Practical test: Digital labs as a dynamic think tank for subscription

Audi Denkwerkstatt Impressionen
Impressions from Audi Denkwerkstatt. Photo: Audi


By Andreas Weber, Head of Value | German Version

The Subscription Economy can be seen as a core element of the digital transformation. But how do you find a systematic approach to developing, controlling, moderating through innovation? The German business magazine CAPITAL has therefore initiated a study that has been running for three years and is currently updated in the print edition 07-2019. The CAPITAL study is primarily about three categories:

  • Find innovations (ability to track ideas)
  • Developing innovations (strategies that turn ideas into concrete projects)
  • Scaling innovation (Potential to Tap into a Project of Broader Markets)

The result is a ranking of companies with evaluation criteria for testing digital laboratories resp. Innovation Labs. CAPITAL worked with Infront Consulting & Management.

By 2019, 48 industrial and service companies have participated. The analysis was carried out through online surveys as well as to deepening in the second step through personal interviews.

CAPITAL describes it this way: “In each category, there were five disciplines in each of which points from 1.0 to 5.0 were achievable. Only participants with overall ratings of 3.0 points or more qualified for the CAPITAL ranking. For companies with the same number of points, the placement came from the second decimal place.“ Twenty-two winners with top ratings can buy a capital seal, for neutralization via Gruner + Jahr, which owns CAPITAL.

“One of the key findings of the evaluation:”, says CAPITAL, “It is experimented less wildly, instead, significantly more concrete business models come about.“

Industry winners include (in alphabetical order): Airbus BizLab, Audi Denkwerkstatt, Daimler Fleetboard Innovation Hub, G + D advance52 (Giesecke + Devrient), Heidelberg Digital Unit (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen), Merck Innovation Center, Qiagen Digital Accelerator, Viessmann Wattx, Plant 39, power by B. Braun. Among the service providers: Axa Transactional Business, Comdirect Startup Garage, EnBW Innovation, Hapag Lloyd Digital Business & Transformation Laboratory, Saturn N3xt Media Market, ProSiebenSat1 Accelerator, SAP Innovation Center Network, Sparkassen Innovation Hub, Wayra Germany power by O2.

The article in the CAPITAL study titled “Jetzt mal konkret” (in a nutshell) illustrates the conversation with Tom Oelsner of the Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU), who commented on the development of the Heidelberg Subscription model that, as CAPITAL rewards, is of great economic importance. HDU was able to establish subscription in the print market in a very short time with high scaling effects. Heidelberg was the only company to be among the top 5 in all three categories and in total second to Viessmann in the industrial segment.


CAPITAL Ranking Industrie Segment


More insights

CAPITAL press release

t3n digital pioneers




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