Innovation for Siemens Can Come from Unexpected Channels

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Why this initiative?

A few years ago, the Corporate Innovation Team at Siemens realized it became strategically important to search for new solutions, technologies and partners beyond the traditional Siemens ecosystem. There was a need identified to accelerate the search for solutions on various and multiple technology challenges across all business units and business areas.

As stated by Siemens the world is “VUCA”: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Markets are changing faster than ever under the pressure of transformative forces (e.g. digitalization, sustainability); customers are volatile and come up with new needs every other day; new players are able to disrupt a market in no time, a good example is the development of Tesla in the automotive sector. Corporations must therefore be more responsive, open and agile.

Siemens has defined a compelling innovation strategy to foster both internal and external collaborations. In order to develop external collaborations, various “value pools” have been defined: academia, research, universities, start-ups, companies outside the Siemens traditional ecosystem, individuals with skills in digital, algorithm… Several initiatives have been launched to facilitate interaction with these “value pools”, such as hackathon, co-creation, accelerator, scouting activities…


One major initiative in this strategy is the “Open Call for Suppliers”, which resides on NineSights as a “Siemens Gallery”. This initiative helps Siemens target unknown technology partners in the world to solve technology challenges identified in the R&D roadmap of the various BUs.

This initiative has proven to be of a great success, not only because this initiative received a prestigious Siemens award in November 2017 for the best initiative in Supply Chain Management but also and foremost because of the reach to the external innovation communities it has provided:

  • This initiative has become a central piece of the Supply chain management to identify new partners and make Siemens more efficient.
  • Siemens has increased its network of technology partners in a significant way through the 80+ projects to date.
  • Many solutions found have accelerated the product development and have helped R&D teams solve some technology challenges.
  • The internal community of OI promoters at Siemens has literally grown from a few people to more than 2000 people. This community grows every day and helps change the cultural mindset from “The lab is our world” to “The world is our lab”.
  • The effort has so far brought in great amount of efficiencies, in terms of time and money, while accelerating time to market of many solutions.


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