WACKER Digital Silicon Valley Challenge

19 WACKER employees – three teams – four weeks – a lot of ideas – new business models

We are looking for new ideas for business models – and we need your help!

Digitalization is changing our everyday lives and working environment. It’s not just about new technologies, but also about new working methods, ways of thinking and, above all, new business models. And it is precisely this potential that we want to exploit – with the Silicon Valley Challenge!

What is the Silicon Valley Challenge?

We want the Silicon Valley Challenge to boost growth, innovative strength and entrepreneurial spirit at WACKER: We are sending 19 WACKER employees to spend four weeks in California’s Bay Area, the area around San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

In workshops and seminars, they will get to know agile methods such as design thinking, receive coaching and immerse in the local start-up scene. Mostly, however, they will deal with digital business models and their implementation.

Back home, they will present their findings and, crucially, digital business ideas, contributing to the successful development of the WACKER Group in the process.

Why are we doing this?

Finding different, new and better ways of doing things: this is what lies behind WACKER’s many years of success. Over more than 100 years of history, WACKER has continued to develop and actively promote new technologies and ideas. And we want to continue to nurture this spirit!

“We’re introducing a group of motivated and talented people from different business areas, roles and hierarchy levels into an inspiring environment where they can experience a different way of working and learn how to develop new business models”.

Dirk Ramhorst, CIO/CDO Foundation

That’s how we want to expand WACKER’s network and gather new ideas. But above all, this will give us the opportunity to continue shaping the challenges of the future: Creating Tomorrow’s Solutions.

What are digital business models?

A business model describes the basic principle according to which we create value. The use of new, digital technologies like the internet or smartphones makes a business model “digital”.

Digitalization has created completely new opportunities for companies to create added value: by integrating digital technologies into existing business models on the one hand, but also because completely new models have been created – such as Uber, Spotify or Facebook.

WACKER is already working on digital business models too – just take ACEO® as an example. And we need more of them!

 Why Silicon Valley?

The Bay Area is a global melting pot for the tech and IT industries, but is also home to creative business founders and a culture of innovation. In addition to many large IT and software companies such as Apple, SalesForce, CISCO and HP, a whole range of successful start-ups like Uber, airbnb, facebook, LinkedIn and Paypal are also located here.

“The special thing about Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is this unique culture: high-tech know-how mixes with networked thinking and the implementation of one’s own idea into a successful business model – that is the mindset unique to Silicon Valley!

Axel Schmidt, CDO Frontend

It’s this inspiring environment made up of established companies, young founders and highly skilled specialists from all over the world that we want to benefit from – for WACKER and our employees!

“We are looking for employees who have the courage to think into the future, are innovative, can create something new and want to try out new ways of doing things. Digitalization brings with it unimaginable opportunities, and we want to seize those opportunities together!

Jörg Krey, CDO Operations

What’s the schedule?

The application phase from October 15 to November 11, 2018 was a huge success – we received 368 applications! And it was not just the mere number of possible candidates that posed a great challenge for us, but also the abundance of ideas and creativity, ranging from applications with QR codes or self-made videos to podcasts, posters or photo collages.

However, now the final participants are chosen – and we will present them here soon!

On February 20, 2019, the Challenge will start – and the candidates will surely be suprised how soon four weeks can be over. On March 20, they will return to Munich to be ready for March 22, our Pitch Day: The three teams will present their business models and ideas to a panel consisting of WACKER’s Executive Board, the Division Heads, the CDOs and external start-up entrepreneurs.

The best idea wins – and the winning team will then have the unique opportunity to implement their business model at WACKER!

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