Hoppe Marine develops a range of systems solutions for sea-going ships. The company has devised the “Hoppe Laboratory” (HOLAB) to provide its staff with a space to co-create innovations. Hoppe Marine used Enterprise Europe Network’s innovation management advice service to inject new stimuli and perspectives into the development process.
The client always has a place at the table
HOLAB offers a forum for ideas and innovation. Here, Jochen Lohse and Klas Reimer of Hoppe Marine speak about the process and the background to it.
Mr Lohse, you’re in charge of Hoppe Marine’s digital strategy. What defines Hoppe Marine and why are ideas and innovation important to you?
Hoppe Marine is a highly innovative company with a focus on instrumentation and control technology. To stay that way in future we want to feed the creativity and ideas of our staff into the development of new products and services as best we can. In parallel, digitalisation has taken on particular momentum during the coronavirus pandemic. And yet the key insights are not new: The maritime market is no different from the rest of the world in that it is constantly changing, and as a company we have to follow suit. What’s crucial here is how you change and how efficiently you go about it.
Mr Reimer, in August you opened HOLAB. Can you tell us what it is?
In HOLAB we’ve created a space for co-creation – it’s become the face of our innovation management. Using it we can integrate the good ideas and creativity of colleagues much more strongly and support the process methodically. As the person responsible for research and development activities in Hamburg, I was charged by management with creating a climate that encourages innovation. HOLAB was unveiled and launched during a meeting of the workforce last August. A number of workshops have already taken place and HOLAB has been well received. A big advantage was that the space was configured for hybrid workshops, so that cooperation could largely take place remotely. Despite a focus on virtuality and digitalisation, we never lose sight of the end users – we’ve called them “K.Unde” [C.Lient]. “K.Unde” has now become an integral part of our activities and has developed into a character who provides important impetus.
That sounds convincing, but how did HOLAB come about? Did the concept of a forum for ideas arise spontaneously, or did you seek advice?
We started out under our own steam, but we’re delighted that we discovered Tutech’s innovation management advice service, offered as part of the Enterprise Europe Network, at just the right time for us. That gave us the opportunity of an external perspective to support our process. Dr Margarete Remmert-Rieper, Senior Consultant at Tutech and an Enterprise Europe Network innovation adviser, became our sparring partner. She not only immediately grasped what we wanted to do by way of encouraging innovation in the company, she also provided significant impulses that nudged us in the right direction. We always came away with a lot from our meetings with Ms Remmert-Rieper. A number of the ideas that came up during these conversations have found their way into the final implementation. Our store of ideas for the near future is also well stocked.
Mr Lohse, having an innovation and digital strategy sounds good, but does it actually have much impact on the processes in the company? Tell us what its implementation looks like in practice.
Developing the company strategy, including the innovation and digital strategy, in complete isolation from the rest of the company would achieve absolutely nothing, and everyone in the company knows that. During the past six months we’ve carried out a broad-based process of strategy development throughout the company. Although this was set in train by management and given a rough framework, it was the many members of the workforce across the departments who got involved in defining the long-term goals for the company. Since the beginning of the year, different teams have been powering ahead on implementation. We expect to have initial results by the end of March.
Hoppe Marine – an unbroken passion for technology since 1949
Hoppe Marine is a highly innovative family-owned maritime group of companies whose strength is founded on constant technological inventions and patents for on-board measuring systems coupled with a skilled workforce in Germany where manufacturing and development is centred. The company is currently forging ahead with the digitalisation of measuring systems and is one of the leading providers in the field. Hoppe Marine’s good reputation is founded on quality, accuracy and reliability. Since its establishment more than 70 years ago, the company has continued to develop and refocus its operations so as to retain its leading role.
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