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Creative ideas in the service of innovation: the Audi Think Tank

7.8.2018
Creative ideas in the service of innovation: the Audi Think Tank

In the heart of Berlin, a team of innovative minds is working on the premium mobility of the future.

Creativity, flexibility and agile thinking. That’s what it takes to work at the Audi Think Tank, the innovation lab located in Berlin which develops and implements digital business models for the premium mobility of tomorrow. It is located inside a co-working space shared with other start-ups: a particularly dynamic environment, spread over 14,000 square meters and five floors, where brilliant minds work on their ideas.

Location, team, task, method, goal and network: these are the key elements for the Audi Think Tank’s success. But as in all formulas, the variables in this situation are changeable and thus the result is always different. The team is made up of a manager and a core team of six people who have been aboard since the think tank’s founding. The core team is supported by fifteen Audi employees who dive into the Berlin ecosystem and the think tank on a rotating basis for six months. As Anna Trunk, team member responsible for strategy and relations, says: “Talent has no limits. That’s why a diverse team structure with employees from all hierarchies and business units achieves maximum variety of skills, connectivity and cultural transformation”.

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Flexible, cross-functional and project-bases – that’s how temporary participants work in the creative environment. In doing so, even short-term employees can benefit from a strong network that goes beyond the core organisation and continues to grow. Their work is divided into four teams, without any hierarchy and with a lot of individual responsibility on the different business models, which are focused on many fields.

The goal after six months is a valid business case that is attractive, efficient and feasible, which after its initial development phase can either be transferred from the think tank into the core organisation or become a spin-off company. Ideas are stopped if the business case or, above all, if the customer benefit isn’t apparent: this allows the team to learn from its mistakes and act rapidly, always leaving space for new ideas.

Being part of the Audi Think Tank means not only co-working but also co-living, as the employees live together in a shared flat with other Audi colleagues in order to take them out of their comfort zone and stimulate their creativity.

Rideguide is one of the digital services developed by the Audi Think Tank, dedicated specifically to tourists. “In Berlin, there are more than 4,500 restaurants, 360 tourist attractions and 190 bars, and this offer can quickly overwhelm tourists”, explain some of the team members who worked on the service. Users create their own profile or connect their social media account. They can also opt to choose a famous person to show them around the city, for example David Bowie for a tour with a focus on musical sights. Then, the preferred times of day and certain specific destinations can be specified; at this point, Rideguide suggests a personalised sightseeing route matching the user’s preferences. Recommendations on the app can be deleted and added, with the route updating itself accordingly.

The next step will be to connect this individual routing with other mobility forms and different devices. One of these is eKickboard, an electric scooter developed by Audi for the First & Last Mile market: in other words for commuters who move around by train, but still have to get from their house to the departure station and then from the station of arrival to their place of work, and then back again.

SourceAUDI Blog

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