The innovation ambassadors

Why the Linde Digital Accelerator hopes to make itself redundant

By Philipp Karmires

Linde’s digital team hopes to make itself redundant – by fostering a digital culture embraced by all employees.

To find the digital era’s philosopher’s stone, Linde follows a unique path: The firm’s Digital Accelerator, located at the DigitalBase Camps, founded in 2016 and recently lauded as best innovation laboratory in the “Industry” category by German business magazine Capital, aims to make itself redundant in just a few years.

The team’s ambition is that, only a few years after its inception, Linde employees will have internalized a culture of digital innovation that makes a dedicated digitalisation team expendable. Their focus is on enabling employees, fostering a mindset and capabilities that allow employees to embrace and implement digital opportunities in their respective area of expertise. To get there, the unit is currently running a transformation program for all employees. Its key elements and methods, extensively tested by team members at the Digital Accelerator, are now rolled out on a Group-wide level. 

This accelerator approach has already produced several success stories: Preparing to run a newly built plant, Linde technicians and customer operators train in a virtual reality environment long before the plant is built. Other teams develop algorithms to predict customers’ orders or use data glasses to remotely support service and maintenance work on complex modules. 

Racing with the machines

To moor digital thinking deeply within the Linde culture and offer a central point of contact, our teams in Pullach and Singapore unite data specialists and software developers with industry experts such as long-standing Linde experts. At Linde, we focus our digitalisation activities on four areas: digitising fundamentals, connecting everything from cylinders to plants, extracting value from the vast amount of data generated by such measures to ultimately provide added value and greater convenience for customers.

The world today is incredibly fast-moving and leaves little time for sluggish development methods cascading down through the entire workforce. With digital technologies and mindsets, novel ideas speedily move through an assessing, building and validation phase, leading to a proof of concept in no more than three months before continuing with the implementation phase. Ideas that do not survive the first three months are let go. With most ideas coming from employees deeply involved with Linde’s day-to-day business, the digitalisation team takes the role of midwifing promising ideas to life. 

Even large companies are forced to rely on eco-systems of innovation.
Get a glimpse at how Linde employees practice a new digital culture

You are not alone

Modern technology has become incredibly complex and is unfurling at tremendous speed, in fact exponentially. Innovation requires an enormous amount of knowledge, resources and time. Even large companies are forced to rely on eco-systems of innovation. Linde therefore partners actively with start-ups, industry platforms and with academia. We can thus rapidly co-create digital solutions and tap into new growth fields by working with young entrepreneurs and agile teams.

Philipp Karmires is Head of Digitalisation at Linde