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A Clear Vision for a Creative Space Redesign

innoWerft Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Walldorf Stiftung GmbH

innoWerft Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Walldorf Stiftung GmbH is a regional start-up incubator connecting founders with a clear focus on IT and investors. With the help of a broad network, financing options, different coaching possibilities as well as a concrete focus on innovation innoWerft enables start-ups to transfer their ideas into reality. To foster collaboration, customer interaction and a people-centric mindset within their workspace, a common vision for the outdated interior design needed to be established as environments affect the way people feel, think and interact.


Establish a Creative Space in Existing Company Ecosystem

innoWerft hosts start-ups in a co-working space to help them grow their business. The SAP partner innoWerft recently moved to a new office building situated close to SAP’s headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. Despite modern equipment and plenty of office space, neither building nor interior layout promote an innovative way of working.

It is difficult to rollout or implement a creative redesign of workspaces with a pre-defined number of activities and steps. Especially given the fairly young corporate history of innoWerft, the workspace design required the development of an overall mission and strategy. To support this change, Leonie Fremgen (Project Lead & Strategic Design Consultant, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center) and Vera Geier (Internal Strategic Consulting, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center) worked in close collaboration with all members of the innoWerft crew. This is highly important as there is a tight correlation between personal interactions, flexibility and creative ideas, given that agile and collaborative working are essential prerequisites for innovation. While workspace plays a crucial role, it is equally important to consider the people and the methods within the physical surroundings.

The goal of this collaboration was to enable new ways of working through a newly designed spatial environment that should facilitate creative methodologies.


Understanding the Customer-Specific Context

To come up with a clear vision on innoWerft’s future environment, SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) conducted two hands-on workshops. An early analysis of the organizational environment and readiness on-site helped to gather initial impressions and ideas for the following design workshop.

During the scoping workshop, all participants worked on a common understanding of the actual usage context and purposes, defined the vision of all involved stakeholders as well as set up a project roadmap. Besides the inner circle of all seven innoWerft employees, several start-ups (called inhabitants) as well as external customers belong to the circle of users of the space. The common brainstorming round already offered some ideas on the potential furnishings inside the building as well as spatial layout proposals including the courtyard, the building itself and the office. The team also took note of some restrictions caused by the building from the 70’s and its placement in the industrial area of Walldorf, Germany. The resulting vision statement served as a basis for the collaboration: By summer 2017 innoWerft will be a flexible, inspiring environment and has established itself as a lively, attractive location for start-ups.

I am fascinated about how many aspects we have considered in such a short time, which are so fundamental to us and our way of working. This entails not only social aspects, but also communication with each other.

– Ingmar Wolff (Project Manager, innoWerft)

The Best Creative Space for Start-Ups

The actual creation will only be visible in summer of 2017 as different planning phases and coordination rounds with all involved stakeholders, e.g. the landlord, have to happen first. However, with the help of a specific project roadmap the strategy is set.

It is just fun to deal with this topic. You can feel the motivation of all team members.

– Dr. Thomas Lindner (CEO, innoWerft)

Using creative tools and methods, such as mood boards or ideation phases, have helped all participants to come up with inventive ideas that will be executed soon. Kai Jesse (Senior Business Development Manager, innoWerft) is convinced: “This gives us the boost for the actual implementation.” Main goal is to tear down walls to create a central meeting point for both parties: innoWerft employees and the start-ups. As well, the need for an event hall emerged, where the start-ups could present their ideas or the innoWerft members could meet with customers. Besides some smaller meeting rooms for brainstorming phases, or phone calls are on the wish lists. “We hope to have helped innoWerft with our methodology, and are looking forward to operation next year. We keep our fingers crossed that the momentum and motivation of the innoWerft crew can be kept up!” (Leonie Fremgen, Project Lead & Strategic Design Consultant, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center)

Building upon a history of creative environments, the AppHaus is SAP’s “customer-facing” co-innovation space in which customers, SAP, and end-users collaboratively work on projects. Creative spaces have become a major cultural aspect within SAP and changed the way SAP approaches its market environment. Therefore, SAP was the right partner to accompany innoWerft on this journey.

It is amazing how the SAP team broke down the task of creating a collaborative workspace within a boring 70's building. After all, a sequence of engineering steps with methods developed at SAP did the job. Thanks, well done!

– Dr. Thomas Lindner (CEO, innoWerft)

Great design works best when we create it together