Big success for wattx at the Siemens Hannover Messe 2018 challenge

wattx was invited to pitch industrial solutions for Mittelstand clients as part of the Siemens Mindsphere Innovation Challenge. The team competed with different challengers, from seasoned consultants to academia and, as a result, went home with 3 wins out of 4 pitches, a lot of good learnings and happy shared moments. Here’s more about the why, how and the next steps.

Why we went there

During a meeting with Siemens we were explaining what it means to wattx to be a deep tech venture builder and how we are now doing innovation projects with our partners. This sparked Claus Cremers, from Siemens’ MindSphere team, to introduce us to their open challenge that they were doing with their partners as part of the Hannover Messe. Mittelstand companies could present their challenges as part of an open challenge and teams could apply to win with their intended solution or approach. The prize would be the opportunity to execute the project with the company and to get 6 months free developer access to MindSphere’s platform - a double win from our perspective!

Our intrinsic motivation for taking on the challenge was to:

  • interact with other players in our field of interest;
  • test our approach to innovation projects and how it is received
  • assess if we can really work with these great companies to build something inspiring

After going through the challenges we realised that most of them were well aligned with our focus on industrial IoT and industry 4.0. Thus, we could contribute to these projects in a meaningful way. The challenge - the Messe was in two weeks and we only had three days to scope, research and ideate on the problems and come up with a concept that we would be proud to present. Never wanting to back down from a challenge and feeling that something great could come of this we decided “game on”!

What we achieved

We decided to pitch for 4 projects where we felt we could make a meaningful impact. 2 possible prizes were up for grabs per pitch: an online vote for what the public thought was the best pitch and the award from the client for the pitch they liked the most. Ultimately, the prize we were most interested in was the client’s decision, as this would result in the possibility to execute the proposed solution.

Our process - breaking the problem down into elephant sandwiches

Frankly, all 11 presented challenges seemed extremely interesting. However, we only had three days and limited resources. Thus, we had to decide where to focus our efforts. We took hints from various sources on which companies were looking for external support to execute the solutions and from that we created a shortlist of 7 challenges. From those, we looked at where we had strong insights from our team’s expertise and where we could apply learnings from past projects where the challenges had transferable insights. We had found our 4 projects to focus on!

At wattx we strongly believe in the adage attributed to Einstein that, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes defining the problem and the last five minutes solving it routinely.” Thus, our next step was to assign a project owner who would:

  • Do desktop research on the domain and assess the status quo both from a technological and a stakeholder perspective - it is critical to be clear about who this is a problem for, who is affected by it and what the consequences are
  • Build a stakeholder map showing the needs and main activities of each stakeholder and the interactions between the stakeholders
  • Compose a comprehensive brief of the problem to generate empathy within the ideation teams
  • Formulate powerful “How might we” questions to ideate on

From there we conducted ideation sessions with multidisciplinary teams, comprised of members from all four wattx operational teams (UX strategy, venture development, tech and data science), and came up with holistic, novel solutions to these challenges.

What now?

We are currently in talks with the companies for the challenges we won to align on how to execute these projects and have a successful outcome for all parties involved. This is ideal for wattx as these are the exact problems our team was built to solve. Combining the skills in our team with the domain expertise and excellence of the partner companies and Siemens MindSphere platform creates a recipe for success.

Thank you Siemens MindSphere team for giving us the opportunity to present ourselves at Hannover Messe and thank you to those companies for giving us such interesting and challenging cases to work on - we are very much looking forward to the next step of making those solutions a reality!

You may also like