business processes and products in order to make them more economically
successful and to avoid competition from less free low-wage countries.
Apply co-creation processes,
as done successfully for years by Harley Davidson, Scion car
dealerships, Apple, Cisco, Goldcorp, Starbucks, Dell Computer.... – see here how Google is developing their new glasses together with first-time users....
Participate for your own sake!
Get in touch with us
if you would like to introduce a project or be included on the advisory
committee of a project. Or if you have a personal interest in the issue
or in contact with the initiators, or because you anticipate the
economic advantages from the outcome. UNPERFEKTLabs projects are
intended to provide an abundance of opportunities not only for
companies, but also for startups or organizations.