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JANUARY - MARCH 2016
 
Tim Lüken about ...
 

INNOVATION MANAGEMENT 4.0


Or: How to confront the challenges of increasing digitization and the complexities of business, and why innovation needs to go beyond thinking about just products.

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Tim Lüken has had an interesting career. After secondary school he couldn't quite decide whether to pursue his talents in the trades or follow his "scientific curiosity" for technology. So he did both: vocational training as a craftsman and industrial mechanic, and a course of study at the Georg-Simon-Ohm Technical College for Applied Sciences in Nuremberg. When that wasn't enough, he got a Masters in Business Innovation at the EBS Business School (Oestrich-Winkel), where he focused on a concept for an internal platform for open innovation – among other things.

In his free time he dedicates himself to traditional skills such as carpentry to keep the natural balance that people in this increasingly complex, digitized and industrialized world need, and to free his mind of all the talk of innovation and creative approaches that are part of his customer projects.

Christiane Steuer interviewed Tim Lüken:

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About technical challenges that fade next to the not-invented-here syndrome – and about time as a critical factor

Christiane: Tim, you were already involved in open innovation platforms during your studies. In your opinion, what are the most important challenges for companies and what factors need to be focused on when implementing innovation platforms?

Tim:
In addition to the technical challenges, this not-invented-here syndrome – a rejection of solutions from outside of one's own realm – is a huge stumbling block. And that doesn't mean just ideas from OUTSIDE the company. It often refers to ideas and approaches to solutions that come from INTERNAL sources that are immediately dismissed as soon as they stem from employees in another department or section. The not-invented-here syndrome is in my opinion the tallest hurdle when it comes to the successful implementation of anything new. Far too little time is dedicated to the process while more focus is placed on the cheapest solution. Many people apparently don't realize that an open platform for innovation is not just about fulfilling technical requirements but that by fostering playful elements of the process, for example, you can support the growth of a culture within the company.

Christiane: Industry has experienced some massive changes in recent years. "Industry 4.0" seems to have established itself in the minds of managers, even in medium-sized companies. What things REALLY need to be taken into consideration? And what can you tell us as an industrial mechanic about all of these developments?


About an abstract term that could become a joint "Industry 4.0" baby. And about walking the talk!

Tim: Like with all change, we need to make sure to "bring everyone along for the ride", across departments. For example, I have had a lot of great experiences working with people from production. Having access to different elements of an operation, you end up with very creative approaches to solutions. What has impressed me the most is the implementation rate that exists in production. If someone has a good idea in production, they don't discuss it much. They just push it through. They walk the talk! This type of approach would help with "Industry 4.0". The point is to integrate as many employees as soon as possible to then come up with new solutions to REAL problems together. This guarantees that even an "abstract" topic becomes immediately tangible for everyone, and everyone pulls together to make it happen.

Christiane: Innovation has become a more systematic process of late. Pure product innovation is no longer enough to satisfy the demands of the times. Things come to mind like securing affordable energy and water for seven to eight billion people over the coming decades, or developing new, environmentally sustainable transportation systems, etc. How should we be looking at innovation in times like these? In other words, how should "Innovation Management 4.0" look?


About managing dynamic needs, complexity and subsequent product development

Tim: I believe that in the future there will be less of the "one solution for all" concept. Requirements around the world are becoming increasingly different and they are changing constantly. In the context of mobility, for example, that means mobility in urban zones are totally different than in rural areas. There is also a difference between whether the user group is affluent or poor. And if you are distinguishing between industrialized and developing countries there is a large degree of complexity involved in terms of the various requirements that need to be met on a global level.

To create these structures and successfully master this complexity will be the main job of innovation management in the future. We need to be able to formulate a "clean" version of the needs in order to develop topic and trend areas, which will then allow us to develop products that address the needs of the user in question.

Christiane: Thanks for talking with us!

 
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We regularly introduce our IMP employees in the form of an interview. Come back and have a look at our web site to meet our colleagues. The interviews may have some interesting information that applies to your field!


 



ARTICLE 01-03/2016

 


"To create these structures and successfully master this complexity will be the main job of innovation management in the future," emphasizes Tim Lüken in our interview, and he knows what he's talking about. For many years he worked at Schaeffler Technologies AG &Co. KG as a specialist in innovation. management. Now he is bringing his expertise to IMP

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