Many outstanding ideas are created at Mercedes-Benz. The reason for this is that we have experienced and well trained employees throughout the company who know best how to further develop their specialist units or vehicle components. Our goal is to make sure such employees get the support they need.
Our Innovation Studio: A creative workbench
The Innovation Studio was established in order to leverage untapped potential at the company. For 20 years, it has served as the center of all efforts to inspire and support the creativity and inventive spirit of Daimler employees.
At the Innovation Studio, we plan and conduct interdisciplinary design-thinking workshops with employees, external experts, and customers. Thanks to our interactive networked whiteboards, these workshops can also be held simultaneously at several different locations.
In the process, our modular and open spaces at the heart of the Daimler R&D Center provide a playground for all types of creative processes with a wide range of innovation and ideation techniques, for example, for the creation of a steering wheel prototype.
Smart ideas for the smart
Our InnoGarage has a particularly creative atmosphere. For a specific period of time, which could be up to a few months, the InnoGarage is transformed into a closed project space used by an interdisciplinary team. Released from their normal tasks, the participants can think freely, try out new things, and test rapidly designed prototypes with invited customers.
A group from smart was one of the first teams to use our InnoGarage. Back in 2008, the group began working on ideas in the Innovation Studio, and most of these ideas have made their way into the current smart model series. One example is the special through-loading feature that makes it possible to fit an IKEA BILLY* shelf unit into the vehicle without any problems.
* IKEA and BILLY are registered trademarks of Inter IKEA Systems B.V.
An all-round experience — over and over again
We use 360° VR recordings to keep the results of our workshops accessible after they’re over. A simple VR headset made of cardboard is all it takes to take another look at the previously built prototypes at any desk — and see the same 3D panorama as the future driver of this vision of the future.
The Innovation Studio and the InnoGarage: Together with our participants, we ensure that Mercedes-Benz is prepared for the future from within and that creative potential at the company is never left untapped.
Design thinking: Thinking like a customer
Our design-thinking workshops focus on customers from the very beginning. The workshop approach is based on user studies that utilize a broad range of techniques to obtain information on customer insights. Such techniques include interviews, online surveys, driving studies conducted in the driving simulator or on the test track, and psychological analyses — also in China and the U.S
We consolidate this in-depth understanding to create “personas” — imaginary figures who represent the typical values, needs, lifestyles, and preferences of a specific customer group. We project these “personas” into future worlds in order to use them as a point of departure for developing various ideas in the design-thinking process.
The resulting ideas and concepts are immediately tested using quick prototyping procedures and then refined in our InnoGarage and tested extensively with real customers. This enables us to gauge the feasibility and customer acceptance of such concepts before we begin further development with expensive hardware. All interim steps can be recreated anytime using the 360-degree documentation system that we developed ourselves.
Our diverse multidisciplinary team of customer experts and creative coaches with an international background is very heterogeneous, and team members constantly motivate workshop participants to reach new heights of creativity. Our team is thus just as important to our recipe for success as our focus on the future and on the user, our diversity, and our use of rapid iteration.