To provide our customers with exciting products and tailored solutions for needs-oriented, safe and sustainable mobility, we need a constant supply of new ideas, creative solutions, and inventions. Successful research and development work is therefore the starting point and driving force of future corporate success. This requires extensive investments. In 2012, we spent a total of €5.6 billion on research and development, the same amount we invested in 2011.
In order to implement as many ideas as possible as quickly as possible, we have established certain processes for harnessing both creativity and customer utility. Our research and technology policy forms the strategic framework for innovation-oriented themes from the areas of research, science, and technology. With the help of our own futurology activities and technology monitoring measures, we ensure that our new solutions anticipate changing framework conditions and the future wishes of our customers. In addition, our Customer Research Center (CRC) conducts customer research and analyzes product acceptance to ensure that customer feedback and innovative ideas are incorporated into the development of new vehicles from the very start.
The organizational structure of innovation management
In order to further improve our company’s competitiveness, we need the knowledge and experience of all of our employees. But the perspectives of our customers, other drivers, and external experts are also valuable for us. That’s why we’ve developed tools and processes to include all of these resources in our idea development activities. We offer our employees web-based platforms that give them new opportunities to share their ideas, participate in constructive and creative discussions, and evaluate and further develop ideas.
Ideas management with idee.com!
Idea management (IDM). Through the idea management process, our employees contribute valuable experience from their daily work. In this way, they significantly help to optimize and further develop internal processes and procedures. In addition, our employees’ suggestions for improvements and their implementation support the product optimization process. Daimler introduced the IT-supported idea management system idee.com! at its locations in Germany in 2003. Thanks to an optimized workflow, suggestions for improvements can be submitted simply and directly via the intranet at idee.com! and thus be more easily processed and implemented. A great deal of time can be saved because the processing of the submitted ideas by managers, assessors, and the idea management staff is quick and paperless.
The intranet community for research and development. The RD Community platform has been available to Research & Development employees since 2009. On this intranet-based platform they can contribute suggestions, tips, and ideas on products, processes and facilities, and, as part of a collaborative process, read, discuss and refine all of the submissions.
Innovation Workshop. Every year, Daimler invites Mercedes-Benz drivers, customers of other automakers, and non-drivers to its Innovation Workshop. At this annual event, around 1,500 participants attend between 60 and 80 workshops. The aim of the workshop sessions is to discover new ideas and work on new products. The key criterion for evaluating the ideas is acceptance by the customers.
A platform for new business ideas. The BI Community created by the Business Innovation unit is a platform on which Daimler employees from all over the world can contribute, discuss, evaluate, and further refine their business ideas.
A network for IT innovations. Through the Open IT Innovation Network (OIN) Daimler registers, follows up, and implements IT innovations. Every Daimler employee whose work is related to IT can communicate his or her specific ideas via the OIN. The range of topics is defined by the areas of interest, which are derived from the innovation strategy of the IT management team. But ideas that cannot be categorized in these areas are also of interest to the IT community.
Pooling ideas for new financial services. The worldwide ideas platform myidea. that was launched in March 2010 is targeted at the employees of Daimler Financial Services. On this intranet platform they can discuss and refine their business ideas and share their thoughts about business ideas that have already been implemented.
Tools and resources
Chapter download (PDF)
My Sustainability Report
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