(GERMANY)

Daimler’s passion for nurturing a flexible culture of innovation is again in evidence as it announces plans to unlock the potential of the pioneers in its ranks.

‘Business Innovation’, the company’s ‘innovation factory’ for the past decade is to become Lab1886, and support intrapreneurs and others take a speedy route from idea to product or business model.

“For ten years, Business Innovation has driven forward new ideas and projects that perpetuate the pioneering spirit of our founders and promote a culture of innovation throughout the entire company. This success story will be now continued with Lab1886. It means intelligently combining our business with agile methods and an unconventional approach from the startup world in order to successfully develop new and innovative business models to market maturity,” said Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Finance.

As well as Berlin and Stuttgart in Germany, the Lab1886 platform will also be installed in Beijing and Sunnyvale, in America. The environment will mirror that of a startup to maximise the potential of the individuals taking part. Flat structures and creative spaces will be used to accelerate the passage of ideas through to market-ready innovations.

Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886, said: “By transforming to Lab1886, we are creating a new space in which our internal thinkers, specialist departments and business units can produce first-class innovations in a high implementation environment. We are goal-oriented, professional and act with inspiring team spirit to develop new solutions for the mobility of the future. ”

Daimler is also working with urban air taxi startup, Volocopter, as it positions itself to take a leading role in the burgeoning vertical mobility industry.

Volocopter is developing a range of electric drone-like aircraft, from one to four seaters, as well as a pair of unmanned delivery drones. The VC200 – for two people – will be unveiled at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt next month.

Thomson Reuters is another big name tapping into the wealth of talent in its midst. We recently caught up with the company’s Senior Vice President, Innovation, Katherine Manuel, to find out what practical steps the company is taking in this area.

“Allowing our employees to experiment and try new approaches that they think will delight customers, streamline processes or improve methods is extremely important. We conduct and sponsor lean experimentation and design thinking workshops across the globe that give people the tools and grant people permission to experiment constructively. We have woven innovation into our company-wide training programs to ensure that employees know it matters and they feel invited to participate. We’ve created a seed fund, called the Catalyst Fund, to provide financial support and mentorship to our intraprenuers. The oversight committee meets once a month and our CEO attends every meeting to hear the progress of each of the teams.  We understand that our employees are our most valuable asset and we want them to feel empowered in their roles,” Katherine told us.