You may think executives, managers, or startup partners are at leading corporate innovation, but a recent collaboration between betahausX and B. Braun proves how big changes can come from unlikely places.
A lot will happen when 100 Azubis get together for an online bootcamp over Microsoft Teams.
While most companies put innovation on hold this year, B. Braun wanted to bring efficiency, sustainability, and digitalization to the forefront with an Ausbildung Innovation Bootcamp.
To do it, they brought on betahausX to create an accelerator program for 100 of their second-year commercial and technical-industrial apprentices to cultivate new ideas and foster innovative thinking.
What resulted was a 3-day challenge where apprentices took frameworks more common in the startup world – Design Thinking and Lean Startup – to spearhead innovation at B.Braun.
The goals of this program were to identify early-stage talent and drive innovation in the efficiency, sustainability, and digitalization of B. Braun’s processes.
But there were two unique challenges to this particular project.
Challenge: Given the limitations of Coronavirus, we needed to create a virtual program that enabled participation and collaboration.
Approach: Create a virtual environment in Microsoft Teams, share program content via SharePoint, and give the participants opportunities to familiarize themselves with tools ahead of the bootcamp.
Ausbildung Innovation Bootcamp was designed to be a completely virtual event. B. Braun collaborated with their in house tech team to create a virtual environment that was compliant, dynamic, and had the capacity to host an event this large.
Through Microsoft Teams, we were able to create and conduct a main event where apprentices took their masterclasses and received instruction. Breakout rooms and chats were then used to generate smaller environments for the group sessions.
Presentations and workbooks were distributed also via Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint Files, and email communications.
But of course the challenges of running a virtual event are not just technical.
To help apprentices navigate the virtual environment and discover processes in need of innovation, they joined a facilitated Ideation session via Microsoft Teams a few weeks before the bootcamp. There was also a dedicated mentor chat where they could contact program mentors throughout the event.
Coaches were also onboarded ahead of time, with one of the sessions focused on presenting and troubleshooting in the Microsoft Teams environment.
As with any event – virtual or otherwise – the key to success was expecting the unexpected. And with B. Braun managers, betahausX mentors and innovator drivers, and technical support standing by, the event ran smoothly with any technical challenges quickly resolved.
Challenge: Apprentices who are more familiar with an institutional environment aren’t necessarily familiar with startup methodologies commonly used in hackathons.
Approach: Design a program that is results-driven, but supportive. One that would give the apprentices the framework and tools necessary to create real solutions that could transform the way B. Braun operates.
The Ideation Stage
Ahead of the bootcamp, apprentices joined in a facilitated online ideation workshop to identify key areas of opportunity. They were presented with leading questions and asked to reflect on their own experiences within the organization.
What is the situation like today? How is the problem being dealt with?
Apprentices came up with hundreds of ideas and were encouraged to submit more after the workshop. B. Bran moved ahead with nine for exploration in the bootcamp.
Leading up to the bootcamp, apprentices applied to work on the projects they were most interested in. Then between October 14th-16th, they hopped into a Microsoft Teams virtual environment to build them out.
The program was built around masterclasses guided by expert coaches in Team Culture, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Pitching.
Following each masterclass, smaller groups entered breakout sessions where they applied the newly learned methodologies to uncover the best solution to their problem and actually develop their first MVP.
On the final day of the program, groups pitched their ideas. A panel made up of the apprentice group, B. Braun organizers and business units, betahausX, and a few special guests voted on which ideas they would implement within the company.
At the end of Day 3, participants voted for their favorite ideas using Mentimeter – interactive software for real-time voting.
And the winners are...
Idea #2. Digitalization of the Kanban systems
Idea #8. Reuse or resale of scrap metal
Idea #5. Onboarding program for new employees and apprentices
Idea #7. Innovating Social Networks
Following the Ausbildung Innovation Bootcamp, B. Braun has committed to directing resources to all of the best ideas. The apprentices who came up with them will work on the corresponding business unit at B. Braun.
And should everything go according to plan, these ideas will be implemented to create a lasting impact on B. Braun’s efficiency, sustainability, and digitization efforts.
It’s been a year of uncertainty. But with changing restrictions on “the old way of doing things”, it’s more important than ever that companies innovate. And fast.
When you’re getting stuck in the way that things have always been done, consider this: have you asked the intern?
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Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.