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.

Get in touch

NineSigma Europe BV

Koning Leopold I straat 3
B-3000 Leuven

+32 16 24 42 80



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