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CASE - Transforming R&D and business, collaborating to increase effectiveness and impact

Our client, a well-performing global and independent family owned automotive company, decided to strongly invest in innovation as a key pillar for future growth. To realize this, they created a venture incubator for disruptive innovations, expanded advanced engineering capacity, and launched a division-wide gamified competition, Driving E‑nnovation, to challenge the broader employee community to bring forward ideas for new business opportunities.

Two years down the road, none of the selected winners of the game had made the transition to real new business yet. In this context, divisional management wanted to prioritize and accelerate ongoing R&D projects, and introduced a novel cross-departmental collaboration in a lean manner.

They rolled out Driving E-nnovation II with Venture Spirit, to combine their engineering & business strengths, to valorize their current R&D technologies, and to turn them into real growth via a smoother transfer to the business.

"I strongly believe in Driving E-nnovation. Whilst two years ago the competition was all about new ideas, this round is about transforming them into real growth" - Owner of the company


Phase I: analysis of current project portfolio

In a first step, to truly grasp the challenge, Venture Spirit evaluated the existing R&D portfolio. The screening revealed lots of valuable ongoing projects, 31 of which were deemed suitable to deliver value in the short-term. The selected teams were coached to complete a technical and business one-pager to make them ready for the gamified prioritization process.

Phase II: gamified business transformation

Piloted around a Venture Game format, Venture Spirit installed a lean way of working between R&D and business. The dynamics of the game environment stimulated participants to step out of their personal network and collaborate cross-functionally with R&D, business segments, marketing, and finance, while co-developing the business and action plans to speed up implementation. A tailored communication campaign triggered the entire division community (+4000 people) to step in and have impact.


The engagement and participation levels were very high: more than 30% of the target audience registered, and the 31 selected projects received each 488 community contributions on average from 6 different functional entities. At the end of the game, the best teams were treated to a vehicle exhibition, a factory tour and a crazy off-road driving experience at Porsche in Leipzig, after a Dragon’s Den in front of the executive management jury. The top 3 projects received an immediate ticket to the fast-lane. In addition, each project received specific business support and a dedicated executive board mentor.


  • Committed revenue upside of multiple 10’s of M€ in 1 to 3 years

  • Higher R&D effectivity through increased resource focus on those projects that will move the needle on the short term

  • Transparent de-risking of projects into action plans leading to faster development and smoother transfer to production

  • Transformation in collaboration from push to pull, resulting in higher quality handovers with the business and fewer delays

"We have seen a good number of great projects that can make a difference. Now we are all committed and focused to bring them into business" - Executive Vice President
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