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The client always has a place at the table – HOLAB offers a forum for ideas and innovation

Hoppe Marine develops a range of systems solutions for sea-going ships. The company has devised the “Hoppe Laboratory” (HOLAB) to provide its staff with a space to co-create innovations. Hoppe Marine used Enterprise Europe Network’s innovation management advice service to inject new stimuli and perspectives into the development process.

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Hoppe Marine – an unbroken passion for technology since 1949 Hoppe Marine is a highly innovative family-owned maritime group of companies whose strength is founded on constant technological inventions and patents for on-board measuring systems coupled with a skilled workforce in Germany where manufacturing and development is centred. The company is currently forging ahead with the digitalisation of measuring systems and is one of the leading providers in the field. Hoppe Marine’s good reputation is founded on quality, accuracy and reliability. Since its establishment more than 70 years ago, the company has continued to develop and refocus its operations so as to retain its leading role. Integration as the key to innovation The innovative power is to be further strengthened. To stay that way in future Hoppe Marine wants to feed the creativity and ideas of their staff into the development of new products and services as best as possible. Klas Reimer, who is responsible for research and development activities at the Hamburg site, has been tasked with establishing a framework that promotes innovation and creating a space for creativity with HOLAB. Together with Jochen Lohse, responsible for digital strategy at Hoppe Marine, innovation and digital strategy were thus brought into a common context and in line with the corporate strategy. Dr Margarete Remmert-Rieper, Senior Consultant at Tutech and innovation consultant on behalf of the Enterprise Europe Network, has accompanied this process as an external sparring partner since January 2020. HOLAB was presented and inaugurated at a company meeting in August 2020. Since then, quite a few workshops have already taken place and HOLAB has been well received despite the limiting effects of the Covid pandemic. A big advantage was that the space was configured for hybrid workshops, so that cooperation could largely take place remotely. Despite a focus on virtuality and digitalisation, Hoppe Marine never loses sight of the end users - they’ve called them “K.Unde” [C.Lient]. “K.Unde” has now become an integral part of HOLAB’s activities and has developed into a character who provides important impetus. As always with the Enterprise Europe Network’s innovation management consultancies, the real credit lies with the company itself, its driving staff and an open, strategically oriented management. The contribution of the innovation management consultant at Hoppe Marine was above all the external perspective combined with critical but always constructive feedback. The corona virus had no chance to prevent the consultation: The “meetings” were held “remotely” with the same intensity. The current highlight, however, was a real meeting in late summer 2020 at the HOLAB itself. It is not often that a consultant can so literally touch the results to which she was allowed to contribute a little bit. By embedding the innovation and digital strategies in the overall corporate strategy, which the management initiated and designed cross-functionally for the entire company, Hoppe Marine created excellent conditions for their effectiveness. The will to shape the future of the company together with the employees was palpable at all times. Quote: “We always came away with a lot from our meetings with Ms Remmert-Rieper. A number of the ideas that came up during these conversations have found their way into the final implementation. Our store of ideas for the near future is also well stocked.” Klas Reimer and Jochen Lohse, Hoppe Marine Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) The EU-funded service supports small and mid-sized companies with putting innovation into practice more effectively and growing internationally. Since 2014, EEN has been offering an innovation management check, giving companies an opportunity to measure and improve their capacity to innovate.

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