Daimler Business Innovation

A look behind the scenes, part 2.

A Daimler Way - how it began.

In our last contribution we shared detailed insights behind-the-scenes of Daimler Business Innovation. We undoubtedly mentioned car2go — a project that needs no introduction — that has arrived in major cities around the world and has struck gold in the mobility field. Of course, Business Innovation has developed more projects than this alone, and will continue to develop further into the future.


In 1981 I started at Daimler AG — a company known for innovative products — and although impressive, it was a far cry from what Business Innovation is today. Since 2011 I’ve been at the head of this division and I can look back with pride on a number of projects that have become central to Daimler AG’s success.

Business Innovation - as we know it - originated during a phase in which new growth gaps for Daimler AG were identified. Our goal was to identify business areas of growth potential that would complement existing core business with novel products. Scouting business potential as early as possible, the Business Innovation Lab has become an integral part of the Daimler Group - enjoying steady access to corporate resources with few legal restrictions.

What makes Business Innovation successful?

To ensure a creative work environment, project phases need to be much more flexible than in other divisions of Daimler AG. Decisions must be made as soon as possible, meaning we don’t follow many of the rules present in a typical approval structure. A lot of time allotted is spent on detailed testing during the development phase. Here we ensure that there’s always a fresh perspective on the project, also taking into account both internal and external testing environments. As soon as a business plan is ready, a decision is made on whether or not the product should go to market.

But often products are not as stable or ready for roll out - much like the now internationally renowned car2go was. If an idea promises a particularly profitable future, we try to bring the product into the testing phase as quickly as possible with the help of internal - and if necessary - external cooperation partners. In order to ensure the described steps, we work in a team of flat hierarchies - where each member can contribute input into the new processes. Top management provides the Business Innovation Lab with any necessary support and a philosophy firmly rooted in innovation management.

International mindset.

Through our mixed team structure we ensure that our projects never lose their creative claim – even as transnational intercultural exchanges take place. With a total of four business innovation offices in the US, China, Brazil and Argentina, the foundation has been laid for a lively exchange around the globe. All teams are in close contact with German headquarters so trends can be easily collected to develop potential business ideas.

car2go is a project that has now arrived in major cities around the world, and has spawned bold new ideas in the field of mobility. In 2012, the moovel app went public: a vision for mobility not only from the perspective of a car manufacturer but as a multilayered platform for urbanites on the go. The focus of the app is not only on users who are driving, but also for anyone needing to get to a destination as quickly as possible – with or without a car.

The next major milestone was introduced in 2014: Mercedes me. That’s correct, the very platform that you’re now reading. Its areas include move me, connect me, assist me, inspire me, finance me, and covers all services and offers that Mercedes-Benz provides to its customers. These areas are complemented by Mercedes me stores that exist in inviting urban locations around the world, providing customers with a stylish atmosphere in which to experience the brand’s offerings.

As with Mercedes me, Business Innovation is not always about physical products, but also about initiatives and concepts. One example is a project we presented in September titled She’s Mercedes. The project includes an Inspiration Circle that is specifically tailored for women and calls for cross-linking with the brand and other peers. Take a look and find out more here.

When considering the mobility of the future, we need to devise a reliable energy system in order to make its products a reality. That’s why we invented Mercedes-Benz energy storage – a device for home and business use — that will be the next step in independence from energy suppliers and sustainability in the future. More information can be found here.

Last but not least we’re proud to introduce our latest project: Mercedes-Benz Living @ Fraser. Of course our customers love their cars, and from autumn 2015 forward, Mercedes-Benz — in cooperation with the Fraser Hospitality Group – travelers will be able to experience the Mercedes-Benz design and comfort as well as brand-specific style cues in a living environment.

Always aiming higher.

Characteristics of the projects I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of during my time at Business Innovation are different in nature. In that very point you’ll find the key to the attraction – and of course the challenge – our team regularly faces. You can discuss any of our projects in the forum, including any ideas that you may have in the development course of our new projects!

This article was published by Business Innovation, Daimler’s lab for innovative business solutions. Please find us on Twitter as well as Instagram and join the discussion in the Business Innovation Forum.
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