Talk: 10th October > ”OTELOs – Innovation hubs for communities”


Martin Hollinetz founded OTELO to develop the creativity, responsiveness, and entrepreneurial quality of citizens across Austria.


Rural areas today lack open spaces and flexible structures that promote creativity – in companies, local communities, industries and the education system. In Austria, regional development programs fall short of providing citizens with support structures which allow them to experiment, exchange ideas, and act in new ways. In search of acceptance of differences, flexibility, and a creative culture, people often migrate to urban areas, where there is an abundance of jobs, stimulation, and a sense of belonging. This leads to “brain drain” in rural areas.


Martin is building an empowered citizen base to create a new quality of life for people living in rural areas. He founded OTELO, a network of “open technology laboratories”, spaces designed for and by people to experiment, collaborate, communicate, and exchange with community members about topics they want to take action on. OTELO fosters creativity and an exchange of experiences in rural parts of Austria and links it with urban funding structures. Topics like participation, education, agriculture, social and technical innovations are particularly important.


Founded in 2010, 24 OTELO locations have opened their doors in various locations. Additionally, within one year OTELO developed 17 collaboration projects and hosted more than 150 events on regional innovations. Estimated 20.000 people were involved in these activities – the events stretched from the production of soap to the construction of 3D printers.

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