The knowledge-driven economy in front of businesses now sets new challenges. The complexity of technology is increasing. In such an economy, changes have become almost daily business, which makes the entire business environment very dynamic. So, the key question that is being posed today to all companies, regardless of their size, is how to evolve under such new environment.
As a result, more and more companies focus on capabilities of their employees and organizations to launch agile new products, re-design the core processes, business models and IP management of the company. Especially bigger mature companies face the challenge of transforming into this new area of IP management. New structures and frameworks help these companies to transform into an innovation driven enterprise.
The term Agile Innovation can take several forms: Agile Process Management, Agile Management, Agile Product Management, Agile Development. The term “agile” means “fast and well-coordinated on the move; and originates from Latin agilis, which means “it has speed in motion, turning, clever, smart”. If the term is applied to innovative systems, it refers to the Agile Innovation System.
RainTunes is a digital shower system and connects water, light, sound and scent. No other product on this fair was as sharply focused on forward looking smart home experience in this conservative branch. RainTunes is not just a digital product from a traditional brand like Hansgrohe, it was developed in a show case process with agile innovation management based on IP design.
RainTunes is designed to create a holistic showering experience. It is focusing on the individual needs of human beings and its mood. Hansgrohe developed the product with experts from different fields to create digital showering scenarios which are balanced and aligned with individual everyday life. Right now, seven multi-sensory showering scenarios are available. They are aligned with individual daily routines, atmospheres and moods. These scenarios were developed with dermatologists, sport medicine specialists, physiotherapists and specialists for aromatherapy. Customers can choose between experiences like “good morning”, “recreation”, “vitality”, “relaxation”, “beauty”, “nature” and “good night”.
RainTunes was developed with agile innovation management. Agile project management such as design thinking and IP design is fundamentally different from traditional project management. In agile project management, there is a different emphasis on what a project should achieve and how. Not all project evaluation criteria of the traditional paradigm are given equal weight. Agile projects are characterized by a comparatively high tolerance when it comes to typical target variables such as scope, process, time and costs, and by significant client involvement. Agile project methods place a strong focus on deliverables and quality from the user’s perspective.
The RainTunes project focuses on redefining showering and what it means to customers: the move away from body care and personal hygiene to mental fitness, meditation, ritual retreats and short breaks from the stresses of everyday life. IP design leads to a permanent review cycle of the portfolio of options and scenarios for action and thus enables the company to evolve in the direction of different digital business models. Revision, adaptation and modification are therefore no longer a problem or a special case but reflect the actual purpose of IP design.
The RainTunes project also allows Hansgrohe to derive key success factors for design thinking and IP design. The pivotal role of the project partners in the progress of IP design requires highly effective communication. The project-based working methods of IP design are in line with today’s interconnected work environment characterized by flat hierarchies, transparent contributions and solution-oriented thinking. This applies in particular to the agile overall approach involving design thinking methods.
Agile innovation is a specific guide in the field of designing and implementing effective innovation strategies by strengthening the classical methodology of innovation with the agile process. In order to facilitate agile collaborative processes, self-organized and self-optimizing teams can be formed in the organization to better solve complex problems and create disruptive innovations. In this sense, three key functions of agile innovation are:
- Achieve maximum speed in innovative efforts. Agile innovations support the effective development of created ideas and their productive implementation, through a common innovation, from leadership to operation.
- Risk reduction. Agile innovation encourages the creation of a culture of innovation, and through increased collaboration between all actors in innovation, risk can be reduced.
- Engaging the entire organization in creating and developing the best ideas, since agile innovation promotes the principles of integration. Effective innovation, as a rule, does not happen by chance, but it is the result of the deliberate design and improvement of the organization’s innovation.
Hansgrohe is positioned as a premium brand: “We are world leaders in creating pleasurable, life-enhancing experiences with water; our broad portfolio of products is focused on faucets and showers for bathrooms and kitchens, aimed at quality-conscious customers in the middle and upper market segment. The brand Hansgrohe comes with the slogan: “Meet the beauty of water”:
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IP design follows the agile method of project management. Agile project management such as design thinking and IP design is fundamentally different from traditional project management. In agile project management, there is a different emphasis on what a project should achieve and how. Not all project evaluation criteria of the traditional paradigm are given equal weight. Agile projects are characterized by a comparatively high tolerance when it comes to typical target variables such as scope, process, time and costs, and by significant client involvement. Agile project methods place a strong focus on deliverables and quality from the user’s perspective.
IP design is an agile method of developing and protecting digital business models by means of digital patents. IP design puts the customer and their product experience at the heart of all activities by asking what the customer “really” wants and how digital transformation can answer this question. IP design is geared towards identifying, evaluating and selecting appropriate methods in iterative steps.
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1 . Why are digital products, such as the RainTunes App, developed preferentially with an agile project management style?
2 . What is the organizational difference for IP management, when agile methods like IP design are used compared to waterfall project management?
Merve Şimşek, Rita Labundy, Claire Laurens de Lopez, Greta Žėkienė, Terita Kalloo, Andreas Werner, Mohsen Ahmadi, Steffen Rutter, Konstantinos Kontogiannis
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Véronique Bolinches, Anita Yaryna, Nina Šlat, Andrea Foglia, Branimir Puškarić, Sachin Seshadri, Timofey Rubchenko, Ricardo Cali
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Maria Boicova-Wynants, Johannes Holzmair, Shu Pei Oei, Nora Rüter, Peter Conlon, Yanan Huang, Clement Lim, Felipe Bustos
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Thanks to the Centre d’Etudes Internationales de la Propriété Intellectuelle – CEIPI. If you want to learn more: Follow us at IP Business Academy