On June 19, 2020, the Hansgrohe Group was distinguished as one of the top innovators among German medium-sized enterprises for the third time in a row and for the fourth time overall.
In the 27th round of the TOP 100 innovation competition, the Black Forest fittings and shower manufacturer impressed particularly in the categories “Innovative processes and organization” and “Innovation-promoting top management”.
With the TOP 100 seal of approval, innovation researcher Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke and his team attest to the Hansgrohe Group’s remarkable innovative strength: “The innovation successes show the positive effect of a good innovation climate and innovation-oriented structures and methods,” the researcher explains. In an independent scientific analysis by compamedia GmbH, the company subjected itself to around 120 test criteria. For science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar, who has accompanied the competition as a mentor since 2011, the innovations of the TOP 100 are an expression of a we-culture: “The medium-sized companies are concerned about securing their long-term future. They don’t think of progress from the perspective of short-term profit, but rather with an eye to securing the company’s existence,” says Yogeshwar.
Innovation Requires Curiosity, Courage and the Will to Change
Innovative thinking and action were already in focus when the company was founded in 1901 – when Hans Grohe was tinkering with his first hand-held showers. At that time, he developed products for the private bathroom, a market that did not even exist until then. Klaus Grohe, son of the company founder and CEO until 2008, continued the company’s tradition of innovation with his inventive spirit and hands-on mentality. This became the model for today’s innovation team: courage, the right amount of risk taking and a good (gut) feeling are essentials for the required creativity.
For years now, new products that are not older than three years have accounted for more than a quarter of the company’s turnover. “We at Hansgrohe practice innovation management to improve the quality of life of the individual,” says Steffen Erath, Head of Innovation at the Hansgrohe Group. “In other words: The focus of our daily work is on people and their needs. Innovations from the Hansgrohe Group have always offered real added value and made life easier. But thinking consistently about people also means trying out new ways and structures in product development. Driven by the question of what significance digitalization has for Hansgrohe customers, an interdisciplinary innovation team develops products that fundamentally change the shower experience. In 2017, Hansgrohe founded the “Innolab” pilot project in Schramberg, Germany for this purpose: a think tank a few kilometers from the company’s headquarters. In a kind of creative workshop, developers enjoy the freedom to think outside the box, away from daily routine and entrenched streams of thought.
Embrace Change as an Opportunity
hansgrohe RainTunes is a recent example of how successful a systematic focus on the capacity for innovation can be. The novel shower system shows how the trend towards digitalization can be combined with real added value for people. “RainTunes offers a multi-sensory and inspiring shower experience and turns the bathroom into an individualized and very personal place of well-being,” says Erath. In cooperation with experts from different areas of life, hansgrohe has developed the RainTunes scenarios: The synchronization of water temperature and intensity, control of light, fragrance, music and other multimedia applications, combined with the hansgrohe Home App, implements innovative digital possibilities in the bathroom.
More information on Hansgrohe’s innovation management for digitization and product development can be found under:
About TOP 100
Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal of approval for special innovative strength and above-average innovation success to medium-sized companies. Since 2002, the scientific direction has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke. Franke is founder and director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Mentor of TOP 100 is the science journalist and TV presenter Ranga Yogeshwar. Project partners are the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the promotion of applied research and the BVMW. As media partners, manager magazin, impulse and W&V accompany the company comparison. More information is available at www.top100.de.