“Progress is an unstoppable force“ is Audi’s current slogan. Living by these words means approaching rapid change proactively and asking questions like “how do you prepare a worldwide corporation for the challenges of its shifting industry?” As we say farewell to combustion engines which currently sustain the quality of life enjoyed by our generation, and those of the past, one of the most successful stories of German engineering, Audi, needs to reinvent itself while securing more than 80,000 employees’ jobs around the globe. The biggest challenge in Audi’s history still lies ahead. That’s why we equipped Audi’s out-of-the-box thinkers with new innovation methods, mindsets and approaches, so they could help the company adapt to the environmental and sociological challenges of the future, thus ensuring the company’s prolonged success and significance. Our Future Class training program brought together employees and management from all over the company and coached them to become pioneers and change agents that carry a new way of thinking into their departments.
Albert Einstein famously stated, “we cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. That means that future generations need to be trained and encouraged to think more creatively and out-of-the-box when it comes to problem solving. Moreover, in order to create the right conditions for technological innovations to emerge and thrive, we also need a radically new company culture, or collective mindset. We know that if participants learn to ask the right questions, they can go on to be catalysts for change in the company and impact their colleagues at all levels. They can be ambassadors for a new way of thinking, add new voices to a long-established company culture, build on tradition, but also know when the time is right to challenge it.
As such, the workshop explored questions like:
How can we simplify complex team procedures?
How can teams be more agile and innovative?
How can teams enjoy their daily work more?
How can we increase intrinsic motivation among employees?
Our Innovative Approach
We started off by using our Exponential Readiness Check, a human-centered evaluation tool which enables individuals and companies to assess their skills and identify what they are lacking. Based on comprehensive academic and field research, we have identified the eighteen most relevant skillsets, frameworks and values needed to adapt to an exponentially changing world. Our Future Class participants mapped out their current strengths, as well as areas that still needed improvement . Based on these results we offered four tailor-made workshops to address these weaknesses, and bring out the potential in our participants.
Our in-depth approach meant that we trained and mentored our Future Class participants for half a year, using a tailored combination of Design Thinking, Biomimicry and other agile tools and methods in order to create the challenges given to the teams. We communicated closely with our partners at AUDI and listened to what they saw as their greatest hurdles, in this way, our workshops were not only an introduction to innovation, but also created applicable and pilotable solutions which will become the essence of long-lasting, viable change.
Design Thinking – is a creative, collaborative problem solving method which allows teams to generate innovative solutions in times of rapid change. It is a solution-oriented method which places the user’s needs at the heart of the process. By bringing together different stakeholders, users and experts in a team, and by encouraging the sharing of knowledge, experience and different perspectives, Design Thinking allows the “wisdom of the crowd” to be harnessed when dealing with complex challenges. The phi360 team was comprised of our Design Thinking coaches Dr. Arndt Pechstein, Morganne Graves, Dr. Fabian Feutlinske, and our external experts Dr. Viktor Bedö, Flavia Bleuel, Donia Hamdami and Lisa Pommerien.
Biomimicry Thinking – Nature has optimized and perfected its systems, designs and processes over billions of years, resulting in countless intelligent solutions and strategies – and we are only just beginning to see how much we can learn. Biomimicry is an approach that analyses and abstracts the design principles underlying these natural forms, models and systems and transfers them to solve our challenges: from architecture, to mobility, to change management in organizations. The Biomimicry method condenses eons of evolution into a creative innovation process. Phi360’s Dr. Arndt Pechstein is a certified Biomimicry Specialist and is guiding and mentoring the Audi Future Class teams.
Congratulations to our first Audi Future Class graduates! We are proud of having worked with such an open-minded group of people. We wish you the energy and courage to now be catalysts of change within Audi, and to inspire your colleagues! We look forward to coaching and mentoring a new round of future change-makers in our second Audi Future Class, starting in early 2018.