Third-party funded project

Desktop-Research: Erfassung der Berliner Innovations- und Kreativlabs

Research Department: Dynamics of Economic Spaces

IRS Research Topic: Shared Knowledge - Locally and Over Distance

Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt

Project Team: Dr. Verena Brinks

Consortium: Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (Coordination) Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Geographisches Institut

Funding Organization: Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Forschung

Duration: 02/2013 - 03/2013

The IRS developed a comprehensive investigation of the Berlin lab-scene in cooperation with the Institute of Geography of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on behalf of the Senate Administration for Economics, Technology and Research. Labs can be defined as spaces dedicated to collaborative working rooted either originated in a do-it-yourself initiative or established by enterprises, investors or research facilities. These spaces are considered to support shared practices around novel ideas. Numerous of such spaces for novel forms of cooperative and shared work have been initiated in Berlin during the past few years. In order to systematize the diversity of such spaces and to identify potential targeted economic policies for creative industries, a study was launched on “Innovation and Creativity Labs in Berlin”. Following questions guided the research:

• What different forms of labs exist and how can they be categorized?

• What labs can be identified in Berlin? What are the distinguishing features if these labs?

• What enterprises utilize labs in Berlin for product and solution development?

Our desktop-research and complementary telephone interviews unveiled that all identified labs in Berlin offer physical space for testing and experimenting. They are primarily located in one of the inner districts and aim at initiating open and often temporal innovation and development processes. In total, six different lab types could be identified through the study (events, grass root labs, coworking labs, enterprise driven labs, research driven labs, incubators and accelerators) that are operated by three different actor constellations:

• Enterprises that set up and support incubators, accelerators and enterprise as well as research driven labs,

• Research facilities that operate innovation spaces for developing marketable solutions and innovations at the intersection between basic and applied research, and

• Interest driven initiatives for cross-sectoral collaboration between users, interested stakeholders, and teams in grass root as well as coworking labs.


Brinks, V., & Schmidt, S. (2015). Global Knowledge Communities in Temporary Spaces. Paper presented at Transience and Permanence in Urban Development (TPUD), Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Zwilling, J., Ibert, O., Christmann, G., Schmidt, S., & Honeck, T. Urbane Experimente: IRS aktuell No. 82
Kleibrink, A., & Schmidt, S. (2015). Communities of Practice as New Actors: Innovation Labs Inside and Outside Government. In Open Innovation 2.0 Yearbook 2015 (pp. 64-73). Luxembourg: European Commission. DOI: 10.2759/92658
Schmidt, S., Brinks, V., & Brinkhoff, S. (2014). Innovation and Creativity Labs in Berlin: Organizing Temporary Spatial Configurations for Innovations. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 58(4), 232-247. DOI: