Sector Digital publishing
Target Users Business Developers, publishing houses and bookshops (members of the German Booksellers and Publishers Association)
Country Germany
Dimension National
Nature of the initiative Public
Contact Dorothee Werner
Corporate Innovation Officer


protoTYPE is a project launched by the German Booksellers and Publishers Association in association with several universities like HDM Stuttgart in which experienced mentors guide young innovators through the process of conceptualizing a new product or service for the publishing industry.

The format was launched in 2012 and has taken place in 2015 for the fourth time in a row. In 2015, up to 30 hand-picked participants have formed teams, supported by an experienced mentor, and developed a protoTYPE.

A key skill aimed to teach to the participants is to think like entrepreneurs and to move quickly from the first rough draft into the phase of implementation and continuous improvement. protoTYPE wants to attract those individuals that like to think ahead and out of the box.

protoTYPE runs over the course of several months. During the project, the teams work on their ideas by applying the design thinking method, which is particularly well-suited for customer-oriented innovation projects. protoTYPE offers new methods, inspiration, networking, expert advice and – last but not least – a professional check-up regarding the feasibility of new ideas. These are the tools that the publishing professionals of the future need.

Prototype working group

Business needs

According to protoTYPE  innovation projects are crucial for the book industry in times of change.  By bringing together young talents with skills from different fields (e.g. production, IT, marketing), it encourages exchange and uninhibited thinking. The created “protoTYPEs” are services and products that will benefit the book trade.

Most publishing professionals work in a specific field. When they are part of a project within their company, they are usually responsible for a clearly defined puzzle part of the undertaking and hardly ever get a chance to follow the whole process. protoTYPE is different, and that’s why it has great benefits for the participants themselves as well as the companies that encourage their employees to participate.

protoTYPE is a unique opportunity to experience an innovation process from beginning to end. Team-building, team work and effective project management are central elements, and so is the act of making innovations visible and understandable by presenting them in front of professional audiences.

prototype mentoring


In four years of ProtoTYPE emerged in the end out of 16 projects three start-ups:

  • agentme: aimed as a platform promoting rights opportunities for front and backlist titles. Potentail right buyers can prescreen titles digitally. even won a prize for innovation at a conference in Berlin;
  • Bookalive: an app for enhancing content by augmented reality;
  • Bookvibes: an emotional book search, a book discovery platform, that employs emotional book search to help readers find the right book - akin to mood-based music sets.

The role of technology

Most of the projects focused on the application of new technologies, especially on augmented reality and beacon- technology. Bookalive e.g. developed an app wich allows publishing houses to add augmentend reality-functions to their content in a very simple way. Most of the prototypes provide a platform solution.

In 16 projects in four years there where only three start-ups which had nothing to do with applying new technologies.


In four years three out of 16 projects became real companies: protoTYPE functioned as an experimentation lab for applying new technologies as well as somehow a company builder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have read the Privacy Information Notice and I give my consent (to my data processing)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>