Sharing knowledge - online and offline

A building stimulates new innovation.

Dr. André Kobelt in an interview about the innovation culture at Heraeus.

The new Innovation Center is organized into cross-divisional competence areas. They allow researchers and developers to view projects from very different perspectives and to contribute their respective expert knowledge. We hope that this open exchange will increase our innovative strength. It is important to me to emphasize that innovation does not only take place in the Innovation Center and that the exchange is also more comprehensive. Today it is no longer just about the physical product development, we also have to captivate the market with new services and business models.

I like to call the Innovation Center a communication center, because in the end it's all about: exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, both online and offline. For this reason, we want to do away with paper at the Innovation Center and work digitally - making knowledge accessible to everyone. This is a fundamental change from the current way of working, and I have great respect for all my colleagues who are driving this change forward. I'm sure it's worth it.

The open spatial concept supports transparency, shorter methods, joint discussions and decisions are made more swiftly . The free choice of workstations promotes the exchange among colleagues. I get to know new people and their approaches, I listen to them. The close proximity between office and laboratory promotes speed. With the paperless office, we are entering a new phase of digitising our work and processing data. Transparency, exchange and speed are therefore essential advantages of this culture.

It has the task – and also the opportunity – to shape its processes and to shape the culture of innovation accordingly. In any case, it is important that the benefit to the customer is right at the forefront of our considerations. What really helps the customer to improve his business? And what's he willing to pay for it? If we have an answer to these questions, then we can start development. By the way, this also means that we involve our customers in the development process at an early stage and constantly align our projects with their needs. This is the only way which we can captivate customers with market-oriented innovations.

By continually re-evaluating and focusing on strategic, appealing projects in order to shorten the time to market. On a quarterly basis, we will discuss the progress of projects or the inclusion of new projects, but also the possible termination of projects. By the way, the latter is by no means a flaw: developers know only too well that not every attempt and every project leads to the desired success. What is certain, however, is that each experiment and each project provides important insights and experiences that can be useful for the future.

I believe we have achieved a lot when employees enjoy working together across disciplines and take full advantage of the new opportunities, when they communicate openly and more creative, attractive projects are born - and when we then prioritise these projects together.