In real world experiments, data researchers from Leipzig and Zwickau test new ways of digital value creation in West Saxony

Research Project "DataLab WestSax" Opens simul+ Hybrid Living Lab

Press release | Leipzig /

The collaborative research project "DataLab WestSax" - Future and Value Creation Lab West Saxony - a regional catalyst for data-based value creation - aims to leverage untapped potential of data for value creation purposes. Prof. Heiko Gebauer's team at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW in Leipzig and Prof. Christoph Laroque's team at the West Saxon University of Applied Sciences Zwickau will receive a total of 1.5 million euros in financial support from the simul⁺ innovation hub of the Saxon State Ministry for Regional Development (SMR). This will enable both private and public/municipal companies in the West Saxony region to test adapted digital technologies and data utilization processes.

Living lab launches with seven-member research team, five real world experiments and seven application companies

The research team "DataLab WestSax" consists of seven researchers who will work on realizing the project idea during the project period of three years (01/2022 to 12/2024). In it, Fraunhofer IMW stands for socio- and techno-economic innovation expertise with charisma and established networks in Saxony. The West Saxon University of Applied Sciences Zwickau bundles data analysis competencies in business informatics for (manufacturing) SMEs. As R&D partners in the "DataLab WestSax", Fraunhofer IMW and the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau jointly contribute established concepts, procedural models, algorithm artifacts and software solutions that are then transferred to application companies.

DataLab WestSax" will start with five real world experiments involving a total of seven application companies. The implementation of further real world experiments is planned for the duration of the project and the research team is always open to inquiries in this regard. The researchers' scope of work focuses on the two initial scenarios "idea available, data missing" and "data available, ideas missing".

The motivation for the "DataLab WestSax" can be summarized briefly as follows: Value creation is increasingly dominated by business models based on the principles of harnessing data. The benefits range across the spectrum of "sales up & cost down", for example through process optimization, increased planning reliability, service optimization and business expansion to include digital service offerings. However, above all, completely new forms of value creation are conceivable, based, for example, on the inter-company exchange of data, the sale of data-based expertise or data-supported collaboration on the basis of digital platforms.

Hybrid "living lab" acts as a regional catalyst to explore new ways of adding value

The research team of "DataLab WestSax" wants to leverage the design potential with companies in the West Saxony region. The researchers are building a so-called "hybrid living lab" for data-based value creation. The living lab represents the test space between Leipzig and Zwickau, in which the R&D team will carry out several sub-projects, the so-called real world experiments, with the participating companies. Networking will take place "on-the-go" through the real world experiments, work meetings and other networking formats. This means that the interaction will be "hybrid" as purposeful as possible, both physically and virtually, so that all project participants always remain connected in the best possible way.

Through concept work, experimental data preparation and analysis, the research team of Fraunhofer IMW and the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau will identify new value creation potentials with and for companies. The researchers also support the integration of these potentials into corporate practice. This can contribute - at present especially in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic - to strengthening business models and their resilience. The "DataLab WestSax" follows the mission to give impulses for innovative value creation and sustainable change in the region of West Saxony.