The Volkswagen Group has already opened 37 Competence Centers and IT labs around the world. At the ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab in Prague, a team of 20 experts in digitization, business and finance are working to rethink mobility.
Visionaries who are also realists
Jarmila Plachá heads the “workshop for ideas” in the Czech capital. The team members in DigiLab not only know the ŠKODA brand and the automotive industry as a whole like the back of their hands, but they also have a much more important aspect in common: they understand start-ups or come directly from them. Plachá plans to triple the size of her team, and is looking for “young people who think outside the box and creatively experiment with new technologies”. She wants to hire inventive people who passionately fuel innovation. People who think in terms of solutions that can be used to overcome barriers in unconventional ways. Her team consists of visionaries who are also realists, people who always focus on customers and products of the future.
A question of chemistry
The Head of the DigiLab does not select the experts by herself. During an assessment, she watches closely to see whether a team has the right chemistry to work together. For this reason, all applicants spend two days working on a specific project in the DigiLab. The point of the test is not just to come up with an interesting result. The path taken to get there also determines whether a candidate has succeeded in fitting into the team: Did the individual communicate constructively in the team? Did he or she tap the knowledge of the team and of external sources, or did rely solely on his or her own ideas? How closely did the applicant focus on the needs of future customers?
Thinking outside the box together
Plachá also stresses the importance of thinking outside the box. Her employees conduct an intensive exchange of knowledge and technology: they profit from the research results of collaborating universities and the unconventional ideas of other thinkers and talented students. They also draw inspiration from the visions of passionate, creative start-ups and incubators. Finally, they initiate partnerships with visionaries and experts in IT, financial services and telecommunications. The Prague DigiLab’s team seek out and develop ideas, test them and design customer-focused products and services so that people can drive in a simpler, safer, more efficient and more comfortable manner in the future.
A construction site for new ideas
Plachá and her team are currently evaluating more than 40 new-mobility ideas. They are also putting some of them to the test. For instance, “Mobility with Care”, a platform designed to train “drivers-caretakers”. This idea comes from the concrete requirements of those who have to take care of not just their own mobility needs, but also those of a family member: lifts to the doctor, friends, sports club or school have to be integrated into the person’s daily schedule. “Mobility with Care” is a platform that trains an individual to be a “driver-caretaker” and then provides services for interested relatives to meet their individual needs.
Source: Volkswagen AG