Further thinking, lateral thinking, and rethinking – to stay ahead.
2,334 patent registrations in 2015

Culture of Innovation

Innovation Process

The systematic innovation process is the fundamental precondition for driving forward our innovation projects in both an effective and efficient way. It is important that the stages in making a decision are transparent to all participants and that the entire process is designed in a creative yet systematic way.

How do innovations emerge at Schaeffler?
Our video clip answers this questions and shows how we foster creativity, work as a team und therefore seek commitment. Join our innovation manager and all involved persons on their journey from identification of opportunities via idea generation to the evaluation of innovation proposals.

Three essential process steps

We always follow three essential process steps in our innovation projects and apply specially developed methods for analysis, creativity, assessment and decision-making in each of these phases. We work together in interdisciplinary teams, drawing members from various market sectors and functional units, which are chaired by promoters from Corporate Innovation Management.

Identifying search fields

In the first phase, various perspectives such as competences, product portfolio, trends and customer requirements as well as strategic objectives are analysed. The important initiator in this phase is the customer (voice of the customer). Integrating the customer in the innovation process at an early stage ensures a high degree of customer focus. Among the methods used here is the lead user method.

Generating ideas

In the second phase, concept solutions are generated for the search fields or problems that have been identified and have the best prospects. Various experts join forces in interdisciplinary workshops. It is not necessary that all the participants are already acquainted with the problem. It is rather the case that persons are consciously drawn into the process who can bring with them a new, detached way of looking at the problem. Through this interdisciplinary and heterogeneous collaboration, possible approaches are developed jointly that go beyond the knowledge horizon of any individual participant.

Evaluating innovation projects

In the third phase, business sketches are ultimately prepared for the concept solutions that give an integrated analysis from a market and engineering perspective. These provide a comparison of, for example, the costs of implementation and the benefits. This is how technical ideas become business ideas. Based on the analysis, the business ideas described are prioritised and approved for further processing in a development project.

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