Network, exchange ideas, discover tomorrow’s
Around 90 attendees—all wanting to experience the LabCampus effect—were given exactly that opportunity on April 10, 2019. In a vibrant mix of teams made up of scientists, SMEs and global players, represented by both new and experienced experts, they were busy from the get-go. Together they discussed the future of mobility, designed prototypes, built a live blockchain, and defined the basic features of a new, flexible working environment. The common thread: Successful innovation requires people, ideas and technologies to converge. And exactly this sentiment was the core takeaway from the first LabCampus event entitled “CONNECT.”
Managing Director Dr. Marc Wagener opened the event with updates on LabCampus, including a sneak preview of its first building. Frank Salzgeber, Head of Technology Transfer & Innovation Management at ESA, reiterated Wagener’s call for collaboration across companies, industries and disciplines. He personally advocated a mix of “exploitation and exploration,” and outed Germany’s poor reputation for “idea recycling”—as he called it. “We have the technology here,” he said, “we just seem to lack the ability to develop business models that get them out to market.”
Technology transfer across industries and use cases, ignited by integrated teams—defined by their childish curiosity and risk-taking attitude—this is where we need to focus, according to Salzgeber. Which is what ESA are doing. The company itself is a collective of interdisciplinary teams from different countries. It invests a large part of its budget into innovative solutions for space travel and promotes a transfer of knowhow to other fields and areas of application.
And physical spaces
that bring people, ideas and technology together come into play here too, Frank
Salzgeber emphasized. In fact, they have an essential role to fulfill.
“Only 27% of the population in Germany book travel on a smartphone. In Japan it’s 50% and in India an impressive 90%,” said workshop facilitator Oliver Ströbel.
Along with his Siemens PPAL colleague, Anne Hoffmann, and Lufthansa’s Jens Thorn, he introduced the “Design Thinking Fast-Forward Challenge” to participants. The aim: identify each other’s needs and issues when traveling, ideate solutions as a team, and flesh them out to create prototypes.
Among the results were ideas like all-in-one apps for smartphones and automated luggage tracking. And—equally as important—the human realization that the potential of cross-industry collaboration can still be endlessly exploited.
Features like an electronic room reservation system or light and temperature control make a building smart. But what does it take for it to actually become intelligent? According to workshop facilitator Christos Chantzaras, it ideally starts with the sustainable design of the floorplan, which should pay particular attention to promoting interaction.
On top of this, architecture must intersect with other disciplines to create digital twins, for example—which don’t just promote underlying collaboration but proactively turn them into projects. After all, the importance of face-to-face communication cannot be underestimated—even in an increasingly digitalized world.
Workshop participants exchanged ideas on how workspaces and buildings can be developed with the need to perform and regenerate in mind.
According to Dr. Frank Danzinger; "Data volume will increase six fold in the future." Companies that want to benefit from it need to address the topics of this workshop head on.
Instead they should be seen as opportunities. Afterall, many of the questions relating to digitalization lead to IoT and blockchain as the answers. Taking an “unintelligent” product and smartening it up gives you; greater transparency, the ability to optimize costs and efficiency, offer personalized customer solutions, and ease day-to-day production processes. That’s huge untapped potential.
Here, communication, identification and sensor technology are important. As well as technology capable of encrypting the data generated and connecting it up with sources outside of the business’ own four walls. That’s where blockchain comes into play, as the workshop explained.
Led by Sabine Sauber and Anna Stadler, this workshop was devoted to the subject of “human centricity.” In the workplace what has changed? What should still change? Which aspects are key to creating the right working environment?
Common areas of disagreement soon reared their heads: Single offices or open plan? Transparency versus confidentiality. The need to mix versus the need to concentrate? Home office or a mandatory presence on site?
One-size-fits-all solutions simply don’t work. Differences between companies, and even between teams within the same company, demand flexible, personalized solutions. And sometimes change has to happen in the corporate culture as well. What rang out loud and clear in this lively workshop? Employees want a say in how their place of work is set up.