Trnsfrmrs Innovation Tour 2019

Escorted from central Zurich, Trnsfrmrs travelled together and got to know each other during the journey to Munich for a visit to Steelcase, IBM, and Adobe. They were welcomed in Munich with a hearty meal at the famous beer hall and garden Augustin Keller – a historic venue for Oktoberfest celebrations since 1880.


Sep 5 & 6, 2019

Munich Innovation Tour

Following a traditional Bavarian meal, the group embarked on a discovery tour of the Steelcase LINC. It is a 10,000 sqm research, development and innovation hub for workspace environments. Steelcase is one of the world’s leading office architecture firms, employing 12,000 people globally and with a revenue of US $3.4 billion in 2019. Steelcase, presented by WSA, is also a proud partner of Worldwebforum 2020.

Teams are under more pressure than ever – expected to untangle complex problems, deliver fantastic results, and do it all faster than their competitors. During the tour, Trnsfrmrs observed how different spaces for creative teams could be designed and support hyper collaboration. They were presented case studies of innovation inspired by the built and furnished environment. Research and development psychologists explained the flow of effects impacting human behaviours and emotions at work that affect a company’s openness to ideas, attitude to experimentation, and culture.

In a keynote titled “Workplace Future”, the core concept of the future of work was broken down into people, space and technology. By starting with people, looking at the user and understanding their behaviours and how they interact with each other, in their environment and with which tools, companies can innovate in a way that ensures user adoption as it has been designed with user-centricity. Stephan Derr points out that when planning for innovations, there are definitely multiple future scenarios. Which one/s to invest efforts in will depend on the likelihood of that version of the future emerging, as indicated by data insights, systems and human behaviours. Watch his interview here to understand the inspiration and trends that are driving the future of workspaces.

Following the presentation, Trnsfrmrs moved into workshop on Hyper Collaboration – the major catalyst of our future’s new way of working, with new rules. Rather than just “agile”- the new design thinking methodologies are dividing business approaches into “Agile-Inspired” versus “Agile Focused”. With interactive planning on high-tech smart-screens for digital collaboration, Trnsfrmrs made action plans and discussed possibilities to hyper-collaborate with each other and key partners in their respective businesses, and seek design alliances with an Agile-focused approach.

Dinner & Cocktails

Day 1 of the Trnsfrmrs Innovation Tour ended with lively dinner and cocktails (and a few cheeky shots!) and a restful stay in the design-driven 25 Hours hotel, Munich.

The second day was divided between a visit to the IBM Watson IoT Center and Adobe Munich.

The IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich is a place where innovative technology from an industry perspective is combined with new ideas using design thinking techniques.
At IBM Garage, clients and IBM engineers and designers work together to discover “proof points” for their ideas, then consultants work with the clients to make roadmaps for scalability.

At IBM, Andrea Martin, Distinguished Engineer & Head of Watson IoT Center Munich delivered the Technology Outlook for the next 5 years, citing 5 key trends as:

  1. Artificial Intelligence solutions will be used in every industry across all applications
  2. Instrumented Planet, combining IoT with AI and other functionalities
  3. Business Networks such as Multi cloud and blockchain, for example to help track and trace high value items for source integrity.
  4. New computing paradigms: architectures such as quantum computing that help accelerate AI and other innovative “chip and hardware” technologies
  5. 5G

Also part of the IBM tour was a presentation about the IBM Research Dataspace by Wolfang Rodler, Manager of the Watson IoT Client Experience, a hands-on IoT lab by Srijnan Sanyal, IBM Watson IoT Lab Leader for Manufacturing and Natural Resources. See their videos here.

As final stop in a tour packed with new ideas and food for thought and action, the Trnsfrmrs visited the Adobe headquarters in Munich. Most known for inventing the beloved PDF and Photoshop applications, Adobe are the world-leaders in creative and marketing software, providing tools and software for companies wanting to create inspiring experiences for their customers.

The top 3 trends affecting by Adobe’s innovators include:

  1. Artificial intelligence, and not just as a big buzzword. 93% of companies with more than 5,000 employees will be using some form of AI in the next 5 years. AI helps Adobe to develop quicker, smarter and more tailored products.
  2. Leaders of their client companies say: A beautiful product is not enough, we need to make sure our customer experience is one of the most relevant competitive advantages
  3. Subscription model: Regardless of industry, Companies that have switched to a recurring revenue model have grown 5- 9 times faster that the S&P 500 list of companies.


The whirlwind trip concluded with apero and a journey back to Zurich as Trnsfrmrs unpacked the many ideas, facts and learnings that they had gained from the 2 day tour. Many Trnsfrmers will return to the innovation hosts to further develop their ideas, while many will continue discussions with each other about how to continue on the journey of Hyper Collaboration.

Volvo Art Session

Save the date!


The next Trnsfrmrs event is the Volvo Art Series in Zurich, scheduled for 24th October 2019.
To be part of this group of cross-industrial innovators, register your interest to become a member in the form below.

Become a Trnsfrmr