"Technology alone is not enough"

Apple, 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  • 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, tolerant environment.
  • 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 properties.
  • Banks could make freedom and tolerance the basis of business models - including data havens as a new business unit of Western banks.
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...


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.

Current Projects

leichtR logo

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...


Door stop

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.


Entrepreneurs 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 engines.

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 come!

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 private individuals:
  • 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.

Logo UnperfekthausUNPERFEKTLabs is a branch of the
Unperfekthaus Reinhard Wiesemann Prop.
Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 18, 45127 Essen-City
Tel. 0201-84735-0, info@unperfekthaus.de
UStID DE 180305557

Diese Webseite verwendet Cookies, um Inhalte und Dienste bereitzustellen. Mit der Nutzung erklären Sie sich damit einverstanden, dass wir Cookies verwenden.    weitere Infos