W&W Digital is one of Germany’s best innovation labs

More and more large companies are establishing digilabs, innovation hubs or accelerators. The aim is to develop new future-oriented digital ideas and business models and to breathe more entrepreneurship and modernity into the company as a whole. But what are these digital labs actually for? To find out, the business magazine Capital together with Hamburg management consultancy Infront Consulting carried out an extensive study and put the various initiatives under the microscope.  W&W Digital was also included in this – and came out well in 6th place out of a total of 34 innovation hubs.

The joint venture between von Wüstenrot & Württembergische and etventure, which was established at the end of 2015, has now developed into a real company builder. The start-ups that have emerged under the umbrella of W&W Digital include Homewise, a platform for rating properties, the treatment app Therap.io and Keleya, an app-based health coach for pregnant women. W&W Digital has also developed and tested many other ideas in the fields of insurtech, proptech and healthtech.

W&W Digital’s impressive methodology, scaling and network

In Capital’s ranking, W&W Digital scores mainly on the aspects of methodology, i.e. the approach to developing business models, and the scaling of new ideas. W&W Digital’s network – through which the sector expertise of Wüstenrot & Württembergisch and the start-up expertise and digital ecosystem of etventure can be accessed – also gained top marks in the study. However, there were lower ratings in terms of integration and connections with the rest of the company. A problem that is not W&W Digital’s alone: “Involving companies in innovation labs is currently the biggest hurdle,” according to the study’s authors.

Ultimately, W&W Digital is ranked 6th out of a total of 34 digital labs – making it one of Germany’s best innovation hubs, on a par with the initiatives of Deutscher Bahn, Hermes and the Deutsche Bank Digital Factory.

There are ideas, but not (yet) any real sales

The study had academic input from Julian Kawohl, Professor at HTW Berlin, who has already supported etventure on the “Digital Transformation 2017” study. He said: “What works is generating ideas. That’s where the labs have made great progress. What is lacking is companies’ readiness to make resources available in a big way.” And: “No company has developed significant new business through its lab.” Nevertheless, companies’ enthusiasm continues unabated and the number of digital labs in German corporations continues to increase. And, hopefully, W&W Digital will soon be one of the innovation hubs that doesn’t just generate good ideas but also creates real sales.

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Doris Bärtle ist PR Managerin bei etventure. Zuvor arbeitete sie im Bereich Unternehmens- und Markenkommunikation und im Event Management.

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