© Fraunhofer IAO
Covering a wide range of research projects, the teams of scientists from Corporate Development and Work Design devise new analysis and design methods, alongside future scenarios, roadmaps and solution approaches. Commercial pilot projects ensure the practicable viability of results. Our customers include public sector sponsors such as the European Union, the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) or the state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as commercial associations focusing on innovation.
We are currently involved in the following research topics:
Live longer. Work longer. Learn longer.|
Demographic developments are radically changing the future requirements for HR development and deployment: the ability of industry to perform effectively increasingly depends on older staff.
Nonetheless, many companies are still planning their HR policy based on the so-called deficit hypothesis, which assumes that the physical and mental capabilities of more elderly employees are inferior. The latest research findings show, however, that this assumption does not stand up to scrutiny.
Together with selected companies in the metal and electrical/electronics industries we are therefore devising and testing new methods of staff management, customized learning strategies and the design of production systems that promote learning. All of these solutions essentially aim to tap into the underutilized potential of older staff.
The project conducted by the Arbeitgeberverbände der Metall- und Elektroindustrie (the regional employers’ associations in the German metal and electrical (M+E) industry) is being conducted on the initiative of Südwestmetall, with scientific management being provided by the IAO and the Center for Neuroscience and Learning in Ulm.
MAREMBA is a collaborative project funded by the German federal ministry of economics and technology (BMWi). The aim is to open up the market potential of major building projects to small and medium-sized enterprises in the electrical trade.
The project involves developing a collaboration platform and facilitating access via mobile terminal devices such as handhelds or cell phones. The system helps smaller tradesmen get involved in invitations to tender by teaming up with others as a cooperation partner.
The technology behind the collaboration system is based on industry-standard software that has been upgraded with a web-based platform and fitted with components to provide mobile access. The researchers involved in the project are working not just on the platform, but also on suitable business and operating models for commercial usage. In addition to the Fraunhofer IAO, the etz Stuttgart (Electrical Technology Center), the skilled trades company Heldele, as well as PDS GmbH and the Baden-Württemberg Manual Trades Association (BWHT) are also involved.
Assembly within Versatile Production Systems|
Flexibility is not enough! Nobody doubts that assembly systems have to be flexible enough to support a range of products.
Future-proof production systems, however, must also be extremely versatile: It should be possible to easily combine the components of an existing system to create new structural system units.
The difficulty is that the assembly-system developers already have to factor in (often still unknown) future requirements. The aim of research in the thematic area of »versatile assembly systems« at the Fraunhofer IAO is to devise criteria and implementation solutions which can respond to new requirements in future, while keeping the time and cost involved to a minimum.
OFFICE 21: The Future of Office Work|
The OFFICE 21 collaborative research project aims to come up with future-oriented solutions for productive, sustainable work in the office.
Together with companies from relevant industries – such as hardware and software vendors, office fitters or real-estate companies – as well as companies that will constitute the subsequent users, scientists at the Fraunhofer IAO are examining results which provide practical, efficient support for future office work. Empirical studies, scenario projects, best-practice analyses and lab studies are being used to increase future process performance and improve the well-being and motivation of staff in tomorrow's office. Prototypes are being developed.
- Office 21
»Bank & Future« Innovation Forum|
Research into key future issues surrounding innovations in the banking sector: some 25 banks and IT service providers from the financial sector are intensively collaborating in the Fraunhofer »Bank & Future« Innovation Forum.
The remit is to leverage close cooperation between users and manufacturers of technology in the banking sector to come up with groundbreaking innovations in the financial-services sector. The requisite innovation processes are being identified and initiated to this end.
- »Bank & Future«
The key topics in the current research phase include »Bank & Future« trend studies conducted annually for Germany and Europe, as well as the development of structures and processes in an industrialized bank. Innovations for financial sales/marketing are also being devised and tested. These include sales/marketing strategies as well as the design of tomorrow's branches, or support through new IT applications. The current findings from the work on the bank branch of the future can be experienced live in a showcase at the Office Innovation Center.
The »FutureHotel« scenario project deals with central issues surrounding the hotel of the future.
Teaming up with partners from the hotel sector, scientists at the Fraunhofer IAO are conducting research into the relevant key developments and associated impact on the hotel industry: types of guests and their requirements are analyzed along with optimization potential for hotel management. New groundbreaking solutions are being showcased, especially for key areas such as hotel rooms, reception or conference areas, taking into account not only technological innovations but also economic and ecological questions and overarching societal factors.
Since the collaborative research project was launched in 2006, ‘Care 2020’ has been discussing and developing groundbreaking strategies and concepts for nursing care in the future.
Together with service providers, manufacturers and sponsors, scientists use project studies in various scenarios to analyze what nursing care could look like in the future, before going on to flesh out the individual scenarios.
- Care 2020
This provides companies from the health & care sector with the opportunity to adapt and develop existing models and solutions further. The innovation potential of new technologies and types of service can thus be highlighted and leveraged.
Overwhelming financial constraints, social change and, not least, the demand for greater sustainability: the general situation faced by the construction industry is (quite rightly) deemed difficult.
But this scenario also opens up great opportunities, not least since the introduction of innovative methods and technologies for planning and construction provides the industry with new impetus.
The FUCON (FUture CONstruction) innovation network provides companies in the construction and real-estate sectors with a platform that enables them to plan ahead in line with these trends and developments. They can thus pool their resources to devise and implement solutions and to create a value-chain in construction that will remain strong in the long term.
Information and communication technologies take on a key role when it comes to cooperative work processes. Without these technologies, rapid and reliable cooperation processes within companies would be inconceivable.
We are, however, still at a loss to explain how and to what extent tangible contextual conditions, such as workspace infrastructure or the communication systems used, influence the structure and the process of cooperative collaboration in innovation processes.
The TRUST collaborative research project funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund is specifically analyzing the role of the work infrastructure in cooperation processes involving several companies. In particular, researchers aim to understand and explain to what extent trust in technology and familiarity with the infrastructure is an important factor. Based on the analysis of these factors it will then be possible to support cooperation processes in future that are more in line with needs and objectives.