Award-Winning Laboratory for Hansgrohe Product Ideas
Schiltach, August 2022. Clever and top-selling product ideas don't fall from the sky. Inventing innovative products is a creative process that requires time and unconventional thinking. In addition to the classic research and development department, the Hansgrohe Group from Schiltach in the Black Forest also has an InnoLab since 2017. This think tank, located some miles away from headquarters and day-to-day business, takes a new approach to innovation development. "Creativity has to flow. Innovation teams should be able to block out distractions in order to playfully concentrate on the essentials," says Steffen Erath, Head of Innovation & Sustainability at the Hansgrohe Group, describing the way his 16-member team works. There is a clearly defined innovation process that is based on the way start-ups work. The teams enjoy a great deal of freedom in developing concepts. However, there are fixed meetings every three months, during which time progress is presented. An "InnovationBoard" decides, like an investor, which concept is to be pursued further or stopped. Since this year, sustainability has also played an even more important role: dedicated Green Innovation Teams have been set up to focus on sustainable and social innovations. "We are facing huge environmental and social problems. This decade is the decade of decisions," explains Steffen Erath. "We need a paradigm shift in innovation methodology: away from sole user-centricity to integrated planet-centricity. I believe especially here in Germany, in Europe, the epicenter of the sustainability movement, we have optimal conditions to give green innovations a chance."
Strong Sales and Award-Winning Products
With its motto "Explore new ways of water experience", the InnoLab seeks out additional growth opportunities beyond Hansgrohe's core business. The efforts and investments are worthwhile: the hansgrohe-branded digital products were originally launched in the Hansgrohe InnoLab - sophisticated and multisensory products that herald a new era of showering. Another highlight is the hansgrohe DogShower, a new type of shower head designed to meet the needs of dogs and their owners. Special water sprays and massage nozzles enable thorough and pleasant cleaning of fur and paws.
The Hansgrohe innovation team has now also been rewarded with 1st place in the “Industry” category by the business magazine Capital. For their study "Corporations on the Trail of Startups", management consultants Infront Consulting and Capital identified the most successful innovation units of corporations and medium-sized companies. The study's authors, Dr. Felix Lau and Lea-Theresa Münch, analyzed and evaluated the dimensions of growth & potential, speed and commercial success among the nearly 60 participating units. The study is available as a free download at www.infront-consulting.com
The Digital Lab Award was presented at an evening event on August 17, 2022 in Berlin. "With our first place, the Hansgrohe InnoLab is now a benchmark among innovation units in German-speaking countries," Steffen Erath is pleased to say. "With the right people, the right mindset and the right methodology, it is possible to innovate successfully, in line with the times and, above all, sustainably, even in an inconspicuous valley in the Black Forest."
About INFRONT CONSULTING & MANAGEMENT GMBH
Founded in 2004, Infront advises companies on strategy, innovation and transformation. Since 2018, Infront has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Munich-based KPS AG. Together, the companies leverage expertise and resources to guide clients from strategic alignment through the precise design of turnkey, industry-specific process chains to comprehensive technology and organizational implementation.
About CAPITAL Magazin
CAPITAL has been defining business journalism in Germany for 60 years. The brand's reputation has always been based on top expertise in the field of financial investments as well as creativity and analytical substance in reports on companies, the global economy and the major trends in our society. With its concept, CAPITAL is the most widely read business magazine in Germany (AWA 2021).
About the Hansgrohe Group – Setting the Beat of Water.
Since 1901. With its brands AXOR and hansgrohe, the Hansgrohe Group, based in Schiltach/Southern Germany, enjoys a reputation as a leader in innovation, design and quality within the bath and kitchen industry. Founded in 1901 in the Black Forest, the company gives water form and function with its faucets, showerheads and shower systems. The 120-year history of the company is marked by innovations, such as the first hand-held shower with multiple spray types, the first pull-out kitchen faucet, and the first wall bar to hold a hand-held shower.The company holds more than 18,500 active property rights. The Hansgrohe Group stands for long-lasting quality products and for responsibility towards people and the environment. Sustainable production of resource-conserving products is central to the company’s business activities around the globe. With 34 subsidiaries and 20 sales offices supplying products in 152 countries, the globally active company in the sanitary industry is a reliable partner to its customers in all regions of the world. The Hansgrohe Group, its brands and products have won numerous awards, including more than 700 design prizes since 1974. The products of the Hansgrohe Group are found worldwide: on renowned cruise ships, in luxurious 5-star and boutique hotels, in international metropolitan cities, in extraordinary spas, exclusive bathrooms of lodges and luxury villas, public facilities, as well as in countless private homes. The Group’s high quality standards are ensured by seven wholly-owned production facilities: four in Germany, one each in France, the United States and China. In 2021, the Hansgrohe Group generated a turnover of EUR 1.365 billion. It employs around 5,400 people worldwide, about 60 percent of whom work in Germany.