How Volkswagen is building a launching pad for startups

Is this a good idea? Does it have prospects of being implemented in practice? These are questions that are being asked in the "Denk:Raum" (‘thinking room') of the Volkswagen Ideation Hub in Wolfsburg. Dr. Jennifer Sarah Geffers and her team are focusing their attention on an app programmed by a few creative minds of a startup. Does their concept make sense? Is there any demand? Are there better solutions? Following intensive discussions, the team agrees. The pilot project can be implemented within the company following a second, more detailed presentation. The major industrial group Volkswagen and the young startups are cooperating. It's as easy as that. The Volkswagen Group IT Ideation Hub makes it possible. 
At the Ideation Hub, experts from a variety of disciplines including economists and social scientists, engineers, computer scientists and marketing or design specialists work together in brightly lit open-plan offices with work islands and strategy boards scattered through them. Here, Geffers (39), who holds a doctorate in economics, and her team explore ideas for the digital future of the Volkswagen Group. And that is not all. If they identify an idea in the startup environment, they provide support for the entrepreneurs through to the implement­tation of the pilot project within the Group. The main focus is on the topics of new mobility, Industry 4.0 and the work of the future. The Ideation Hub concentrate especially on international startups. "We identify ideas and develop them together with the startup and the responsible specialist department to form a pilot project. We are the door-opener to the Volkswagen Group for startups," says Geffers.

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