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Digital Garage: Clever solutions for innovative digital products

Digital Garage: Clever solutions for innovative digital products

Digital Garage: Clever solutions for innovative digital products

The Digital Garage is the digital agency of innogy with a focus on user experience and project development.

No product comes about by chance. It is often a long road from initial idea to inclusion in the brand portfolio. Digital Garage experts are currently addressing this challenge. They escort the product ideas of their customers from development to implementation.

The Digital Garage is the digital agency of innogy with a focus on user-experience-based design and project development. Founded in 2017, it now has three locations worldwide.  

Improving long-term quality of life with digital innovations

In Amsterdam, Berlin and Cape Town, digital talents from various disciplines work together on turning the ideas of their customers into sustainable solutions. They overcome not just national but also some of the associated mental barriers in coming up with unconventional ideas that gradually develop their own fascination and momentum.

Just like innogy, the Digital Garage team is convinced that digital innovations have a contribution to make to the success of energy transition. But what is it that people actually need to deal with technology? The digital experts use various user research methods to find answers to these questions. 

Experience and insights into the latest technology trends

The next step is to create a user-centred digital product from the abstract project idea. Experience with and insights into new methods, technologies and trends are fed directly into the development process.

The product is initially tested, with analysts providing feedback to improve it at every step. Once the product is market ready, the Digital Garage team supports customers with their market launch, whether that be on a local or – if desired – international scale.

CX Factory: learning from and improving customer experiences

The name says it all. The Customer Experience Factory, or CX Factory for short, focuses firmly on the customer. The team, which is represented all over Europe in six locations, analyses customer experiences at all innogy interfaces and uses the results to develop ideas for improving them.

There are no limits – to the way they work or think. For instance, the team is currently test-driving agile learning methods like Scrum and Design Thinking. It also uses innovative technologies like Microsoft HoloLens for conferencing as a smart solution to international collaboration.

Innovation Hub: The digital think tank

Short decision-making channels, great freedom of action and regular sharing of ideas seamlessly combine to make the Innovation Hub a powerhouse for fresh product ideas.

At innogy Innovation Hub start-ups develop the business models of tomorrow

Digitisation is changing the energy sector. Smart products and services that supply energy and make life easier are now in demand, but they don’t come about at the click of a button. Clever ideas need creative space, which is exactly what young start-ups find within the innogy Innovation Hub.

Energy supply becoming decentralised and digitised

By 2016, when the German government passed its climate change plan for 2050, it was clear that fossil-fuel energy sources such coal, gas and nuclear are past their use-by date. 

Developing products in a start-up atmosphere

innogy wants to proactively shape the transformation – with support from the start-up scene. In 2014 the company set up its own Innovation Hub with a start-up atmosphere. 

The hub is located where innovations and new ideas emerge: in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley. Working with Innovation Hub employees, young entrepreneurs are now developing digital business models. 

Customer needs are being addressed

Hub employees are working with start-ups. They develop new business models based on existing product ideas and technologies. The difference is that product developers are now directly addressing identified customer needs and preferences.

Project teams consolidate the ideas by building simple prototypes within a short space of time and testing them in pilot projects on particular customer groups. That is how, for instance, Fresh Energy emerged as a start-up that measures the monthly power consumption of individual appliances with a smart meter – creating total transparency for the customer.

ucair and Fresh Energy success stories

The teams use technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Cyber Security as part of the product development process. If the result is successful, the innovation is taken to market.

The Innovation Hub has already notched up initial successes: ucair, Kiwigrid and BeeRides are a few examples of start-ups that have developed their product ideas within the Hub. 

Partnerships with start-ups

Since January 2017, innogy has taken the approach a step further and founded Free Electrons in cooperation with seven leading global energy providers. This first ever global energy alliance deliberately targets partnerships with existing start-ups, with the aim of finding solutions for a networked energy system with less impact on climate change.

International Digital Channels (IDC)

All-round service for digital communication, digital marketing and digital services

People are confronted with around 13,000 brand messages a day, so individual measures are in danger of missing their mark. This is why digital communication, digital marketing and digital services must all be carefully tailored to the individual user to ensure the right customer approach is made. It is the only way for a brand to stay relevant. At innogy, this is one of the tasks of the International Digital Channels department or IDC.

Taking into account market and user needs

Nicolas Karck is Head of International Digital Channels at innogy. The business management graduate has years of experience in User Experience, Data Science, Performance Marketing and Digital Communication. 

His team includes experts in User Experience & Interaction Design, Development, Data Science & Business Intelligence, Performance Marketing, Project Management and Product Ownership.

Nicolas Karck, Head of International Digital Channels (IDC)

“Digital brand communication must always be geared to specific market and user needs”

Nicolas Karck, Head of International Digital Channels (IDC)

Right time, right place

The IDC looks after marketing, communication and services at innogy – of the digital kind only. “We support the various departments with the concept, design and implementation of digital platforms like websites, apps and social media channels. We also assist with optimal planning, management and execution of performance marketing measures driven by hard data.”

In particular when it comes to Content Marketing and Internal Communication, IDC works closely with the Digital Communications Hub (DCH). With its Agenda Setting, Content Creation and Social Media teams, the DCH develops user-related themes, creates content and communicates it via platforms such as the website, apps, the intranet and social media.

Agile and cross-functional teams

“As far as I know, this close, cross-functional collaboration between IDC and DCH is unique. It ensures our digital communication, marketing and services are always in sync and can be optimised in a very dynamic manner”, explains Karck. “Together with the various departments, we work in agile and cross-functional teams in order to achieve rapid market execution and targeted implementation.”

This means the right users are always drawn to the digital platforms of innogy at the right time – so they are guaranteed to find information, themes, offers, services and products tailored to their specific needs. 

Cross-disciplinary work

The team members of IDC always take into account the latest trends and technical advances in their work. “It is important for the team members of all disciplines to complement and challenge one another. Looking beyond our own horizons and constantly trying new things is a must for us, and something that is actively encouraged. In addition, we have strong sparring partners everywhere in the business, from whom and with whom we are constantly learning”, says Karck. 


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