Innovation Radar: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft launches dual blog

German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization, last week launched its new research blog – forschungs-blog – featuring research, scientific discoveries and developments that might someday change our daily life.

The blog is run by the quite prominent German blogger, author and social media specialist Sascha Lobo and is supported by  Martina Schraudner and Solveig Wehking from Fraunhofer’s “Discover Markets” team and freelance science writers Lars Fischer and Florian Freistetter (others will join in).

The blog is following a concept Fraunhofer calls “dual blogging”, i.e. the same topic is featured in scientifically accurate terms in the left column of the blog while the right column is featuring the same topic in a more entertaining, “drawn from life” perspective.

As an example, the left column is describing ice-cream as a complex multi-phase system which is stabilized by components from milk and eggs and features research from Fraunhofer that enables the replacement of these animal components by proteins from lupins so that it becomes compatible to people with intolerance to milk or eggs (plus people on diet, and, of course, vegetarians and vegans). The right column plainly states the research leads to ice-cream democracy, enabled by a beautiful flower.

While is is certainly a good and overdue move for a big German research institution to embrace social media, it remains to be seen whether dual blogging is more than a marketing gag. At present, only two of five blog entries dealing with science are dual-made, and of those two, the left column texts are overly heavy with scientific terms while the right ones read as if the authors are very anxious to sound “cool”. The other entries match the usual science blog style, but are much longer.

The blog is in German only and a project by Discover Markets, which in turn is a research project by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to learn about how consumers and the general public can participate in the development of technologies at an early stage.