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basics

What is werk_39?

werk_39 is a B. Braun powered innovation lab for internal multidisciplinary teams located in Tuttlingen. The offering is addressed to all business units of B. Braun. werk_39 enables and supports internal teams nominated by the business sponsors. The innovation process happens in specific predefined search fields to improve the health of people worldwide. The teams are geared to act as internal startups (aka “Corporate Startup”) in order to foster the idea of intrapreneurship. The outcome is either marketable solutions or a generated transformational impact for the company.

Why "werk"?

In German the word “werk” has several meanings: Factory, manufacturing site, artwork among others. It also shares the same heritage with the English word “work”. This reflects what is going on inside werk_39: Work on innovation.

Why "39"?

The year B. Braun was founded, 1839, is reflected in the name.

Does werk_39 belong to Aesculap, to B. Braun or is it an independent unit?

werk_39 is no legal entity. It is financed by the division Aesculap. It is part of the virtual structure of the B. Braun Innovation Hub. werk_39 is open for all B. Braun divisions and employees.

What is the essential goal of werk_39?

We have the vision to demystify innovation rather than to turn it into a craft. Repeatable, scalable. For a company to have an innovation lab is just the second-best option. The goal is that werk_39 becomes obsolete once the mother organization has adopted this way of innovation engine at scale.

What is NOT the essential goal of werk_39?

werk_39 is not a “contract developer”, meaning werk_39 will only do “help for self-help” of innovation topics initiated by business units. This means: werk_39 will not do the innovation work for business units on its own. This is just for the sheer benefit that once the team members will go back to their original position after the project they are then equipped with the personal skill and mindset of agile innovation methods.

What is meant by “agile methodology”?

werk_39’s way of working is based on the book “Lean Startup” first published in 2008 by Eric Ries and Steve Blank. Important components of this innovation method are experiments with the customer, i.e. build, measure, learn in constant short-termed loops. For us the essence of “agile” is the ability of an organization to delegate decision power into operational structures. The basic idea of holacracy aka “Tasks & Teams” within B. Braun is very much related.

Does werk_39 have an impact on the profit and loss statement of the company?

This is the essence of our activities. In order to generate significant impact on the P&L of the company we depend not entirely on “great ideas” (there are more than enough) but rather on the mechanics for innovation, especially when it comes to the adaptability of new ideas within the company. We are proud on having contributed to profitable sales by more than 50 million € with solutions developed in werk_39. Also, we are helping the organization to save significant amounts by picking up the right topics and identifying well-fitting external partners at an early stage. Last but not least, we create value for the company by increased innovation know-how.

What is the real value of werk_39?

We put a lot of emphasis on understanding the (customer) problem in the very beginning. This assures to only start projects on promising topics – and neglect others. This saves millions in monetary means and tons of disappointing experiences of highly motivated people. An innovation lab like werk_39 can deliver into two categories: New growth (of marketable products and services) and transformation of the company. Both applies to werk_39.

Why does werk_39 seem to put so much emphasis on creativity?

To generate ideas, creativity and thinking outside boxes are necessities. This must be encouraged e.g. by tools, behavior and architecture. While designing werk_39 we have put true focus on this. And the feedback of team members, guests and stakeholders reflects that the original planning was successful. BUT: Generating ideas is only groundwork, a small fraction of the true innovation work. Ideas are just ideas – ideas become valuable once they are turned into hypotheses which can be validated or rejected. De-risking an idea step by step generates real value.

What are the different roles at werk_39?

The teams invited to work at werk_39 are the so-called “ventures”. We ensure that the developmeht along the customer’s problem is always the focus of all our activities.

Currently eleven permanent employees are working at werk_39 in approx. eight different ventures. “Venture Consultants” mentor the project teams from a methodical point of view. “Venture Specialists” support the project phases with expert knowledge of hospital processes, user experience design and data analytics.

Why is werk_39 located 2.5 km outside of the main Aesculap campus?

Creating something new and unknown to an organization requires trust, freedom and space. Super tough and maybe impossible to accomplish within a legacy environment.

But we also chose wisely to stay in the medical valley.

interact with us

I have a great and innovative idea for B. Braun. How shall I proceed?

Get in contact with us, we will discuss your idea and verify whether it qualifies to become a werk_39 project. Beforehand, please be prepared to validate your “best idea ever” with the customer. werk_39 will help you to do so.

