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Promoting Innovation and Creativity at Bertelsmann

60 Bertelsmann talents from all divisions and various countries meet, and are given one minute each to present their business idea. The participants select ten of the ideas for further development. They then spend two and a half days working on them in workgroups, with the support of programmers, designers, marketing and sales experts. In the end, three of the ideas are selected by a panel of judges and presented at Executive Board level. That, in a nutshell, is how the Creativity Bootcamp works – a format for honing business and product development skills and teaching the abilities and methods involved. Bertelsmann University developed this program series in collaboration with UFA Lab, Gruner + Jahr Greenhouse, and Penguin Random House.

Exclusive insights into a creative learning environment

In May, Bertelsmann colleagues in Berlin had the opportunity to put their business ideas to the test and develop them further in small groups, in a creative working atmosphere with plenty of freedom to experiment. The video clip gives impressions from this latest Creativity Bootcamp.

From idea to product

At this year's Creativity Bootcamp in Berlin, the following three ideas prevailed: First, digital assistants (chatbots) in the travel segment, for greater efficiency in customer service; second, a video community for panoramic films (“Instagram for 360-degree video”); and third, an innovative educational format featuring YouTube stars and celebrities tutoring on specific topics and school subjects on a YouTube channel. The concepts were evaluated by the five-member jury consisting of Bertelsmann executives and external members, most recently including Mark Miller, founder and partner of the corporate finance boutique CatCap, and Christoph Räthke, investor and founder of the Berlin Startup Academy. These three business ideas will be discussed at the next “Creativity Advisory Board” meeting chaired by Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe. Each project has a chance of being developed into a finished, market-ready product.

“Creativity and innovation are among the ten strategic priorities Thomas Rabe announced at the Management Meeting 2016,” explains Steven Moran, Chief Learning Officer at Bertelsmann. “Bertelsmann University’s mission is to strengthen the innovative capacity of employees and promote creative potential within our own ranks. The Creativity Bootcamp is perfect for this. The participants’ work on participants’ real business ideas in an experimental learning environment promotes the development of innovation skills – add to that the benefit that it may give rise to concrete results for new products or services at Bertelsmann. In this way, we support the corporate and HR strategy alike.”

The next Creativity Bootcamp takes place from November 2 to 4, 2016 in New York. Nominations are currently being made by divisional Heads of HR in the various divisions. (benet)

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