The company’s innovation hub, Greiner Technology & Innovation, has set up INNOVENTURES to define the organizational framework for a holistic and ambidextrous innovation strategy and develop content for the individual phases, from the (fuzzy) front end through (potential) integration into the group.  

There’s no guarantee that a company that’s performing well today will continue to do so in the future. Greiner understands this, too. In order to survive and grow over the long term, companies need to take an equally professional approach to developing opportunities for future business as they do to continually improving and expanding their existing areas of business.

But this is easier said than done, because many companies fail to link efficiency and innovation in their strategies. There’s a long list of established companies that have placed too much focus on optimizing their processes and costs and too little on developing unconventional, innovative products and services – including Nokia, Kodak, BlackBerry, Polaroid and many others.

Radical innovations call for agility and courage, because success is now more difficult to predict than ever before. New technologies such as blockchain services, sensors, and 3-D printing are opening up new and unprecedented opportunities. New competitors are emerging, because the development of these technologies often also involves changes to underlying business models.

Based on the concept of a company builder, Greiner Technology & Innovation has now created the organizational framework for a holistic and ambidextrous innovation strategy. Within this context, the Greiner Opportunity Funnel describes the content of the individual phases from the front end through (potential) integration into the group.

The first step is an anticipatory search for weak signals – in other words, taking steps at an early stage to detect opportunities that may lead to new areas with success potential. GTI clusters hundreds of such opportunities into technological fields and submits them to over 150 science and business experts for evaluation. The top 30 are incorporated into the Greiner Signals Radar. In a two-step selection process, the technology experts from the divisions then select the opportunity or opportunities with the most promise for Greiner. A technology deep dive carried out by GTI sheds light on the current environment today and outlines its future development. Various open innovation formats are then used to create pitch decks that include the problem and its solution, the potential customer benefits, and the respective readiness level (technology, manufacturing, and business). Along with the necessary milestones and the budget required to create a functioning prototype, this evaluation is presented to a steering panel primarily comprising external parties who are not operatively active in the company (see picture below).

The projects selected by this committee pass through the following three phases in the incubator.

In the first phase, which is called the black box, the focus is on the product–market fit. This involves defining the problem and developing the offer in detail. Once the required results are available in a sufficiently high level of quality, the next step in the project is the blue box. This phase takes place in the lab and involves creating the product or service as a prototype using an appropriate lab process, followed by obtaining feedback from the customer. The lab prototype demonstrates that the product is essentially feasible from a technical perspective. Development partners play a central role in this step. Once this phase has also been successfully completed, the project moves on to the third step. In the sky box, a prototype manufactured in a pilot system in an industrial setting is tested in real operation. The final goal is to obtain an LOI from a customer, the road map for scaling, and agreements with suppliers as well as to establish the legal framework for a start-up/spin-off.


Packworld, December 10th, 2019: First meeting of the Steering Committee:

From left to right: Dominik Greiner (Speaker of the Board of Family Shareholders), Axel Kühner (CEO Greiner AG), Rupert Petry (Petry Advisory), Christoph Greiner (Member of the Supervisory Board Greiner AG and the Board of Family Shareholders), Marie-Helene Ametsreiter (Speedinvest), Peter Greiner (Member of the Board of Family Shareholders), Hannes Möseneder (Managing Director Greiner Technology & Innovation)