Radical and disruptive innovations for future lifting solutions

Philipp Smole, Palfinger AG

"Together with 3DSE we have developed a customized framework for PALFINGER 21st that promotes radical and disruptive innovation in an agile environment."

Philipp Smole

Executive Vice President des Innovationsbereichs PALFINGER 21st

Palfinger AG

Radical and disruptive innovations for future lifting solutions

Founded in 1932, PALFINGER is known around the world for supplying the most innovative, reliable and efficient lifting solutions for use with commercial vehicles and in maritime applications.

In 2018, the company generated total sales of around EUR 1,615.6 million with 10,780 employees.

Innovation and further internationalization of products, processes and services, along with flexibility, form the three pillars of the corporate strategy that have already been put into practice. To meet the challenges and seize the opportunities associated with the digital transformation in a focused manner, the proven corporate strategy has been expanded to include a fourth pillar. Known as PALFINGER 21st, this pillar incorporates new core areas of expertise, new approaches and new products, services and business models for the digital age.

In order to develop radical and disruptive technologies, products and solutions in the PALFINGER 21st Innovation Incubator, 3DSE provided methodological and content support for the development of the PALFINGER 21st strategy as well as the conceptual design and implementation of an innovation framework. The targeted integration and, at the same time, healthy distance from PALFINGER’s core organization make it possible to innovate both organically and inorganically in the process.

The PALFINGER 21st Innovation Framework offers a clearly structured but flexible process for effectively generating and implementing ideas within a secure framework. Specific metrics for innovation governance ensure the efficiency of this framework.

In the “Strategy Radar”, innovation fields are determined in order to tailor innovations specifically to future requirements. An “Innovation Think Tank” serves as a platform for knowledge transfer in the company’s global innovation network to identify relevant application areas and future fields of innovation. Enriched by analyses of global technology, market, customer and socio-economic trends and their effects, an innovation thesis is formed and innovation fields are defined.

Subsequently, the “Innovation Engine” is used to generate and shape specific ideas and develop them into validated business models. This involves using effective methods for idea generation (e.g. hackathons, idea competitions, innovation cells, design thinking, etc.), creating business models and validating the concepts by creating MVPs (minimum viable products), early customer involvement and due diligence.

A global network of accelerators, start-ups and research institutions ensures the necessary input of ideas and potential solutions. Building a powerful team of creative minds and courageous implementers enables effective realization. The installation of a “base camp” creates space for innovation, where the innovation network can come together and live innovation together. This also promotes the company’s culture of innovation and offers employees the opportunity to become part of radical and disruptive innovations.

“By intensively forging the content in workshops with the PALFINGER 21st core team and 3DSE, we succeeded in developing a customized, targeted framework concept as well as a strategy map for the next 5 years and agreeing on it with the management boards and key stakeholders.”, says Philipp Smole, Executive Vice President of PALFINGER’s Innovation Division 21st. “We also rely on 3DSE for implementation to set and realize the right priorities.”