Burda Bootcamp – A Best Practice Example of Corporate Innovation in the Media Branch

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.


First off we need to clarify: What is innovation? Innovation is the process of using new procedures and introducing new techniques in order to renew a certain field and to bring it up-to-date. However, new products, services and procedures are just innovative, if they are actually getting applied and find customers to become competitive.

Usually there are two ways to develop Corporate Innovation within enterprises. Ideas are either bought externally or self-produced. However you can see a mixture of both, usually at big banks that built up accelerator programs, where startups collaborate with those enterprises in order to come up with innovations. Hence they are usually used internally.


The concept of Burda and its Burda Bootcamp is an intrinsic program that develops the ideas of their own brands to finished prototypes within a very short timeframe. Therefore it is very important that their own brand’s ideas are compatible with the Bootcamp. This means that the idea needs to be ready to work on within a very short time, what often times collides with time-management processes of those brands. Hence communication is key, not only in terms of expectation management, but also in terms of continuous and fast communication with the Bootcamp. A crucial factor is that ideas must be viable to be realized within a very short time.


Therefore we recruit highly motivated and highly educated students from all over Europe to come in our Innovation Lab in Munich. Not only to make Burda attractive for younger people, but moreover to collect external, clever and creative minds and to keep them within Burda. No company can avoid the fact that technical specialists are crucial to stay competitive. Thus the Burda Bootcamp also trains young professionals that are needed in the own enterprise.


The own Bootcamp program catches mavericks and clever chaps, who also come up with their own ideas and breath fresh air into present processes and products – this is crucial to become innovative! How come that startups seem so much more innovative than big companies, why is corporate innovation so difficult to implement? The reason for that is often the iterative approach to new things. Touching the own enterprise’s dogma, question the own business model?


Within big companies, it often lacks brave thinkers, people, who dare to turn the current business model or product, since attacking the own flagship might be a risky decision. What does that look like in startups or for young, creative professionals? They often have very good ideas and concepts and they first off just develop their product without thinking about any company policy. Those ideas don’t have to pass several layers inside an innovation funnel, which often lead to certain adjustments towards present company structures. Those people just do it. However, startups often have problems with the rollout of their product or to stay competitive afterwards.


Incubator- and accelerator programs unite the strengths of concerns with the strengths of startups and external, creative minds. Within the media branch, Burda and its Burda Bootcamp take on a leading role regarding corporate innovation. Smart and creative students from of specialties to have a prospective product in the end are enhancing their own brand’s ideas. Those Bootcamp participants act as a kind of catalyst for Burda-owned brands. However, also in such a well working accelerator program as at Burda, disruptive ideas are not as easy to implement as it sounds, since their daughter-brand’s ideas also have to adapted to the general concept of the enterprise.


But this system also lacks the establishment of this prototype to a marketable product. A cultural change is crucial for that. What they have is platform for innovations and the expertise of the Bootcamp’s participants. The missing part is a successful implementation of this development within the company and especially the further establishment in the market. At the latest, this is the point where consultants come into play.

External consultants are independent, breath in fresh air and are key to innovations. Experienced consultants with years of experience in diverse branches bring the necessary structure needed to develop prototypes to marketable products. They often act as moderators and steersmen between all kinds of departments to enhance the communication and the collaboration within the company.

Therefore Burda goes the right way with their own corporate innovation program. Within the media branch, programs like that are yet unmatched. However, it is uncertain, how those results and prototypes are further taken hands on. In order to launch the product as efficient, the final process of product development has to be coped.


Thank you very much for the interview, Philipp Holz!


What is the Burda Bootcamp and how do they live Corporate Innovation? Learn more about the Bootcamp program and their head Natalia Karbasova in our first part about Corporate Innovation at Burda!


Das Burda Bootcamp



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.

Christoph Kornstaedt

After a successful undergraduate study in General Business Administration with a major in innovation-management, Christoph Kornstädt could build up extensive practical experience in the fields of Marketing, PR and Web-Development. He now uses this knowledge to support Safari and to enhance the Content Marketing department. Moreover he is responsible for Growth Hacking approaches and is studying International Business Studies as a graduate study.