Companies are often faced with the challenge of having to develop innovative solutions for already well-known problems. One way to find particularly imaginative and often unexpected new ideas is a student competition: Use cases are solved by students of different universities, such as the renowned Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH). For now seven years the FIR at the RWTH Aachen organises a creativity competition in co-operation with the Walter Eversheim donation. Since its foundation in 2015, the Center Smart Services has also been actively involved in the implementation of the competition. Every year, students from all disciplines are asked to solve the problems of new business partners. Whether it is an innovative service for fitness wristbands, new business models for industrial machine-to-machine applications or concepts for intelligent spare parts logistics – every year the Case Competition offers students the opportunity to work on practice-relevant topics, to get to know internationally operating companies and to convince them with their creative solutions.
In recent years, more than 250 students have already taken advantage of the opportunity to get a taste of practical experience at international companies. Siemens, Philips, Lufthansa Technik Logistik, Deutsche Telekom, StreetScooter, DMG Mori, SMS Digital, Bosch Thermotechnik, KUKA Robotics and Materialise, for example, have been among the participants in recent years. The students were able to develop and present their own solutions for realistic practical problems. In recognition of their concepts, the winners will receive attractive prizes for their inventiveness. But the participating companies also benefit from having external, interdisciplinary teams work on a problem that is relevant to them. The often quoted “look beyond the end of the nose” offers companies the opportunity to tackle problems with fresh ideas. The projects of recent years have shown that student solutions sometimes have such great potential that companies want to implement them directly in their business processes. Often the students themselves get the chance to do so by completing an internship at the company following the competition or by writing their thesis there and, as a result, being involved in the implementation of their idea themselves – a win-win situation for both parties.
Would you like to play an active part in our competition and have interdisciplinary teams of creative young students work on a use case you provided? Let yourself be inspired by the case competitions of the last few years and contact us for more Information – Marcel Faulhaber is happy to help.
The current Crowd Innovation Partner is the Ford Research And Innovation Center Aachen, a research facility of Ford-Werke AG in Germany. Students are challenged to come up with solutions for the following task: “Define the commercial vehicle of the future through development of new innovative business models and services around the Ford Transit”.
The Ford Research & Innovation Center in Aachen employs around 350 people from 28 different nations, who work on individual mobility solutions for the future. One of the research topics of the interdisciplinary team is, for example, ideas regarding semi-automated driving. Driving assistance systems such as lane assistance or pedestrian recognition are some results of the research facility that are already in use today.
In addition to participating in the competition, students at RWTH Aachen University have the opportunity to register for the Service Design & Engineering lecture and receive credit points for their work: The development of new service offerings, especially those related to business development, is becoming increasingly important for companies in all industrial sectors. The lecture Service Design & Engineering therefore aims to give participants a comprehensive picture of available methods and skills that can support the development of new services. The lecture is based on various case studies, which are worked on in smaller teams. The lecture teaches participants different methods and strategies and gives students the chance to show what they have learned – the ideal preparation for a successful participation in the Case Competition. The lecture takes place in both winter and summer semesters and is held in English. Erasmus and exchange students are cordially invited to participate.
The second case competition partner in 2018 was Materialise, an expert in the 3D printing industry. Following the overall motto “Your idea for Materialise”, students were invited to come up with creative new ideas for a specific imaginary problem of the company. The winners have been chosen! This year’s Case Competition was again very successful and brought with it many innovative, creative solutions. We would like to thank all those involved, especially our case partner Materialise, the Walter Eversheim Foundation and the creative students who took part!
In 2018, our first competition partner was Kuka Group – a global Automation Company with sales revenues of around 3 Billion euro and a workforce of approximately 13,200 worldwide. The winning teams of this years` competition have been announcend and they were presented with their prizes. Participants of the competition had to develop innovative Business models and Services for Kuka Robotics or take on a different point of view by imagineing being in the role of a Kuka competitor – trying to take over some of the market Shares Kuka currently holds. The winning team, RoLeP, consisted of Carolin Hamm and Christian Papp, both students at the RWTH Aachen University. Their solution consisted of an innovative learning platform, which allows customers and servic technicians to be trained directly with Kuka roboters with the help of AR/VR Technologies.
