Silke Claus, the executive director of the bayern design, organizer of Munich Creative Business Week, speaks about Germany’s major design event, that took place between 4 and 12 of March of 2017.


Silke Claus, bayern design. Photo by Anna Seibel

The communication of Munich Creative Business Week expresses that is ‘Germany’s major design event’. This conclusion it is supported in which sort of measurable data and criteria?

The conclusion is based on our annual evaluation of partner event data (e.g. visitors and number of events) in comparison to mayor design events in Germany. For 2017 the evaluation is not completed yet. However, we are confident that we will surpass the number of visitors in 2016 (61000 visitors).

It is public that the Bavarian government supports the MBCW with an annual 1 million euros. Is this budget provided only by government or other partners also make their investments?

Beside the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs there are other sponsors including for example the City of Munich, BMW and Steelcase. The annual changing partner country and the partner region also contribute to the Munich Creative Business Week.

The bayern design is responsible for the MCBW. What is exactly the role of the center, who and how many people work for it, when it was born, how it was started and for what purposes it was assign?   

bayern design is composed of the bayern design GmbH [=Ltd.] and the supporting association bayern design forum e. V. founded in 1987. The GmbH with around 15 team members is responsible for the operational business and is financed by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economy and Media, Energy and Technology. It has been entrusted with the introduction and development of design strategies for Bavarian organizations and institutions in a sustainable manner with the objective of strengthening the renown of the state of Bavaria as a globally acknowledged site of innovation and design. In this function, bayern design also organizes Munich Creative Business Week.

After this year’s edition, what are the main goals achieved since the very beginning in 2012 and which sort of challenges the event will be embracing for the future?

The goal of the Munich Creative Business Week is to bring together business people and the creative industry – especially architects, designers and advertising industry. In the future we will focus even more on high-tech industries and design. With the new formats we will also address the public.

There’s been a constructive critic regarding MCBW organization of not being able in offering or finding a central public space where all its initiatives and participants could be gather alongside local social, cultural and economic activities. What is your view on this specific matter?     

Indeed we have no fairground we can use for the Munich Creative Business Week. However this is no disadvantage since we transformed the MCBW to a real city event with locations all over the city of Munich. It is possible for our guests to discover the city and they will discover very different locations and can look behind the scenes of the design industry. The whole city is our stage and lives design.

What were the main reasons behind the decision of inviting the Republic of Korea as partner country of this edition?

The main reasons are the high level of design competences in the Korean craft and industry. In addition we had already established long term partnerships with South Korean partners.

There’s been this general policy of bringing the industries, designers and new technologies into the craft world and the Bavarian government has been also very enthusiastic in making this idea successful. How a very industrialized city and region like Munich, is capable to implement this process concerning the crafts?

The region of Munich delivers several advantages to implement this process. First of all we have very strong and experienced craft companies in Bavaria. Together with the local high-tech industries this is a strong base for cooperation between designers, artisans and future industries. Last but not least the Munich Creative Business Week cooperates with the largest German craft fair, the International Handwerksmesse (IHM), which takes place during our design week.

You’ve said the MBCW has social concerns and the mission of creating work and employment. What has been done so far to achieve these goals?

The MCBW organizes several matchmaking events for founders, start-ups, architects, designers and the advertising industry like the MCBW START UP Creative Demo Night, where more than 40 young designers and entrepreneurs presented their projects. Since we decided to organize the MCBW in 2012 we can observe that several German and international design agencies (e.g. Phoenix Design, Designit, Futurice etc.) opened additional offices in Munich. Even companies like Steelcase move to Munich because they appreciate the creative environment of the city.

This year MCBW edition motto has been ‘Design connects – The Smart Revolution’. From the general opinion we have gathered among a few local design players we were face to the fact that designers, engineers, industries and politicians do not make a clue of what is Industry 4.0. We wonder smart issue it is just a new trend or the start of a long new process?

It is more a long process and not a trend. The focus of MCBW 2017 is on the role of design in the smart revolution and beyond. In what ways can design affect this revolution to ensure all people are taken on board and no-one is left behind. Designers take a lot of responsibility, because design can be the key to turning our technical and social visions into reality.

MBCW shows the intention of expanding beyond local but also throughout Germany, like for instance having Miesbach as the first district joining the concept. Is the strategy to grow bigger as a national/international event?

It is not our goal to become bigger just in numbers but in quality and of course our goal is to establish the MCBW as an international place to be. The partner region, County of Miesbach, is a good example that we also want to combine rural regions in Bavaria with the creative industries in the cities.

Can you tell us some of the news regarding upcoming year’s edition programme and which partner country has been invited?

The motto and partner country will be launched at the beginning of June. At the moment we are talking with different potential countries in Asia and Europe. One day maybe also Portugal will apply for a partnership and present local design concepts in Munich! We are already looking forward to MCBW 2018, which will take place from the 3rd of March to the 11th of March 2018.

Photo: Courtesy of bayern design / Hannes Magerstaedt