Product Innovation – the core of our innovative activities
The Product Innovation unit is our lynchpin when it comes to developing innovative products and services. Formerly a part of Group Innovation+, this Group unit was set up on January 1, 2017, and is assigned to our newly established Board of Management department Technology and Innovation. Product Innovation coordinates and prioritizes innovation activities for consumers and business customers and looks after the continual development of the Group-wide product innovation strategy. It also generates disruptive ideas and works closely with Technology to ensure technology-driven innovations. Close working relationships between Product Innovation and further units across the entire Group encompass traditional product development projects for our operating segments. The aim of such projects is to expand our product portfolio to include more innovative products and solutions and to improve existing products. These projects have a development horizon of one to two years. However, the central focus of our new Group unit is on innovation topics. As a driver of innovations with a development horizon of three to five years, we are shaping the digital future for our customers.
In the reporting year, Product Innovation pushed ahead with the process of transforming our innovation projects on the basis of three principles:
- Innovation focus: Pursue fewer – but all the more promising – areas of innovation at intra-Group level;
- Innovation management: Extend innovation project funding and introduce a more flexible funding approach;
- Collaboration and partnering: Ensure all innovation activities are developed and prioritized jointly by Product Innovation and the business segments and draw systematically on external experts and partners.