“Ideas arise through dialogue”
7. November 2016
On 1 October 2016 Ute Weiland took up her position as Managing Director of the “Germany – Land of Ideas” initiative. In an interview she talks about her first points of contact with the initiative, her visions for the future, and the place where she is finding new inspiration.
Ms. Weiland, you worked for the Alfred Herrhausen Society for the last 13 years, in the end as the Deputy Managing Director. Where and how did you become cognizant of the “Land of Ideas” in the last few years?
In 2006, the “Land of Ideas” was on everyone’s lips. Everybody knew the initiative’s symbols, the dahlias, Claudia Schiffer with the German flag wrapped around her. In 2005 I started developing the conference series Urban Age, a worldwide study aimed at finding better solutions to problems in megacities. Then when “Land of Ideas” launched the “Ideas for the City” competition I was able to make a contribution with contacts from my city network. So I’ve always had the “dahlias” in my mind in the last few years.
The initiative is now in its eleventh year, although initially it was established only for 2006, the year of the football World Cup in Germany. Why in your opinion is it important for it to continue to exist in the future?
Ideas are the most important renewable energy of the export world champion Germany. So to my mind it was only natural that the project was continued after 2006. German “value work” and an edge through good ideas are still Germany’s seal of quality. We are in a worldwide intelligence competition. So we also have to be open to new things from other countries. Therefore in the future “Land of Ideas” intends to not only present ideas from Germany, but also ideas for Germany, with the aim of serving our country more comprehensively and promoting a cosmopolitan image of Germany.
What other focal points do you want to have in the future?
Ideas arise through dialogue. So first I will discuss my ideas – and there are many – with my new employees in the coming weeks. I will listen to them. In parallel, I will talk to “Land of Ideas’” cooperation partners about their ideas.
What is your very personal “place of ideas”, where you tank up on inspiration and reflect?
I have two ideas places. One is my garden. When I dig into the soil with my hands, my mind functions well. And when I need an energy boost, I like to fly to cities like New York. It was there, in April, that I decided to accept the offer and become Managing Director of “Land of Ideas”.