Does werk_39 work with external start-ups?

Our main focus are internal stakeholders from the B. Braun group – the intrapreneurs within the company. During the course of the project, often external partners are identified who we might involve in the project. The experience shows that external start-ups can be well fitting partners.

What is the difference between the B. Braun Acceleration program and werk_39?

The B. Braun Acceleration program exclusively works with pre-selected start-up companies which add value to the B. Braun group. werk_39 is targeted at internal employees (intrapreneurs) and is developing project ideas deriving from internal sources in a corporate startup setting.

Does werk_39 only work with hospitals or also other customer groups?

We are not limited to hospitals as our customers. If the project has benefit for B. Braun customers it can qualify as a werk_39 project. In general, we are focused on marketable solutions.

When does a project idea qualify to become part of werk_39?

Three criteria need to be fulfilled in order to be considered as a werk_39 project.

  1. A search field needs to be defined which adds value to the company
  2. A project sponsor needs to be appointed
  3. And a dedicated project core team needs to be nominated.

We are happy to support in this initiation phase.

It seems that werk_39 wants to earn all the credit for successful projects?

Our goal and ambition is to always put the achievements of the business team in focus. werk_39 is only an enabler. Please bear in mind that for innovation work communication is key: Speak about success and learnings for future projects.

What happens to failures at werk_39?

Failures are cherished as learnings – we live by the credo: “Fail early – fail cheap. And often.” We embrace the culture of the innovation machine “Amazon” … They say: “Amazon is the best place in the world where failure is allowed.”

How can I get hired?

Please check our job and fellowship offerings on our career site. We highly value and look for the “Maker-DNA” in any of our team members and interns. So, please double-check what minor or major “entrepreneurial” project in your private or professional life you have pushed forward.

Can I book a “factory tour” at werk_39 in order to look behind the scenes?

Sure, we offer “werk_tours” approx. once a month free of charge to the interested public. Please contact us. Individual tours may be available on a very limited basis at fees starting at 1,800€. For more information, please contact us. ­­­­

Can I book the space for an event?

Internal colleagues can book the space by directly contacting us via our intranet. Please be prepared to answer what customer problem you plan to solve with your meeting. If you are external and would like to book the space, please get in touch with us.

Is there parking available near to werk_39?

Please note: werk_39 is in a so-called “Mischgebiet”, i.e. not a specifically defined industrial area – a mixed-used zone. Sufficient parking spots can be found in a radius of 150 m. A good relationship with our neighbors is important for us. Please support us by picking a 360°-trouble-free parking spot.

innovation practice @werk_39

How much time is necessary for multidisciplinary teams to stay in Tuttlingen?

Very similar to an external start-up: Focus and dedication are the key success factors. Therefore, the members of a multidisciplinary core team have to dedicate 50%+ of their weekly working hours to the venture. Within the early phases of an innovation project most of the time is spent with customer processes onsite.

How do you define “team”?

A team consists of minimum three dedicated people with different expertise levels and backgrounds.

What is meant with "multidisciplinary teams"?

In the spirit of “Tasks & Teams” (aka holacracy), a multidisciplinary werk_39 team consists of individuals with different, complimentary background and expertise.

What happens after a project has been successfully executed at werk_39?

At the end of a successful experiment and testing phase with the respective future users, a prototype is developed, ready to enter the market. At that point, the project leaves the spheres of werk_39 into the incubation phase. There, the prototype is launched and scaled into the market by other internal departements. A corporate spin-off or cooperation with external partners is also possible.

Has werk_39 an international approach?

We are open to all employees within B. Braun. We are in the process of transforming our offering to other regions under the name of “werk_39 remote”.

Isn’t the expression “intrapreneurship” a contradiction in itself?

Intrapreneurship (is very comparable to corporate entrepreneurship)
“An intrapreneur is an internal change agent, and intrapreneurs initiate action rather than respond to circumstances; they are restless, active and persistent.” (Wilson, 1992)

What does “co-creation” mean?

Co-creation is the creation of value together with customers and partners, i.e. innovators, start-ups, universities, players in the medtech-ecosystem.

Does werk_39 offer funds to the project teams?

We fund each project team 30.000€ for the early stages of the project. The overall project costs must be stemmed by the project sponsor from the core business.

What is the difference between EXPLORE and EXPLOIT?