Dr. Wilhelm W. Zörgiebel: Traditional and modern spirits – Tech­­nology centres in innovative competition

Today Dresden creates attraction from a multilayered connection of culture, in­­dustry and education. The economy and science of the city profit from living tra­­ditions which go back far into the past.


For further development, it is decisive to get creative potentials – people and institutions – to communicate so well with each other that new ideas are continually created: ideas, research issues, knowledge, products and co-operation – innovations. These new ideas will then not only be echoed in the scientific world and in competitive advantages, but also in research and education, art and culture, because innovations are not only restricted to technologies and market success.

Thereby, technology and foundation centres play a significant role as places in which knowledge and communication find a productive breeding ground. What distinguishes these locations? Which special characteristics should real estate – a building or a location – offer in order to be attractive for knowledge-intensive organizations and their employees? How can real estate and its management create added value for them?
A hundred years ago, Hellerau was built on the edge of Dresden, founded on the garden cities concept to unite working, living, education and nature. Today, with the growth of the knowledge economy, high-tech organisations settle there. Using the example of Gebäude­­En­­sem­­­­ble­­ Deutsche Werkstätten Hell­­erau, it be­­comes clear: Letting, gastronomy and event management in a technology-oriented environment do not function as real estate management in the classical sense.


Why? Successful ideas, business models and organizations first grow in the minds of people. They only obtain strength in exchange with others and patient work at “real” lively locations.
Although the advantages of digitalization are obvious: Distances are shrinking. People are moving together. Business is becoming faster. Costs are sinking. To­­day, business trips are by far not the only means to work with other people on projects and to keep updated. However, a good business location is more than a thick roof over a creative head with fast internet connections and caretaker service.
A entrepreneurial managed technology centre as a location for technology-oriented organizations and entrepreneurs must therefore be based on principles which have been summarized below.

Sustainable building
A building, which – planned and built with vision 100 years ago for furniture con­­struction – today still offers functional mo­­dern working con­­ditions for laboratories, offices and in­­­­dustry, may de­­serv­­edly be labelled as recoverable and sustainable. This is the re­­quirement of sustainable architecture, where knowledge and communication are the driving forces. With his handicraft and creativity, a person sets the standard for the design of his environment.


Diversity wins
Diversity is a resource. Impulses for new ideas originate when people and topics meet which up to now have had little to do with each other, for example re­­searchers and businessmen and artists. Brilliant ideas need confrontation to mature. And simultaneously, a good mix of tenants assures protection against economic fluctuations.

Communication and short distances
Open communication in all directi­­ons creates opportunities for cooperation, and technology and foundation centres are only successful when they consis­­tently ensure that their tenants and partners are not alone.
They have a platform function. For this, the research and organisation landscape in Dresden offers manifold contacts and networks. Is the close proximity to the Dresden University of Technology and to the research institutions therefore an in­­dispensable location factor for founders and growing organizations?

I do not think not, as Dresden is above all a city of short distances. Research institutions and technology parks are found in all parts of the city. Decisive is however, how well these connections bear up and how successful young organizations are in finding contacts and establishing networks fast, which leads a business idea towards success.

Brand management
Who ever manages to establish a location as a living brand, will find and bind tenants, who for their part simultaneously strengthen the attractiveness of the location. In the first place, technology centres offer young organizations an assurance for business success in an innovation-driven environment.



Growth and change
Young and successful organizations grow or they found subsidiaries. The ability to constantly create new spaces for occupants who are continuously changing is an entrepreneurial challenge for private technology and foundation centres.

International competition and cooperation
Dresden is the growth motor for the region. And simultaneously essential is: The world economy is everywhere. Luckily, I think! Cosmopolitanism is therefore the right way to strengthen the attractiveness of the region. In­­spiration, however, mostly originates through contact with supposed strang­­ers in familiar surroundings.

It must be emphasized: These principles are no patent recipes, but rather elements for success for a knowled­­ge and technology-oriented business lo­cation. Places such as Gebäude­­Ensemble Deutsche Werk­­stätten Hellerau, which spontaneously reveal a secret without divulging everything, are not forgotten.

Eco­­nomics and science at best mu­­tually strengthen each other and other areas of society at the same time. That is the great strength which makes Dresden and Hellerau as a living and working location so attractive.


085_05_46_AThe author was born in 1953 and after completing his A-levels, studied engineering and management in Darmstadt. This was followed by a study stay at the Harvard Business School in Boston and the conferral of a doctorate in 1983. After Ger­­man reunification he worked as a management con­­sultant. Since 1998 he has been the managing director of the Grundbesitz Hellerau GmbH and has also been involved in numerous biotechnology organizations.