You might be surprised to find out that there is a debate going on about whether innovation is dead. I’ve read a number of articles suggesting as much. Nobel prize-winner Andre Geim, for example, points to a fundamental contrast between the last decade versus the second half of the 20th century. He even goes as far as to call it an innovation or technology crisis, saying that most recently innovation has been less about disruption and more about honing the same gadgets.
So, is innovation dead? Were the technological advances of the 20th century – the space race, computers, microchips, mobile phones, the internet and so forth – the last of the big innovations?
Let me pose another question: Does innovation only mean big, ground-breaking things like space ships or the internet?
The answer to all three is a resounding no! I believe that innovation is alive and kicking and coming at us in all shapes and sizes. And it doesn’t have to be complex or as earth-shattering as the World Wide Web.
Think simple, act global
Sometimes a very simple idea can have a tremendous global impact. Take the shipping container, for example, invented 75 years ago. Would we compare that to the invention of the space ship or the internet? Probably not, but let me tell you it had an immense impact on the global transportation industry. Fast forward to today and you’ll find solutions like our DHL Packstations – automated, self-service parcel pick-up points – are making life easier for on-the-go, online shoppers. Not ground-breaking but innovative nonetheless.
Our innovations are, in fact, geared towards making complex processes as simple as possible. Innovative ideas are vital so we keep up with and analyze social, business and technology trends. It’s about helping our customers save time and money and/or improve visibility. We know that by converting our innovations into marketable solutions, we will make our customers’ lives easier and their businesses more successful, regardless of whether they are in the life sciences, e-commerce or automotive business.
Collaboration is key
One aspect of innovation I often find goes unnoticed is collaboration. True innovative thinking that drives the future takes many bright minds working together. We are leading the way in the logistics industry, bringing stakeholders together to invent solutions that meet real needs.
It’s a journey we started almost a decade ago at our Innovation Center in Germany. Today we are continuing in Asia with the launch of our new Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore.
We are leading the way in the logistics industry
Both centers are places where customers, academics, partners and other industry experts can come together – where ideas are planted and innovation can take root. Our new showroom presents many futuristic technologies that will transform the logistics industry, such as augmented reality “smart glasses” for warehouse assembly-lines and product picking, drones for time-critical delivery of things like medicines, Maintenance on Demand (MoDe) vehicles that use machine-to-machine (M2M) sensors to boost vehicle uptime by 30%, and driverless shuttles for faster, more efficient transportation.
It’s an exciting time for us and the logistics industry. Innovation is alive and kicking and right now we can’t wait to get to work with our customer and partners in Asia and around the globe.