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Success Story

Cutting to the chase together

The customer had a very large product range. An international group set about developing ideas for future products under Zühlke’s guidance and succeeded in coming up with concrete plans for innovations in just two days.

Task

Innovation requires time. Jig-saw blades, cutting discs, milling cutters or drills? Which new products could boost the company’s market share in the years ahead? An international group worked out concrete ideas on this subject. In a two-day innovation workshop run by a Zühlke expert, specialists scoped out new approaches beyond the confines of daily business.

Implementation

Innovation requires methodology. Together with Zühlke, the customer determined what it required and expected of the innovation workshop. The Zühlke expert then devised a methodological approach for the planned two-day event.

In a first step, three heterogeneous groups conducted a wide-ranging search for new ideas and evaluated them independently according to set criteria.

Initial product ideas were then derived from the categorization of these approaches and presented to all participants. Later, participants from different units in the company (Engineering, Marketing, Production) gave power presentations.

These talks yielded valuable suggestions on adding depth to and fleshing out the product ideas generated earlier. With the help of an innovation referee, the participants selected five ideas to pursue. Evening chats helped to promote the international exchange and gave participants a chance to get to know each other better.

Day two began with a summary of the previous day. The top five product ideas were discussed. New ideas were added, others were dropped. Three groups separately drew up rough plans for the top five product ideas, taking into consideration costs and deadlines, opportunities and risks. Then the groups were all brought back together to consolidate the group work and determine how to proceed.

Customer benefits

  • The efficient, methodical approach allowed the customer to arrive at five concrete product ideas in very short order.
     
  • As an outsider, the Zühlke expert running the workshop helped the group to overcome communication barriers and ensured that all specialty areas were given equal treatment in the process. He was impartial in assessing the ideas and focused the discussions on essential matters.
     
  • He also injected expertise from other sectors, which helped to move the groups forward.

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