“As co-creators we give new impetus”
In an interview, the two CEOs of Philoneos Dr. Maximilian Lude and Sebastian Bartling talk about what a “Bureau for Future Affairs” actually does, what innovation actually means for the Pfeifer Group and how the innovation team works in practice.
Sebastian Bartling and Maximilian Lude direct and inspire the new Pfeifer Innovation Team.
Who is behind Philoneos and which tasks have you committed yourself to?
We are a team with a background in practical experience, research and family business. We support family businesses strategically and operationally to ensure their own future viability, whether in innovations, marketing or digitisation. An office for future affairs guides, challenges and encourages its partners so that they can face the future full of confidence. We see ourselves less as consultants and more as “co-creators”, since we develop and implement innovative ideas together with the relevant players – in the case of the Pfeifer Group with the innovation agents.
How did the idea for the Pfeifer innovation team come up?
It all started with the Pfeifer 4.0 project, which was set up jointly a few years ago. Over a period of three years, this involved bringing together a wide variety of people, departments and locations at Pfeifer and working together to develop challenges and sustainable solutions for the Pfeifer business model. The innovation initiative sees itself as a continuation of these activities with the primary goal of making the Pfeifer Group even more innovative and thus more sustainable.
Was the number of Innovation Agents determined by you?
We started with the target to nominate 6 to 8 agents together with the Pfeifer management. The outstanding quality of many applicants, especially with regard to their enthusiasm to boost innovation for the Group, convinced both us and the company management. That is why we agreed on 8 people eventually. This size allows us to represent a wide range of departments and locations and still be able to coordinate deadlines and joint work well.
Every team member is allowed and encouraged to contribute ideas.
Now innovation, literally "novelty" or "renewal", is a very broad term. What does this buzzword actually mean for the Pfeifer Group?
In order to find out more about this, we have put up posters at all locations where the HIT is represented with the statement “For me, innovation means ...”. All employees are encouraged to support us with ideas and to be creative. It is only through a common understanding of innovation that the entire organisation can be innovative and sustainable in the long term. This process begins in the minds of each individual.
Which areas should the company work on as a matter of priority?
We will not dictate what Pfeifer as an organisation should work on. Our task is to provide impulses and directions, based on joint discussions with employees, but also on intensive research, which we consider individually relevant for Pfeifer's future. Methodologically, we are always oriented towards the respective question. We followed a market-based view from the beginning of this project, i.e. we always want to view things from the (potential) customer side. In this context, a customer is not necessarily a customer who purchases a product or service from Pfeifer; an important (internal) customer is also the employees themselves.