In a workshop prior to the SURPRISE FACTORS SYMPOSIUM, students from various disciplines discussed this year’s topic. Three of them joined the discussion at the SYMPOSIUM as this year’s YOUNG ACADEMIA and contributed their ideas with the perspective of a young generation.

Education, Innovation, Failure Management and Focus

As YOUNG ACADEMIA it is our special concern to make the interests and ideas of a young generation heard. From this perspective, especially the following four points that were discussed in the course of the symposium seem to be key elements for the future of Upper Austria. In order to follow the path “From Good to Great”, Upper Austria has to evolve constantly. A standstill would be fatal:

  • Education: Especially in a region like Upper Austria with few natural resources, in which “human capital” can be considered the most important resource of all, investing in education – either in the form of vocational training, academic studies, continuing training or the like – are of pivotal importance. It is essential to promote the creativity of young people and to find the right balance between pressure to perform on the one hand and creative freedom on the other. Such a balance will ultimately have a positive impact on the welfare of young people. After all, only happy employees will ensure the best possible work and promise a long-lasting success for a company.
  • Innovation: If Austria in general and Upper Austria in particular want to succeed in the global competition, the country needs highly qualified workers and innovators as well as research and working conditions, that allow the attainment of excellence. Therefore and in addition to a sustained investment in research and development, not only an excellence education for the local people is necessary but also shaping Upper Austria to become an attractive region for workforce from abroad is of great importance.
  • Failure Management: All too often, young entrepreneurs who fail with a project are stigmatized and discriminated against in economic, social and legal terms. To promote innovation we have to get away from our “error-picking culture” that inhibits innovation. In turn we have to allow young people to take risks and to make mistakes. We have to give young people a chance: starting with reducing bureaucracy for start-ups, providing alternative financing and developing a culture, where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities and young people’s voices are heard.
  • Focus: A system that supports all sectors the same will quickly reach its capacitive limits. As a comparatively small region, Upper Austria therefore has to focus on its economic strengths and concentrate on a few niches in order to be successful on a global scale with outstanding people and their achievements and products. Therefore, it is even more important to identify and specifically promote those areas that have the greatest potential for development.

To go from „good to great“, these four points are, in our view, of enormous importance for Upper Austria. Moreover, it is our special concern to strengthen the opportunity for young people to participate in order to better represent their interests. On the other hand it seems very important to us that new legislative proposals will be evaluated with special consideration of their impact on future generations. Only this way can a positive development of Upper Austria be ensured that is economically, politically, culturally, and socially sustainable.


  • Thomas Böhler, BA, International Business, University of Vienna
  • Lambert Neumayr, BSc, Master’s Program in Strategy, Innovation, Management Control, Vienna University of Economics and Business
  • Carina Posner, Business Management Marketing, Brands and Media, University of Applied Sciences, Campus M21, Munich