Every day per year one place or institution is Germany is awarded "a place in the land of ideas". This initiative is quite completive (each year well over 2000 institutions apply and the year has only 365 days…).
The innovation factory at the University of Duisburg-Essen has a really interesting vision and received the award for its concept of converting ideas into innovations and products. It promotes thinking in product rather and by this challenges researchers to look how their research results could enable new products or enhance existing products. I find this a most useful exercise - especially when having basic research results that are not directly linked to an application. To facilitate thinking in products they have a number of industrial designers that act as innovation scouts.
Such events always offer the official speeches (not my favorite part but I see one needs them) but also the chance to meet interesting people. I enjoyed the discussions - in particular one question I found interesting - whether or not the ebook reader based on eInk (now just entering the marked on massive scale) is already dead… and replace by the next generation of multimedia extra-thin wireless tablets.