MedForce 2018

June 25 - 26, 2018

Omni Parker House, Boston, MA


Here's How Siemens Healthineers Got Over a Shaky Start to Become an Award-Winning Location for Ideas

brought to you by WBR Insights

Any new initiative can have teething problems when it's first put into practice. However, with persistence, idea management, and innovative marketing, there's very little a strong company like Siemens can't come back from.

The manufacturing conglomerate was first founded as Siemens & Halske by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske in 1847. Their initial product was an alternative to Morse code transmission, which used a needle to indicate the sequence of letters making up a communication. The following year, the company created Europe's first long distance telephone line and was then responsible for building networks all over the world, from St Petersburg to London.

Today, Siemens manufactures products for almost every industry there is, and employs over 350,000 people. The Munich-based company has revenues of $88,419 and hold the #66 spot on the Fortune 500.

Siemens Healthineers

In 2016, the healthcare branch of Siemens' business took the decision to rebrand itself into something it thought would resonate more keenly with the millennial and Y generations. Previously named simply "Siemens Healthcare," they opted for the slightly cartoony and exploration-invoking "Healthineers" as a replacement.

The goal of the Healthineers is to leverage the enormous quantity of data and insights generated by around 60,000 Siemens systems running worldwide, and use that information to drive new and exciting health service designs, sales, and promotion.

"Data is at the heart of what we do," Healthineers said via a press release. "We now consolidate the unprecedented volume of data and insights derived from our installed base of over 60,000 running systems worldwide and turn them into leading-edge enterprise and digital health services. This uniquely positions us to move the business of healthcare forward by helping our customers realize new opportunities."

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However, when it came time to launch the new brand, the responses to the presentation were not entirely complimentary, with the Financial Times going so far as to call it "a writhing spandex-clad horror." What had probably seemed like a unique and innovative marketing gimmick at inception had left people bewildered and confused as to what the message was supposed to be at execution.

Idea Management

However, rather than crumble under the weight of an unsuccessful launch, Siemens pushed forwards with its Healthineers rebrand while learning from its mistakes. "The new brand underlines Siemens Healthcare's pioneering spirit and its expertise in the healthcare industry," said the company via a statement.

One of the more interesting innovations developed by Healthineers is to build on the company's long-standing idea management program. Idea management takes the age-old concept of the employee suggestion box - and shifts it up a gear. To date, the program, dubbed "3i," has yielded more than 400 suggestions per day as of 2017 and, in total, more than three quarters of these ideas have been implemented, either company-wide or locally.

So successful has the Siemens idea management program been that the company was recently awarded the first-place award for "Best Idea Management" by the German Zentrum Ideenmanagement interest group. The suggestions are used to drive everything within the company from product design and customer service, to marketing and sales.

"Our employees' knowledge and personal commitment are decisive for our company's success," said Janina Kugel, Siemens' Chief Human Resources Officer. "We want to leverage this vast potential in order to make our processes even faster and more secure, to make our products even better and to increase customer value. The 3i program plays a key role in this regard since it gives us a way to call for and foster entrepreneurial thinking and entrepreneurial action."

Final Thoughts

The launch of Healthineers may not have gone as smoothly as Siemens may have hoped, but with fresh thinking, they have successfully pushed past those initial stumbles to drive award-winning innovations for the company.

The final word goes to Siemens Healthineers.

"3i is the Siemens-wide program that promotes, implements and rewards employee ideas and initiatives. What is a good 3i idea? It is one that identifies "what" should be improved, outlines "how" something can be improved and explains "why" the idea's implementation will be a real improvement for our customers, employees and/or Siemens itself."

You can hear Siemens Healthineers' Senior Vice President of Sales Operations and Communications, Terry Coutsolioutsos, speak at MedForce 2018 this June in Boston, MA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.