Digitalization 137,000 Potential Innovators

Our innovative capacity constitutes a crucial competitive advantage in this revolutionary digital landscape. In its search for new stimuli, ZF looks to the potential of its employees.

"Who wants to be a digital entrepreneur" was the slogan that ZF used to call its employees to action in June. ZF asked its employees to submit ideas on how to digitalize the company. "We have 137,000 employees, that's 137,000 potential innovators who know our products and our customers' needs better than anyone else. We want to make the most of that potential." explained Chief Digital Officer Mamatha Chamarthi.

This project was named the Digital Innovation Challenge, and it proved a complete success. ZF employees sent in over 330 competition entries in just 3 weeks, which were divided into four categories: "Digital Products and Services", "Industry 4.0", "Digital Business Processes" and "Culture and the Workplace". To select the winners, ZF decided to use the same format as they had in Pitch Night. The company opened the first ZF Pitch Night in spring. Over 50 start-ups presented their business models. Since then, the winners have been working with ZF engineers to make their ideas into innovative solutions.

The 17 finalists of the Digital Innovation Challenge had to convince their audience with a short speech, just as the start-ups did. They had exactly five minutes to talk before the MC switched off the microphone and turned up the music. The audience and the jury then evaluated the entries and selected the winners. "It’s impressive to see just how innovative and entrepreneurial our employees really are when given the chance; I can certainly say this won’t be our last Digital Innovation Challenge," said Chamarthi.

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