Project ideas regarding the digital transformation of SMEs with a focus on industry 4.0 are developed through one workshop.
Through the project “WiMiT: Economy 4.0 in SMEs” SMEs are encouraged to start their digitisation process with the help of the research capacities, that Hof University provides. Within interactive Workshops organised by Hof University, SMEs can get to know the University’s research capacities, the WiMiT-project funding opportunities as well as develop ideas for their own digitalisation projects.
This is a typical Workshop-timeline:
1.Presentations by the research institute (Hof University in this case) on the following topics: The University’s research capacities, examples of successful digitalization projects, giving impulses and taking away common fears.
Therefore both basic and theoretical knowledge is provided and the transfer into the own working practice is made possible.
2.Teamwork sessions: Participants are divided into groups (participants should ideally have a similar background), based on the SME’s questions, ideas for feasible project ideas are developed while making clear, what Hof University can provide and what the SME needs to bring in to the project.

SMEs are the target group of the workshop. They benefit from Hof University’s knowledge on digitisation and their experience in implementing solutions with other SMEs. Through these workshops, possibilities for a joint project can be teased out. Also through this meeting, SMEs can join forces and develop a project together.

Both – Hof University and SMEs – act as multipliers for knowledge transfer.

Resources needed

Workshop for participants free of charge.
Staff needed:
• Experts in the field: Presenting knowledge
• Management staff: Organisation, Promoting the event 2 month before (mail, newsletter, social media)
• SMEs: input on topics, questions and ideas
Equipment: several rooms & presentation tool

Evidence of success

Through such initial workshops, project ideas were not just discussed but were actually generated and executed.
“Digital infrastructure for the machine data analysis of large production plants”
“MAGIC – Multi-agent-generic-infrastructure for charging”
“Typo3 Rapid Delivery” – Bitzinger, Hofhäckerei

A follow-up project of the WiMiT-Project has been approved: Digital transformation of the middle class with artificial intelligence (DAMMIT).

Difficulties encountered

At the beginning of the project it was difficult to find partners. But after telling them that
a) … the workshops are free of cost and
b) ... that other participants and companies had also confirmed their participation the process became much easier.

Potential for learning or transfer

• Multiplier-Effect & Knowledge Transfer: Hof University spreads the knowledge and research experience and improves its reach into the region. SMEs exchange their experience with Hof University as well as with other SMEs and transfer their learned knowledge into their companies.
• Through initial workshops real projects come to life: With initial and informational presentations at the beginning and a real opportunity to talk about challenges, fears and opportunities SMEs get a chance to really frame out a project and therefore improve their companies competitiveness and success.
• Networking: Workshops offer network-opportunities for Hof University as well as the SMEs
• It was crucial, that the Workshops were free of cost.
• A lot of work goes into building a reputation and trust. That process takes time and should always be taken into consideration.
Main institution
Hof University
Start Date
June 2016
End Date
March 2019


Anne-Christine Habbel Please login to contact the author.