Working closely with other departments throughout the entire Group is the key to successful innovation. We involve the segments with market responsibility in the development process right from the get-go. This joint effort ensures that we do not miss the mark during this phase.
Another important contributor to successful internal collaboration is the diversity that exists across our Company. Empirical studies confirm our experiences that diversity is positively correlated to innovativeness. 10
CUSTOMER RESEARCH AND DESIGN THINKING
We want our Group to enjoy long-lasting market success, which is why we take a customer-centric approach to developing innovations. We investigate and analyze customers’ wishes even before they are articulated, to design innovative solutions and products together with customers themselves. In doing so, we draw on a toolbox full of diverse, flexible – both intelligent and user-centric – methods. We have also defined a standard design-thinking approach across the Group and, with the Design Academy, set up one of the largest professional training programs in the history of our Company.
Being able to work with customers rapidly, independently, and on an ongoing basis is essential, so we recruit customers via the innovation forum, a Group-internal customer panel comprising 1,600 households. These customers help us to develop products and services by contributing their ideas, experiences, and wishes.
What does it take to create an outstanding customer experience? And how can we do this? Product Innovation has defined the answers to these questions using what it calls the experience framework. The framework, or vision, links together the customer and business perspectives logically to describe specific action areas. This gives us a set of measures and methods that allow us to design a coherent customer experience. Our efforts in this area have received several accolades. For example, at IFA 2017 our virtual reality solution, Basketball, won a UXDesign Award presented by the International Design Center Berlin (IDZ). The solution uses virtual reality to turn a live-streamed basketball game into a real 360° experience.