Martin Mahn, Geschäftsführer und CEO Tutech © Tutech

"Knowledge is the commodity of the 21st century," says Martin Mahn

Innovation needs places, inspiration and personal exchange, says CEO of TuTech Innovation

The Hamburg Innovation Summit 4.0 gets underway Thursday (May 23, 2019) in the Fischauktionshalle in Altona. Key figures in commerce, science and education will present their innovations on Future City, New Work and Deep Tech there. Founders and designers will be meeting at the HHIS platform for technology-based trends and innovation to discuss the latest developments. Hamburg News spoke to Martin Mahn, Managing Director, CEO of TuTech Innovation GmbH and organiser of HHIS.

Hamburg News: Mr. Mahn, what does innovation mean to you personally?

Martin Mahn: The term “innovation” has become quite inflationary. However, innovation only comes about by actually applying new ideas e.g. when research results are developed and create new products or services. At the same time, user acceptance is important, as the novelty will not prevail otherwise. Society will come to a standstill without innovation.

Hamburg News: Does innovation need special places and more events such as the Hamburg Innovation Summit or is it mainly an attitude, a mindset and the willingness to change?

Martin Mahn: I think it’s an attitude above all else. It’s a matter of the mind. And we Germans are not necessarily known as “risk takers”. We must combine our inventiveness and thoroughness with a little more daring. The results can be seen, touched and tried out at HHIS which needs an event and a place. In our increasingly digital world, personal exchange is still irreplaceable and will remain so.

Hamburg News: To put the Hamburg Innovation Summit in a nutshell… what are this year’s highlights and what can visitors learn?

Martin Mahn: The expo will definitely present plenty of hands-on, new ideas and developments. A keynote entitled “Transfer Innovation” by Frank Salzgeber from ESA is one of the highlights. The three new tracks “Future City”, “New Work” and “Deep Tech” will feature great panels and workshops, some of which will be taking place on the Elbe this time. Let’s not forget the presentation of the Hamburg Innovation Awards in three categories. Nine finalists will discover their fate on Thursday evening. And as always, exchange, networking and innovational small talk are important.

Hamburg News: Where do the greatest opportunities for Hamburg as a seat of innovation lie?

Martin Mahn: Hamburg is a trading city. Hamburg also has industry and science, which is often forgotten. Huge investments are needed there – and the first steps in this direction have already been taken. Knowledge is the commodity of the 21st century. We should produce as much of it as possible because that also helps trade and industry.

Hamburg News: In this context, what is already very good in Hamburg and what does the city need to become even more innovative?

Martin Mahn: Hamburg should use its strengths to expand the already distinctive scientific landscape. It should also boost the transfer of knowledge, develop and attract even more entrepreneurs and create experimental fields for testing new technologies. The port, for instance, offers us a large test bed that other cities do not have.

Hamburg News: Mr. Mahn, many thanks for the interview and good luck with HHIS.

Interview by Karolin Köcher

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