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Nowadays, whenever it is possible for consumers to automate their building using a coviva smart box and regulate room temperature with intelligent tado thermostats, this is largely the result of a collaboration between very different partners. Both innovations were brought to the market by the Hager Group – one of the market leaders in the electrical engineering industry with 12,000 employees – and two start-ups, who originally developed the innovations. This coming together of diverse partners is thanks to the innovation platform CODE_n. Above all, however, it is an example of the openness with which the Hager Group receives new ideas and approaches.
CODE_n was founded by businessman Ulrich Dietz (GFT Technologies) and is Europe's most important platform for new companies and fresh ideas from the world of information technology. For the CODE_n event in 2013, 250 start-ups from Algeria, the USA, Brazil and 32 other countries applied to participate with their solutions from the fields of smart energy and energy efficiency. The 50 best applicants were invited to the event. The top three solutions were awarded a special innovation prize by the Hager Group, which was represented by a variety of developers at the CODE_n event.
According to Daniel Hager, CEO of the Hager Group: "We want action, not talking. We don't focus on tomorrow, but today. We believe in the power of creativity x communication. This is why we participated in CODE_n and recognised outstanding ideas with a special award". Two of these ideas have been further developed by experts from the Hager Group in collaboration with the start-ups – an intelligent thermostat, conceived by four former students from the University of Esslingen, and a smart box for automating buildings, designed by codeatelier GmbH, a start-up based in Baden-Württemberg.
Now, both solutions have been successfully launched on the market by the Hager Group. In this way, the young entrepreneurs benefit from the experience and market expertise of the Hager Group and, in turn, the company benefits from their fresh ideas and new approaches.
"For a product to be highly innovative and also equipped with the latest technology, the developer team must be at least as creative as the product itself", says Jochen Schöllig, managing director of codeatelier GmbH. "This is precisely what has been achieved in the partnership between the Hager Group as an experienced electrical engineering manufacturer and our start-up company. Despite the age difference of about 60 years, we complemented each other so well that we would always recommend this unusual configuration".
The results of the collaboration have also been positive for the Hager Group. "All in all, the collaboration was a success – not least thanks to the motivation and inspiration it gave our staff", says Daniel Hager. "I ask any young entrepreneur out there, who has a great idea for the Hager Group, to get in touch. We would be delighted to hear from you".
The entire interview with Daniel Hager can be read here.