Fraunhofer IAO

Human and technology in the digital world of work

Digital technologies are transforming our working world with profound effects on business and society. Digitalization modernizes and revolutionizes long-established practices and processes in the blink of an eye. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO works together with companies and public-sector bodies and institutions to develop strategies, business models and solutions for digital transformation.

In our center for applied science research, we focus on the following key areas

  • Holistic approaches to work design and organization and corporate cultures
  • Pioneering solutions for human-machine interaction
  • Development and implementation of innovation and technology strategies
  • Application of virtual and augmented reality
  • Cognitive systems and artificial intelligence
  • Sustainable solutions for tomorrow’s mobility
  • System innovations for livable and adaptable cities

Our goal is to systematically optimize the ways in which people, organizations and technology interact.

Working together with large corporations as well as SMEs, we tap into the potential of new technologies such as cognitive computing, blockchain, autonomous driving and IoT platforms and apply it to product innovations, process improvements and new business models. In doing so, we enable our customers to quickly and efficiently align the potential offered by new technologies with market requirements and leverage this potential for their own products and processes. Our interdisciplinary research teams seek to provide the best possible support to people in their jobs by developing solutions for efficient human-machine interaction.

Our clients

Our clients range from major corporations and SMEs to public sector bodies and institutions.

Our solutions

We offer you a distinctive knowledge advantage and show you ways of quickly adapting this knowledge to your specific needs and using it to make your business more profitable. Whatever the project, people are at the heart of everything we do – and we never lose sight of the social repercussions.

Our teams

Our interdisciplinary teams bring together colleagues from a range of specialist fields, including business management and economics, computer science, engineering, natural sciences, and social science. They take a wide-ranging, holistic approach to analyzing key issues in order to pinpoint the most practical and feasible solutions.

Our network and cooperations

We work closely together with our partner institute – the Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart – as well as the Technical University of Berlin and a number of other institutes of higher education.

Our equipment

Combined, Fraunhofer IAO and the IAT employ more than 600 people and have a total of 15,000 m2 of office space, demonstration centers, and development and test laboratories.

Further information


Management Team

The management team of Fraunhofer IAO consists of Prof. Wilhelm Bauer, Prof. Katharina Hölzle, Prof. Oliver Riedel, Dr.-Ing. Steffen Braun und Dr.-Ing. Rainer Nägele.

Research Units

Fraunhofer IAO supports its clients in the following business areas

  • Organisational Development and Work Design
  • Service and Human Resources Management Systems
  • Human-Technology Interaction
  • Digital Business
  • Cognitive Engineering and Production
  • Urban Systems Engineering
  • Mobility and Innovation Systems
  • Smart Energy and Mobility Solutions
  • Cognitive Service Systems
  • Responsible Research and Innovation

Network/ cooperations

We collaborate closely with our branch labs and network partners on specific research topics. Branch labs: 

  • Center for Responsible Research and Innovation CeRRI, Berlin
  • Fraunhofer Innovation Engineering Center IEC, Bozen (Italy)
  • KEIM Fraunhofer application center, Esslingen
  • LOGWERT – Competence Center for Logistics and Added Value, Heilbronn
  • KODIS – Research and Innovation Center for Cognitive Service Systems


Advisory board


The Advisory Board advises the institute’s directors in questions relating to professional orientation and structural change within the institute. The board comprises representatives from science, business and public life. Members of the board are appointed by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s Executive Board in consultation with the institute’s management team.