When the future of mobility comes together in a “creative space” – how co-pace drives innovation
24. February 2020
When it comes to innovation and digitalization, the concept of a “creative space” keeps popping up. Why should companies with smoothly running departments and processes, send their teams to a neutral place lacking all of that?
In this article, discover why co-pace, the start-up organization of Continental, specifically chose this path.
Don’t successful companies already work internally and continuously on innovation and new solutions for the future? Of course they do. However, certain conditions have to be met in order to innovate successfully. There are four core elements to be kept in mind:
- Protected space: A space that is creative and protected, both mentally and physically, helps employees to think more freely, unimpeded by known structures and existing restrictions. Ideally, teams would be able to focus 100% for a defined period on developing new ideas without the constant influence of the core organization.
- Dialog with externals and “the ecosystem”: The well-known concept of “out of the box thinking” is above all inspired by contact with others. It is especially the free exchange of ideas with sparring mates outside their own organization, outside the industry, and startups that helps a team develop new thought processes and ideas.
- The right experts: When it comes to innovation, we need the right sparring partners. The ideal solution is to appoint an external mentor from the industry and have access to a pool of experts from outside the industry on specific topics.
- Empowerment: Teams must be empowered to break through barriers and employ start-up measures. On the one hand, this involves passing on expertise, new innovation methods and user-centric work. On the other hand, it includes coaching on a personal level, so that the team can adopt these new methods and effectively implement them.
In reality however, many traditional companies and medium-sized corporations cannot create an environment with these success factors. The risk tolerance in the core organization is often too low and there is a lack in internal know-how to develop fast and customer-oriented innovations.
How co-pace wants to drive innovation
When etventure launched the new wavespace innovation centre in Berlin Kreuzberg in November 2018, co-pace had already reserved spaces for three teams. Continental, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, hopes to boost its innovative capacity and agility through its start-up organization co-pace. The automotive supply industry is facing the biggest challenges in years: low predictability due to radical changes in the market situation, competition from tech start-ups, dwindling margins and the changing role of mobility in society.
Co-pace addressed this situation, in the form of the incubation program mvp.Builder. In less than four months, new products, especially services and software, are scheduled for launch in wavespace. The first step was to internally select teams and concepts.
Using the ecosystem and becoming more agile – even at the grill
It became clear fairly quickly that creative heads were at work here, who want to develop new solutions for their company. Heike Kraft, Enablement & Transformation Lead at etventure, is fascinated by the wealth of ideas coming from co-pace employees: “The teams were very keen to turn their ideas into working products – we provided them with the right tools and supported them on the path there with all other necessities.” In a total of nine workshops with etventure experts and coaches, the employees were trained in a range of fields: hypothesis-based work, agile project management, building and testing of prototypes, creation of business cases, pitches in front of stakeholders and change management. They were also invited to a “Scrum BBQ” event, where they could learn together and reinforce the team spirit with everyone including the stakeholders.
Precisely the methods they adopted enabled the teams to work speedily in the first place, as they networked simultaneously with start-ups and potential customers from the wavespace ecosystem and discovered the advantages of cooperation with them. The support of the industry mentors and 24/7 on-site support from etventure ensured the implementation of the ideas in four months. Even Jürgen Bilo, co-pace’s Managing Director, found the setting decisive in driving fast and customer-oriented innovation: “wavespace was the unrivaled partner for our mvp.Builder incubation program – the start-up environment and the creative space for teams were the clinching arguments, as was the uncomplicated access to experts and coaches.”
Presenting the results to a large audience
The final results vindicate the work in “creative spaces”: In next to no time, co-pace developed new innovative products and thus potential revenue sources that had already been tested with customers. Among these were, for example, three service-based products focusing on different vehicle fleets, such as car sharing or construction sites. In the “crowning finale” of the Demo Days, internal company stakeholders and start-ups could witness for themselves how the co-pace employees transformed their thought processes and see the resulting new products – this time in an “open space” in front of 120 guests.
wavespace Berlin: From November 2018 until May 2019