The Erwin Hymer Group is taking wholly new paths in order maintain its innovative edge on the competition. The best example: the recently inaugurated Innovation Camp.
Opened in July of 2018 as a fixed institution, the Innovation Camp is to provide a platform for innovation exchange between all brands of the Erwin Hymer Group. All involved parties deliberately think outside of established structures. Specialists from various company areas work on specific problem areas outside of their everyday routine in order to develop solutions in creativity workshops. Camp participants can quickly and simply create concept samples in the "garage" and promptly test the practicality of their ideas.
Innovation Camps usually consist of three blocks distributed over several weeks. At first, the problem area is formulated. Experts are then selected who are especially well-suited to contribute to the solution. A balanced mixture of various perspectives is important. Team members are exempted from work in order to participate in the camp.
External partners such as universities or suppliers also support the Camp in order to formulate, select and evaluate solution approaches. Especially the alteration between internal and external perspectives opens up new opportunities.
An essential feature of Innovation Camp is the method of design thinking – a playful approach consistently focussed on the user that generates new solutions for complex problems. Team members develop new perspectives by intensely focussing on the initial problem area. Participants immerse themselves in the context and consequentially gain a better understanding of the customer's needs, which creates the basis for new product ideas and innovation. Intuition, rather than logic and analytics, plays a major role.
This unusual strategy requires different work techniques: People work and talk a lot while standing; notepads and inspiring prototyping material are always available. Role playing, presentations, drawings or crafted ideas are tools for quickly visualising approaches and making these tangible.
The Erwin Hymer Group has already worked with the design thinking method before the opening of Innovation Camp. One of the outcomes of this approach was the so-called "push-out" – a new form of spatial expansion with inflatable insulating walls. Innovation Camp is responsible for a 48/230V energy system with quick-charging function for significantly improved self-sufficiency as well as the usage of vacuum panels that improve insulation properties.