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Think Innovatively, Be Innovative.

Meeting Customer Needs with Professionalism and Speed

"With the new tools, we are much closer to customers and can incorporate their needs into our development work much faster." This is just one finding from the so-called lighthouse project work to which Koch-Chemie has devoted itself in recent weeks. Together with the management consultancy SPROUT, new, agile working techniques were explored and tried out in order to drive innovation power and speed.

Tuesday was Lighthouse Day and so Koch-Chemie employees from the various departments involved in a product development met. In view of the rapid changes in environmental and customer requirements, the question arose again and again as to how it would be possible to develop innovation successes in an even more targeted manner. The project team found answers to this question.

In this interdisciplinary collaboration between Research & Development, Product Management, Sales, Purchasing, Production and Marketing, the existing structures and processes were first critically examined: Where can processes be made more efficient? How does cross-departmental coordination work? Which values and perspectives have so far stood in the way of innovation work? The most important finding here was again and again that it is only possible to define an innovation and management process that is standardized and forms a framework but at the same time is flexible enough to respond to changing customer or market requirements through cross-departmental, organized collaboration. The team agreed: "The collaborative, cross-functional approach led us to understand problems and possible solutions much better."

Using real product ideas, the team learned about various methods that structure the process from idea generation to production and make it more efficient. Creativity, rethinking and the courage to try something new were required, for example, in prototyping. Some designs that might seem questionable at first glance turned out to be genius designs at second glance. Success was not long in coming: "The simplicity of the tools and the clarity of the evaluation criteria helped to massively reduce the complexity of our development projects." And, "The new ways of working and approaching things are just a lot more fun!"

The greatest success, however, is certainly that all the insights and positive experiences have not only been established in the form of new tools and approaches in everyday life, but have also triggered a cultural change that will make Koch-Chemie more agile and sustainable in the long term.

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