Design and implementation of the MTU Innovation Engine


"With the help of th methodological and content-related support provided by 3DSE, we have developed a unique innovation management system that is aligned in the best possible way with our requirements at MTU."

Wolfgang Pichler

Head of Corporate Strategy

MTU Aero Engines AG

Design and implementation of the MTU Innovation Engine

MTU Aero Engines AG is the leading jet engine manufacturer in Germany. The company, which has more than 10,000 employees, is active around the globe.

The company had the most successful year in its history in 2017, achieving new sales and earnings records. To build on this success and ensure its long-term competitiveness, MTU faces the challenge of further expanding its core business with innovative products, processes, services and business models. “It’s all about ensuring that we continue our strong growth trajectory in the future,” says Wolfgang Pichler, Head of Corporate Strategy. “This is where the Innovation Engine will help us from now on.”

To meet this challenge, 3DSE provided methodological and content support for the development of the “MTU Innovation Engine,” MTU’s new innovation management system. By involving an MTU team made up of a wide variety of departments and locations, it was ensured that the internal disciplines would continue to be optimally interlinked and that innovation management would be adapted to MTU’s requirements and needs. The numerous concepts for the new innovation management system have already been developed using methods that are now being applied in the “MTU Innovation Engine”.

Just as an engine drives something by always performing the same processes, the final selected concept of the “Innovation Engine” is also subject to a fixed, structured process. This consists of three phases: Awareness, Ideation and Prototyping.

In the “Awareness Phase”, relevant trends and radical ideas from outside are identified and taken up at an early stage, with the aim of driving innovations forward even faster and more flexibly. To this end, internal and external scouts are constantly scouting the MTU world and the outside world for new trends, technologies, ideas and start-ups. To focus on those topics that can give MTU a competitive edge in the long term, areas of innovation are defined each year on the basis of the scouting process.
In the “Ideation Phase”, ideas for the selected innovation fields are collected via internal “Ideation Challenges”, for which employees can submit ideas. The best ideas will be presented at a pitch event. Following this, the ideas are further developed into possible courses of action by interdisciplinary teams in an “Innovation Cell”.
In the “prototyping phase”, mock-ups and demonstrators are then to be developed in a short time in order to quickly validate the developed options for action in short iteration cycles. If possible, the innovative product concepts, services, business models or processes are then brought to production maturity or driven toward application in other internal development processes.

The “Innovation Engine” is designed in such a way that it can adapt to changing internal requirements and framework conditions. After the Innovation Engine has been set up, it can be scaled as needed, for example, by the number of innovation fields and projects in your size. In addition, it is possible to add further “features” such as venture capital funding or open innovation approaches.

The “Innovation Engine” is driven by an “Inno Team” that ensures smooth operations and integration and communication within MTU. This also ensures that the right internal disciplines are brought together, thus pooling financial and human resources and directing them to the prioritized areas of innovation. Another desired effect of the Innovation Engine is that it strengthens the culture of innovation, promotes internal and external collaboration, and tests new ways of working and organizational forms. All MTU employees are involved in this process.

Find out more about the MTU Innovation Engine and which key factors are crucial for successful innovation management in our case study on R&D Insights.

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