"Konzeptathon" in Lohr: Approximately 160 students develop solutions for citizen-oriented topics

Mon, 20 May 2019 | Ereignisse, Praxis, Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen, Startseite, Lehre
Science not in the ivory tower, but in the Starthouse Spessart, in the Old Town Hall, in the vicarage and in the bed house.

Within twelve hours, around 160 students from the Universities of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and Bremerhaven developed solutions for thirty topics in the Main-Spessart region and the city of Lohr am Main in a so-called "Konzeptathon" (based on a "Hackathon" in which participants develop software products within a fixed timeframe). Science takes place in an unusual format - on the one hand not isolated in the much quoted ivory tower, but directly in the city in the Starthouse Spessart, in the parsonage, in the old town hall and in the bed house. Furthermore, national (Würzburg-Schweinfurt and Bremerhaven) and international (Germany and India) students from four interdisciplinary courses (e-commerce, social work, management in health care and business and engineering) participate. On the other hand, it is not about the citizens and their concerns that is discussed, but WITH them: About twenty Lohr citizens took part in the conceptathon as well as employees of local companies and the city of Lohr.

The topics to which the Konzeptathon participants devoted themselves had four focal points: While the focus in the vicarage was on social topics (making Lohr more attractive for young people and seniors, promoting inclusion in Main-Spessart), the focus in the old town hall was on the aspect of health (getting healthy / staying healthy in Lohr / Main-Spessart, where to give birth). In the Starthouse Spessart, students and citizens developed ideas on economic topics (flexible mobility in Lohr / Main-Spessart, startup scene Main-Spessart, dying of the inner city - slowing down vacancies, promoting attractiveness), in the Bettenhaus, the teams also examined an economic aspect: feeling online.

The student teams found their tasks in English and background information on the tables, as well as presentation materials and Internet access. The approach used was Design Thinking, which brings together people from different disciplines whose goal is to find solutions that convince users. First questions were noted in the room in the team, searches in the Internet realized, interviews were accomplished over telephone calls or directly on the streets Lohrs.

The professors involved in the project (Dr. Ulrich Gartzke, Dr. Sven Warnke, qualified social education worker Thomas Peters, Dr. Uwe Sponholz, Dr. Michael Müßig and Dr. Nicholas Müller) explained the scientific approach: "Interdisciplinary work across study courses and cultures is becoming increasingly important, especially in the development of technical (digital) and organisational (service-oriented) innovations. After a few small precursors, the following will now be attempted: The completely diversified teams work in groups of about five to six people at four locations within Lohr in twelve hours on topics and generate in the best case over forty new digital solution ideas to urgent questions of regional digital transformation. In addition, the participants expect learning outcomes that include an understanding of the problems and solution ideas of other specialist and competence areas".

Finally, the teams presented their results and solutions to the plenum. The best concepts were selected by the jury with Dr. Mario Paul (First Mayor in Lohr am Main), Professor Dr. Robert Grebner (President of the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Dr. Nina Höhne (Center for Digitization Bavaria), Dr. Marianne Hock (Head of Alte Schlosserei | Digital start-up center Aschaffenburg) and Steffen Winkler (Representative of the network partner Bosch Rexroth) and received awards. The winning team was invited to a joint dinner in July with the President of the FHWS, the Deans of the three participating faculties and the First Mayor of Lohr am Main, where they will be able to discuss the realization of their ideas in detail.