Bosch is one of the biggest Technology companies operating in the area of automotive components, industrial products and building products. The innovative German Company serves customers worldwide with more than 390.000 employees and achieved a Revenue of € 73.1 billion in 2016. Bosch Thermotechnology is the leading European manufacturer of thermotechnology with € 3.3 billion sales Revenue in 2016. The company offers its customers throughout the world solutions for their room climate domestic hot water and decentralized energy Management requirements. Highly efficient technologies which also in many cases use renewable energies and make a significant contribution to implementing the energy transition. The product portfilio ranges from floor-standing and wall-hung boilers and water heaters to solar thermal systems, heat pumps for heating and cooling and on to large-scale commercial and industrial systems such as industrial boilers, CHP plants and waste heat recovery systems for industrial processes. Challenge 2017/2: Develop new connectivity based business models and services along the customer journey of heating systems.
Royal Philips is one of the biggest technology companies operating in the area of electronics, healthcare and lighting. The innovative Dutch company serves customers worldwide with more than 100.000 employees and achieved a revenue of € 24.2 billion in 2015. Royal Philips is divided in three divisions: Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Healthcare and Philips Lighting. Philips Lighting produce pioneering new developments in the field of high-quality, energy-efficient LED lighting for both business customers and end-consumers. Philips Lighting’s future objective is to use the internet of things to transform lighting into a completely networked world – at home, in buildings and in urban Areas. Challenge 2017: Develop new value adding services for customers in the professional lighting market (B2B).
SMS digital is a newly founded subsidiary of the SMS Holding. The company is set up as a start-up incubator for digital products for SMS group´s customers. SMS digital follows an entrepreneurial approach towards business and will work closely with SMS group’s business units to develop and sell products, which add value to the customers. The unit uses the design thinking method as well as lean start-up principles to act quickly and efficiently. Challenge 2016/2: Invent the future of services, based on digital documentation!
DMG MORIS’ range of products includes innovative high-tech machines and services, as well as software and energy solutions, offered to a wide variety of customers in diverse regions and industries. In order to supply customers with all kinds of spare parts in size and weight, the DMG MORI SPARE PARTS GMBH deals with the overall organization of a worldwide spare parts supply chain. Within the daily business, parts have to be purchased and sold with the goal to fulfill customers’ expectations – a high spare parts availability at almost any place of the world – best. Challenge 2016/1: Innovative strategies for smart logistics of the future.
StreetScooter was founded in 2010 in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen. StreetScooter is based on the idea to make electric mobility economically attractive – not only for large quantities but also when only small volumes are requested. Thus, economy and ecology should be reconciled. The company is based in Aachen where electronic vehicles are developed and produced for short-range use. The current portfolio includes various types of vehicles, a compact car for everyday use, pedelecs as well as lightweight prototypes. Challenge 2014/2015: Develop your concept for car-to-cloud application services in the context of B2C and B2B.
The Deutsche Telekom has 144 million mobile customers and 32 million network line clients as well as 17 million broadband lines. The company is one of the leading integrated telecommunications companies worldwide (as of June 30th, 2013). The company provides products and services regarding the areas landlines, mobile networks, internet and IPTV for private and business customers. Challenge 2013/2014: Design your concept of a business model for M2M applications in the industrial context!
With a clear structure in the fields of industry, energy, health care and infrastructural solutions, Siemens is the leading provider of innovative products, technologies and solutions. The company employs approx. 360.000 employees in over 190 countries worldwide. The company, founded over 160 years ago, supports its customers with innovative techniques and extensive know-how for the solution of their business and technical challenges. Challenge 2012/13: Develop your own concept of a business model for technological based Value Services in the automobile industry of Siemens AG.
Lufthansa Technik Logistik GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG. They offer pioneering logistics solutions for the aviation industry. The product portfolio includes the entire range of spare part logistics, high specialised engine transports and globally networked distribution solutions. They also offer instant material procurement and material supply, organisation and optimisation of repair cycles, proper storage and distribution as well as a worldwide 24-hour service. Challenge 2011/2012: Develop your own concept for the use of innovative technologies at the logistics specialist in the aviation industry Lufthansa Technik Logistik.
Royal Philips Electronics is responsible for health topics and well-being based in the Netherlands. The company´s focus is on improving the quality of people´s lives and creating innovative solutions in the area of health care, consumer lifestyle and lighting. Philips employs approx. 122.000 employees in more than 100 countries. The company generated a turnover of 22.6 billion Euros in 2011. Royal Philips Electronics is a market leader in cardiology, emergency medicine, health care at home and energy efficient lighting solutions. Challenge 2010/2011: “Philips DirectLife, get fit your way”