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Innovation Professionals meet-up*Meeting the Future @DHL Innovation Center Sept. 2020

By Karla Schlaepfer
event, design thinking, innovation, digitalisation, meet-up

How cool is that?! We got the chance to engage with robots and watch films about the future at DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf.

A night all about new digital services, robotics, artificial intelligence and how these technologies are used for sending and receiving letters and packages faster, better and with less CO2.

Carolin Richter, Senior Innovation Engagement Manager, made us feel like special VIPs 😍

Carolin gave us a tour of the spacious innovation facilities as if we were interested customers. We were treated to a lively interactive talk with lots of information on visions, trends, and solutions in the future of logistics. In a co-creative manner, we were invited to give our input and there was plenty of time to ask questions.

What an exciting range of ideas and perspectives for the first face-to face (masked of course 🙄) meet-up of our Innovation Professional aka Design Thinking meetup in months.

It was a fun, interactive session where we got to try stuff out and watch a film with different senarios. Kristiina was bold and hooked up with the robot wagon Effibot by Effidence (French startup) that followed her like a faithful dog – even when she ran zig zack and tried to getaway!

The newcomers to the meet-up often ask; what’s the background to this Design Thinking meet-up?

Curtain back to Potsdam. 2015. Uwe Radetzki and I were participants at the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Institute deep dive course. It was a super positive experience in so many ways. A meeting of the minds so to speak, folks who live similar human-centered and agile values professionally and in their lives. I decided to invite our small group to meet up on a semi-regular basis to exchange ideas and share experiences. Fast forward to now. These meetups no longer take place in my living room but in cool inno-labs (for example at TÜV, IW, tarent, Telekom) and other innovative spaces.

Back to my current report and now you’ll see the connection. It was great that my other pioneer Design Thinking champion, Uwe R., could join us tonight at his former place of employment. He gave us firsthand information about robotic services. He is an enthusiastic source of information and he, like our hostess Carolin, is clearly excited about these new developments.

What else is DHL doing to help get those things we order online to us? Ecologically?

CO2 free by 2050! DHL is investing in different kinds of low emission vehicles and experimenting with new types of transportation. Barbara Gunter is an English DHL colleague showed us how and provided metrics.

Vegan bowls, fresh fruit and an interesting Grapefruit beer rounded off an evening of physically distanced but live talk. Although we wore masks and were supplied with “bumps” worn around the neck to signal when we got too close to another person, it was clear that meeting each other in person has been sorely missed.

Awesome to meet again!

Karla Schlaepfer

*we changed our name from Design Thinkers meet-up to Innovation Professionals