The Cross Innovation Hub from Germany

Cross Innovation Hub

Cross Innovation Lab 2019, GEA digital valve twin AR prototype for easier maintenance. Photo by Laura Mueller courtesy of the “Cross Innovation Hub”


What it is… The “Cross Innovation Hub” (2016-2022) is based at Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft and supports successful cooperation between actors from different sectors. 


Innovation and inspirational know how… In cooperation with Science Scout Hamburg, an indicator system was developed to measure non-technical innovations. This will draw further attention to the importance of these types of innovations.

Facilitation methods specifically for cross-sectoral innovation are being developed internally. The methodology includes site-visits for creatives to industry partners that help them to get to know their work processes and challenges, with meetings on defining needs. 

Recognising and acting upon the establishment of a legal framework which successful collaboration of this kind needs this as a prerequisite. This includes non-disclosure agreements and contracts that detail co-ownership and certain rights for each participant, whether creative or non-CCI entity.


Challenges… As a public agency for creative industries Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft had no previous experience with other industries. The first challenge then was to establish a network with industrial companies from diverse sectors, such as aviation, health or life sciences. 

Overcoming difficulties of networking with small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) that normally have limited resources for innovation processes was the second challenge

Getting through the high-risk initial phase (from idea development to first prototype) as it can take up to several years before the market benefits can be seen was the crucial challenge


Meeting the Challenges…

In order to have participants work in interdisciplinary teams, cross-innovation processes are specially set up.

Some big, high profile companies were attracted to work with the hub: CISCO, Jungheinrich Group (trucks), GEA – valve producer, tesa, TUI. 

All partners outside the creative industries pay a fee to participate in the cross-innovation hub prior to experiencing its impact. The input of the creative professionals, whether self-employed or employed creative experts, is renumerated. 

The initial input to set up a new cross-innovation format sometimes comes from the creative industries, sometimes from others. 

The team at the “Hub” then develops a format suitable for the requested need. The formats can vary a lot, with some processes lasting up to six months, some taking just a day. 


Impacts… These are assessed via records and monitoring of the number of creative professionals who later establish work relations with the companies. There are also longitudinal surveys (six months later) following up with companies on the progress of the product line.  Qualitative self-assessment is carried out by teams on the category of innovation (degree from incremental to radical) and the market potential.


Further information…

Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, an institution of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is a 100% public owned, private company of the city. It houses the Music WorX, a publicly funded accelerator between 2016 -2023 with EU co-funding of Interreg a Cross-Innovation Hub.


Jenny Kornmacher

Cross Innovation Hub Project Manager

at Hamburg Kreativ Gesselschaft

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