How can ThyssenKrupp, an industry-heavyweight with 150.000 employees, flourish in the wake of digitalization?

In the quest for answers to this question, ThyssenKrupp gathered its top innovation managers and digital innovators at its campus in Essen with the purpose of learning and sharing insights. Thinslices was asked to conduct an App Development Workshop for ThyssenKrupp’s top innovation managers. We held two workshop sessions with the same content but different audience members. To our delight, we had the pleasure of meeting top managers with eager interest, ideas, and a hands-on mentality.

ThyssenKrupp Technology Forum

 When we read the email with the request to hold a hands-on app-development workshop at ThyssenKrupp, we were more than curious. ThyssenKrupp has a legendary tradition and its roots can be traced back to Krupp’s founding in 1811. Krupp is also known for its company culture that made employees “Kruppianers”. The latter were asked to adhere to strong ethical principles (laid in the corporate regulative from 1872) and received numerous social benefits including health insurance and a company pension.

Our objective for the workshop: give managers a good understanding and hands-on experience of how the app-development process works.

ThyssenKrupp App Development

Our first surprise: both workshop sessions were fully booked!

During the two sessions, we tackled the importance of a clear app-development process in order to reduce risk and uncertainty. The first step is - as for every business endeavor - to clearly define the value proposition. At this point, we were already deep diving into engaging discussions.

Then came the crafting of the process itself. ThyssenKrupp’s managers sat down in groups, drafted value propositions, defined user stories and sketched screens. Time-boxing helped to focus all efforts.

When developing a digital product, the main challenge is to focus on the core value and to say “no” to any feature that has not been previously tested on the market or with potential users. 

Not only did the workshop trigger ideas for real-life apps, it also helped ThyssenKrupp’s managers understand the process.

Both workshop sessions ended with several key takeaways for the participants:

Key Takeaways

  • Define a clear value proposition for your app and a clear business objective to ensure success for your investment in an app. This is also very important for the development partner to know these objectives, so they can support you in reaching them.
  • Define user stories
  • Draw a map of all the needed screens (the concept map)
  • Sketch by hand how the screens should look like
  • Follow the lean product development methodology by starting with the smallest possible product (Minimum Viable Product - MVP); Involve users/ customers as early as possible
  • Follow a clearly defined process with separate stages

For ThyssenKrupp, technical progress and innovation are key to meeting current and future customer demands, and market requirements on a  global level. The workshop showed top managers that you don’t need in-depth knowledge about software to design a great app that generates value.

„Thank you for conducting the workshop! It was a great contribution to make our Technology Forum successful!“

Dr. Reinhold Achatz, Head of Corporate Function Technology, Innovation & Sustainability, ThyssenKrupp