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  THE FOUR PILLARS OF BOGE’S CULTURE OF INNOVATION
“There’s more pressure
on margins in our sector.
At the same time, mega-
trends like autonomous
driving and electromobility
are offering opportunities
we don’t want to pass up.” TORSTEN BREMER
CEO Boge Rubber & Plastics
Following the first open stage of identifying ideas, the projects then undergo subsequent stages of rigorous analy- sis, which in many cases lead to rejection. Like that for de- velopment engineer Herbort. He and two colleagues spent a good four weeks polishing their scooter proposal down to the last detail. “We wanted a product with as much in-house pro- duction depth as possible—and one that’s on the cool side,” he says. “It’s great to have the freedom to approach development heads directly.” Unfortunately for Herbort, he didn’t manage to spark the same level of enthusiasm in his listeners today. In the eyes of the managers, there are simply too many compet- itors and no truly unique feature to his concept. So there will not be a Boge scooter. “It’s not just a matter of our technical capacities; there also has to be a market for it,” says Loheide, who seems almost more sorry about the rejection than the developer himself. “It’s important for the employees to realize they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong even if they don’t suc- ceed with their ideas right here.” On the contrary. As he puts it, “Innovation management deliberately fosters uncertainty.”
This willingness to take risks, to allow for failure, and to draw inferences from what can be sketchy evidence is the opposite of what most people have associated with German engineering in the past. “You can order colorful chairs and put up marker boards, but the hardest thing is to change the cul- ture,” says Bremer. He describes how employees keep revert- ing to their tried and true behavior and successful patterns of the past. “The recoil forces are huge,” he observes.
That is one of the reasons why the company has estab- lished a new innovation center thirty kilometers away, at the center of the campus of Osnabrück University. It will initially have fifteen creative minds working on new solutions in direct dialogue with university researchers. “We’re right in the middle of all the action there. That helps us recruit talented new people,” notes Bremer. The personnel will work on a ro- tation basis. This is critical to help us ensure that the innova- tion lab does not become an ivory tower of sorts, one without any connection to the company. The CEO is already excited about the creative ideas generated during the set-up peri- od. “There’s a completely new atmosphere now—ideas keep bubbling up all the time.”
Strategy
Acquiring new market segments: A clear focus on core areas of expertise shows what is possible and what is not.
Processes
Promoting innovation management and preliminary development: New ideas are rapidly identified and evaluated.
SO PM
Organization
Joining forces: The Boge Innovation Center is developing ideas together with Osnabrück University.
People
Fostering change: Employees present their ideas to top management on pitch days. The best ideas are put into practice.
        EXPERTS IN VIBRATION TECHNOLOGY
The Boge Rubber & Plastics automotive supplier is a leading producer of technical solutions for minimizing vehicular vibra- tions and noise. Recent developments include accelerator and brake pedals made of highly stable plastic. Headquartered in Damme in the state of Lower Saxony, the company has 4,200 employees at ten sites in seven countries. Formerly a subsid- iary of ZF Friedrichshafen, it is now part of the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer, the Chinese state-owned CRRC Corporation Limited.
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Photos BOGE










































































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