Lab1886. The global innovation machinery

Innovation was and is one of the main drivers of the sustainable success of Daimler. Established in 2007, Lab1886 is supporting the company with innovative models to master the challenges of the future.

The best innovation ecosystem.

Innovation is the venture of turning the visions on their heads, questioning existing principles and knocking them down if needed. This requires courage, perseverance and a place to tinker – a garage, for example. When Gottlieb Daimler left Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz, nobody had any idea that he would reinvent mobility in a garage in 1886.

Lab1886 Contactcontinues the tradition of this culture of innovation. It is the nucleus of a global innovation ecosystem where new business models are conceived, tested and made fit for the market. The incubator works along the four basic pillars of the corporate strategy CASE, at whose center is the mobility of the future. We define it based on four focal topics: Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive. Many of the business models that are firmly rooted in the company today were created here – for example, car2go, moovel or Mercedes me. It is therefore no wonder that Lab1886 is in first place among the leading innovation labs in Germany.

The goal of Daimler’s corporate incubator is to move faster from an idea to a product or business model. Lab1886 thus supports Daimler AG in transforming itself from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider by exploring new fields outside the core business – focusing on the digital sphere.

To symbolize this new approach, Lab1886 has reinvented the four-pointed star – an emblem patented by Gottlieb Daimler’s two sons in 1909, when the fourth spike was interpreted as “space”. About 100 years later Lab1886 proudly present its new logo. With narrower prongs, the star has been rotated and now looks like an X, symbolizing the secret, the next level or unknown future – to signify the upcoming changes.

The global talent factory.

Lab1886 has a magnetic attraction for talents. As a global innovation network, it has long since become an established force in the innovation centers of this world: with locations in Stuttgart, Berlin, Beijing and Atlanta.

For one thing, this comes courtesy of the strong team spirit of the employees. Anyone working here knows: innovation is only possible collectively. For another, it is the unconventional way in which innovative business models are developed from new ideas. Only the best ideas have a chance of being advanced. Defined milestones and transparent processes structure the work in the incubator. If an idea does not stand this stress test, it is discarded – for example, if the project isn't scalable or conceivably does not lead to the desired success. In this way, Lab1886 combines the knowledge of the corporate group with the speed and culture of startups in an intelligent way.

The philosophy of Lab1886.

Innovation is not by chance. Innovation follows a plan. Driven by the passion to make the unimaginable possible, people experiment with the known and put it together in new ways. To this end, Lab1886 has its own philosophy divided into three consecutive phases: ideation, incubation, commercialization.

Every innovation process starts with an idea. After it has been validated in-house, it is forwarded to the “shark tank” – an expert panel that decides on how to proceed.

The ideas selected by the shark tank are now tested for feasibility and scalability. The teams around the idea provider are given additional support to this end in the form of coaching, mentoring by outstanding executives, own co-working spaces and workshops, as well as financial support. In this inspiring work climate, short-term sprints are used to jointly develop new prototypes and design effective pilot projects.

Projects that have proven to be resilient and viable are commercialized. In this final step, ventures are built and our fledgling products or services are rolled out into the global market.

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