We have been around and had a look at several Corporate Innovation programs. Eventually we came along Hubert Burda Media’s Burda Bootcamp. We were lucky to get exclusive insights and had the pleasure to get great impressions of their young, dynamic and professional teams, which we want to present to you in the following weeks within our innovationblog. This 360° view is going to display, how successful Corporate Innovation is used and lived within Burda and how Burda has the chance to become a role-model within the media branch.
Good morning Mrs. Weigt and Mr. Rohr! Who are you and what are you doing here in the Burda Bootcamp?
Christian Rohr: I will start giving a wider context; We are participants in the Burda Bootcamp, because Burda convened a workshop in the context of their new growth-strategy, the so-called Innovation Days. It was crucial for the teams to be able to work independently and free of hierarchy. The program lasted two days and I was participant of a team that won a funding. Therefore we took the chance of the Bootcamp to realize the ideas we developed in that program. As fast, as efficient and as pragmatic as possible.
So you directly went from those Innovation Days into the Burda Bootcamp?
Christian Rohr: Exactly! The goal was to develop a concept and transfer that idea as efficient as possible into a testing phase. Therefore we used the Bootcamp.
So you hope for an implementation of a prototype in the end of the Bootcamp?
Christian Rohr: That’s the goal. We want to test the prototype afterwards and then decide, whether we want to further develop it and roll out the concept to other brands within the concern.
How important do you see the realization of innovations in companies?
Christian Rohr: This is fairly simple to answer. There is no alternative to innovation. If I don’t implement innovations, if I don’t do the things I do now, I will dash against the wall. That’s not an option.
What role does innovation play in your company? Is innovation the main focus for you or is it more like an executive department for other departments?
Christian Rohr: Well, since we are a media company, innovation in general is not our main focus. First off we have to do our daily work, whatever it is. But every platform knows, that they cannot react to those radical changes within the media branch without coming up with innovations. This means that every department either builds small teams, which come up with innovative ideas out of their own platform, or they do that company-wide as we do. The advantage is that you can revert to a diverse pool of knowledge out of different perspectives. This can forward a brand a lot.
How do you distinguish yourself for the Burda Bootcamp?
Annekathrin Weigt: This is where I can continue, since I accompany the project on an operative basis. In my opinion we excel at speed. First off we had one week and another one in succession, in which the prototype had been developed. The cooperation was very flexible and very close. We could have a look into the process whenever we wanted to, as well as discussing and adjusting the project. Hence, this and the creativity is what excel the Burda Bootcamp.
What did you experience so far within the Bootcamp, what are your Highlights and Lowlights?
Annekathrin Weigt: In my opinion the ultimate highlight was to see the final prototype, its design that stunned us all and the learnings we got during the whole process. Moreover, the structure of a process from the very start to the very end – what to consider, and what is important, things you may not forget in order to get a good result in the end.
Christian Rohr: There were no lowlights to be honest; I really have to express that. Maybe there was something once in a while. You should maybe consider talking into detail a little bit earlier, however everything went out really good. From my perspective it was very exciting to have an idea in mind, then win an award with this idea and afterwards see the evolution of that idea, when you get more and more input. This is what happened. It was an evolution, the initial core was still there, however a lot of new elements got attached.
How do you want to continue with that prototype after the Burda Bootcamp?
Annekathrin Weigt: Ideally this test gives us the signal that we are on the right track. A signal, that the product will be accepted. Additonally I have to admit, that the product is going live today! We have a test-phase for a month now. Afterwards we will evaluate the feedback. If the market sees potential, the final goal will be expansion. Ideally getting brands on board that have a wide range, so that we have a the necessary amount of prospects to develop a business model.
What does the Burda Bootcamp mean to you personally?
Christian Rohr: For me it was an extremely exciting time to see, how much you can handle in such a short period of time. Also how to get a very good prototype out of a small idea that enables the product to be tested in a simulated reality. Those ideas are only virtually on paper. The Bootcamp enables us to “test the truth” of that idea.
Annekathrin Weigt: I can only agree. My personal experience was to see, how fast you can actually implement an idea and how it then develops, when clever heads think and take command. It was my personal highlight to see this cooperation live. The better you work together, the better the product will work in the end.
Thanks for the interview !
The Burda Bootcamp is a two-month program by Hubert Burda Media, which is directed towards students of IT (Backend, Frontend, App-Development, Hardware, Data science), Design and Business Administration. In the digital lab in Munich, prototypes and products (applications, web-projects, internal tools) get developed in collaboration with Burda-brands such as Bunte, BurdaStyle, Focus or Chip – even very new Startup-ideas get founded.
The participants work in interdisciplinary teams and split project-based into teams. The results of the latest Bootcamp: 2 projects are set online, 3 are ready-to-launch, 3 have prototype-status (in development). All participants get insights into the Burda environment, from inhouse-tours at Playboy, in the Chip-test-lab, at Focus online and Huffington Post to fireside chats with the executive board. In the end of the two months, all projects get presented to Burda executives, managers and chief editors on the ‘Demo Day’. Successful participants get an opportunity to enter Burda companies such as Xing, Holiday Check, TV Spielfilm or Cliqz.