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Innovationsmanagement & Business Innovation Lab

Innovation is the heart of KUKA and has always been part of our DNA. Throughout history our ability to remain innovative has allowed us to be successful in the market and deliver the highest value for customers.

Innovation management at KUKA

Innovation management is the active development of new business within KUKA, but we also drive innovation together with external partners, customers and suppliers. To achieve this, we create processes to enable the successful commercialization of innovative ideas. The necessary governance is also being established within the company. For us, this means on the one hand who can make which decisions and on what criteria the decisions are based, and on the other hand that innovation is an integral part of our corporate strategy.

KUKA provides all employees an access to methods and knowledge to generate new ideas, thereby fostering a corporate culture that enables innovation even more easily.

Our innovation strategy

To enable innovation, our innovation strategy consists of five building blocks:

1. Building organic innovation from our internal teams across the company.
2. Buying acquisitions of companies with a technology complementary to KUKA’s business priorities.
3. Partnering by creating solutions and go-to-market strategies with technology and service partners.
4. Investing in direct and indirect promising startups, entrepreneurs, and venture funds (in development).
5. Co-developing by working with customers, leading innovators, and decision makers on new industry trends

The most important resource of a company for innovation are its employees. Hence, we need to invest in their innovation skills.

Dr. Ulrike Tagscherer, Chief Innovation Officer, KUKA

To engage all employees and ensure that all ideas are heard, we run bi-annual internal, global, cross-segment innovation challenges. The ambition of these innovation challenges is to generate a number of innovative ideas that will be presented to our jury, who will then select a small number of the ideas to move forward towards implementation. They are based on employee engagement, self-appointed teams, and the idea of learning prior to starting the building process.

Once selected, the ideas become projects with a dedicated team, budget and time allocation in our Business Innovation Lab, our internal Incubator and Accelerator.

Business Innovation Lab

The goal of the business innovation lab is to help innovation project participants search for and find a repeatable, scalable, profitable business ready for implementation.  In the Business Innovation Lab, innovation teams learn a structured and repeatable process to validate their business idea in a fast, cheap and methodical way.

The Business Innovation Lab is split into three phases. After each phase, teams must fulfill certain criteria to move on to the next phase.

Phase 1: Discovery

Structured, comparable and well-prepared customer interviews are used to validate customer segments, problems and the potential benefits. Whether relevant added value is created for the customer is validated using initial ideas for specific offerings in the form of conceptual prototypes.

Phase 1: Discovery

Phase 2: Validation

Business models, channels, revenue streams and product-market fit are validated using an experimental prototype to test first ideas with customers.

Phase 2: Validation

Phase 3: Acceleration

The emphasis is on continuous learning from pilot projects and prototypes. In addition, the focus is on planning and securing resources for implementation and the gradual transition into internal processes.

Phase 3: Acceleration

Best practice example: Mixed Reality Interface

One product, that made all its way from an idea, through an innovation challenge, through the Business Innovation Lab into development is our Mixed Reality Interface. The basic idea of this solution is to visualize application data as well as robot paths directly at the cell, thus enabling commissioning tasks to be completed more quickly and easily. To do this, we are using mixed reality technology.

Mixed Reality Interface

Have a look on the future of robot commissioning!