Ambitious climate targets are not achievable with conventional technologies. The key lies in innovations. Our innovation hub, the ‘Fichtner VisionLab’ (VLab), promotes new ideas from within our own ranks or out of our cooperation with researchers and partners. It covers the entire process from the development of an idea through to the execution of the first projects in the Fichtner Group’s business divisions.

VLab serves to develop, collect, discuss and coordinate product ideas through interdisciplinary dialog. It also initiates and oversees research projects and develops suggestions for strategic initiatives and partnerships of the Fichtner Group. The VLab acts as a “listening post” for long-term developments throughout the Fichtner Group. Its goal is to develop findings and ideas into marketable products and services by means of a structured process, and to systematically transform them into consulting services.

A source of inspiration for innovations: the Fichtner Summer School

A breeding ground for innovation has also been established in the form of the Fichtner Summer School, an annual forum for young Fichtner employees where experienced Fichtner colleagues (“lecturers”) share information and knowledge about the latest developments and consulting products in the Fichtner Group. The “students” work on case studies in which they convert their new know-how directly into consulting solutions over the course of the week-long event. The Summer School and the VLab are closely integrated with each other, so the results of those case studies can be quickly and easily transferred into Fichtner Group consulting products.

To strengthen the synergy effects and encourage dialog between the Summer School participants, we have founded the Innovator’s Circle. It consists not only of the Summer School’s participants (the students and lecturers), but also experienced colleagues from within the Fichtner Group. In ideation meetings, we venture out of our usual ways of thinking, question things and take on unfamiliar perspectives in thinking outside the box. This supports and systemizes dialog about new innovations and the consulting products to be derived from them. The innovation projects at this year’s Fichtner Summer School – FENCI, FIXSTOR, H2-Squad and FichtnerFire – range from a self-learning algorithm for smart city districts through to CO2-neutral energy supply for farming businesses or the potential uses of hydrogen as a climate-neutral substitute energy carrier.

Masterclub and MEX: Evolving through dialog

The Fichtner Group’s Masterclub gives our bachelor students, master students, doctoral candidates and interns an opportunity to discuss their academic works, practice presenting the results and get feedback from Fichtner colleagues. Some ex Masterclub members have gone on to become esteemed colleagues. To ensure that the know-how of experienced staff, and also that of external experts, can continue to be used in developing the Fichtner Group’s consulting products, we have also established another format called MEX (Most Experienced Experts).

The formats described here are part of the Fichtner Group’s innovation management, which is continually evolving through dialog with the Board of Directors, the branch offices and the advisory board to ensure that the Fichtner Group continues to play a leading role in future as an independent engineering and consulting firm.