A Nice and Welcoming City & Butterflies in our Tummies
As Master’s students of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, when we were told that the study trip this year would be to Stuttgart, we got truly excited. A study trip to Stuttgart meant a promise to visit some best innovative companies and discuss some of their interesting projects on the horizon.
Stuttgart in May is full of green leaves and flowers! From the late and snowy spring of Helsinki, we immediately moved to a lush, almost summer vegetation of Stuttgart, with fountains, sculptures, museums, market places and a busy downtown where the host university, Stuttgart Hochschule fűr Technik (HFT) campus, was located.
As a group of Master’s students, we represented 9 different countries and a mix of different educational background and job profiles. We were looking forward to two exciting days of workshops, industry visits, and cultural exposure.
Day 1, University Campus
The first day was scheduled as a Team and Organizational Development day together with the local students. Our partner university invited Business Psychology students to co-create with us. There was a lot of collaboration, and the energy was amazing. We managed to learn the things that we would never thought of before.
Freytag’s Pyramid – The Classic Theatre Way of Communication
The classic theatre way of communication was discussed based on the German playwright Gustav Freytag’s nifty diagram, Freytag’s Pyramid. It develops from exposition to denouement, which – as we learnt – can be spectacularly used for application in marketing and sales.
This session was very well planned, engaging and fun-filled with group activities moderated by Business Psychology students.
The team task was to develop a plot how an online store MiHaNi could partner with a traditional physical store LuSuBa. The online store wanted to enable customer services and support, while LuSuBa looked to increase their sales by including the online channel. Six different teams, combining both HFT and Metropolia students, were formed (with three roles for each team, the Management, Sales and Marketing) for creating a plausible scenario for this plot. Each team demonstrated special skills, and a few rose up to instant fame with terrific acting skills. We also found the creative side of individuals here!
This was followed by a quick floor walk at the “Job fair” that was located at this moment on the campus. It was amazing to find so many top companies having opportunities for fresh graduates.
Day 1, Industry Visits
Later on Day 1, we had a unique opportunity to enjoy a session conducted by Daniel Deparis (Head of Smart Lab @ Daimler) on the topic of “Strategy and Innovation”. The session gave us insight into Daimler’s way of working, a crisp forum that emphasized that, in order to be innovative, a strong foundation – ”the Why, the Team, and the Sponsor” – becomes vitally important. We could almost feel a real customer centricity urge that must be the main atmosphere at Daimler. Bliss and pains of being a pioneer, the flops and tops of innovation and importance of attitude were all reviewed. We also learnt that a lean start-up culture is the way to be successful in innovation.
Day 2, Visit to Bosch
Day 2 started with a factory tour to Bosch that gave insight about the current trends in Industry 4.0. During the guided factory tour, we were given the first-hand information on versatile Industry 4.0 solutions – connecting digital and physical technologies, AI, the Internet of Things, Robotic Process Automation, etc. – and saw how they can help companies to make their production line more efficient.
We also went through the action floor with its connected services, interactive dashboard, enabled personnel for making informed decision – everything possible was done to digitalize work and help the production floor to work and be managed efficiently. This was a place where value is definitely created. The action floor also gave us an overview that there are some amazing job vacancies out there for engineering graduates. To be engineers, graduates – is definitely worth it!
Day 2, Visit to Mercedes Benz Consulting
This session started with a tour over the Mercedes Benz Consulting office. For many of us, Mercides Benz has been a dream from an early age. Visiting their consulting office and interacting with product developers, researchers and business development folks fueled us with the top up energy.
We had an opportunity to see the Virtual Retail Lab, Consumer experience lab with games and AR to engage customers and, an interactive whiteboard that can be used for conducting interactive meetings with clients and brainstorming new areas within the company. No doubt, as the world is heading to a digital transformation, innovation in retail at Mercedes Benz will sure continue and we will perhaps get to see some real disruption very soon!
If you happen to visit Stuttgart, buffer some time to visit their wonderful downtown restaurants. We consider ourselves lucky to have had a chance to visit all the industrial companies. But it was also a great moment to have an evening with our course advisors. There, we discussed many interesting topics including the comparison of industries, museums, and also beers – to what it was some time ago.
As all good things must come to an end, we gathered many memories from Stuttgart to cherish for the days to come. As Metropolia students, we would like to thank both Metropolia instructors and our Stuttgart advisors Prof. Dr. Patrick Planing and Prof. Dr. Katrin Allmendinger for arranging this trip that gave a new dimension to our learning. From dusk to dawn, they kept us busy to explore. It helped also to socialize and know each other a bit more personally and professionally. While we discussed, visualized and experienced innovation and its management “at the desk” in class, the study trip brought these lessons to life.
About the Authors
Sudhindra and Satish Kumar – MBA students at Master’s programme in Business Informatics, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Both have 18+ years of industry experience in diversified roles and responsibilities and hail from India. They both have something in common: they are avid readers, love travelling, inquisitive and believe in food for thought. Both possess a passion to be entrepreneurs. They have been together during this whole trip and decided to co-author this blog.
Sudhindra – ; Satishkumar –
Antti Hovi – Senior lecturer at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, the instructor and inspirer of “Innovation and Renewal” course who organizes and nurtures students in their innovation efforts, including the study trips.
Photos by the authors.