Innovation management

Innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter. As a result, we must be agile and flexible in how we manage and budget our innovation projects. We orient ourselves to best-practice approaches used by innovative start-ups and successful companies, and to the latest findings from research and academia.

Portfolio and Innovation Board

Established 2013, the Portfolio & Innovation Board (PIB) plays a central role in managing our innovations. It ensures that we prioritize correctly by identifying and selecting key areas of innovation for our Group and deciding on the method of implementation. Our efforts are guided primarily by our innovation priorities and we create full transparency across the Group regarding our investments in innovation.

Corporate Innovation Fund

Our Corporate Innovation Fund (CIF) is managed centrally by the PIB. Similar to a venture capital approach, the CIF offers all business and product ideas generated within the Group a flexible and results-oriented form of funding for a specific project phase. The provision of additional innovation budget allows us, for example, to fund new innovation projects at short notice and with little red tape. Such financing is granted independently of annual planning periods, and therefore intensifies our focus on market and customer requirements. Innovation can take place anywhere across Deutsche Telekom, as long as the proposed business and product ideas fit within our Group’s central innovation focuses.

Investment Committee

We established the Investment Committee to speed up investment decisions on our innovation priorities. Its objective is to act like an (internal) venture capitalist. The Investment Committee allocates funding according to success, orienting itself to the approach used in the start-up industry and among venture capital investors whereby raising new funding from capital investors is dependent on the venture’s performance. This gives us the flexibility we need when developing innovation topics and focuses efforts on success. Funding is only made available for the next project phase when specific outcomes that are relevant to our customers are achieved.

Collaboration and culture

Close collaboration between all VTI units and with the segments across the Group is the key to successful innovation. We involve the segments with market responsibility in the development process right from the get-go. This joint effort ensures that we do not miss the mark during this phase. Having the customer in mind and anticipating their needs and wishes, we are striving to speed up the process of innovation and ensure prompt and more reliable implementation. We embody a new, results-oriented corporate culture, a “maker culture,” that is built around customer centricity, agility, and speed, embracing digitalization and simplicity in the way we work.