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Space for creative minds

The digital ecosystem of Deutsche Bahn forms a breeding ground for innovation and new corporate values. Creative minds work on developing digital products in the innovation labs together with start-ups, developers, and universities

The digital ecosystem of Deutsche Bahn forms a breeding ground for innovation and new corporate values. Employees from all departments of the company work on developing digital products and new mobility and logistics concepts in the innovation labs together with start-ups, developers, and universities.

The DB mindbox digitization labs in Berlin and the d.lab and Skydeck in Frankfurt am Main set the pace for the entire DB Group. In the DB Schenker Enterprise Lab and in the Asset & Maintenance Digital Lab, solutions are specifically developed with the future of global goods transport in mind.

Coworking Space DB mindbox

DB mindbox is Deutsche Bahn's coworking space in Berlin. Start-ups and DB employees work together to develop innovations for the railroad core business with a particular focus on digital technologies. Within the S-Bahn arches underneath the Jannowitzbrücke station, DB provides a space of 720 square meters for entrepreneurs, hackers, and developers, where they can develop their products to specifically meet the needs of Bahn customers and test their marketability. DB mindbox is home to DB StartupXpress – the start-up funding program based around rails, stations, and trains, which regularly holds hackathons and start-up challenges on specific issues.  

This is where ideas for the future of the railroad are born: DB mindbox in Berlin's S-Bahn station Jannowitzbrücke

The d.lab – or the DB Mobility Lab – is the innovation lab for passenger transport and is based in Frankfurt's station quarter. It develops new digital products that benefit local and long-distance transport customers. The customer experience is at the center of d.lab's activities. "Rapid Prototyping" is used to develop ideas and concepts quickly based on customer requirements so that they can be experienced hands on. Customer feedback is then used to systematically refine the prototypes and ideas. Another of d.lab's approaches is to use new methods, such as "Design Thinking", to hardwire agile work and customer focus into passenger transport and other segments at DB. Its third focus is "Open Innovation", which means providing partners such as start-ups, research institutions, and other companies with support for joint innovation and product development.

The idea train tests digital service offers with the customer. One of the project partners is the DB Mobility Lab

Skydeck at DB Systel, Deutsche Bahn's IT service provider, searches for innovative business-wide IT solutions and helps employees make their ideas a reality. It brings together the IT knowledge of DB Systel employees, the subject-matter expertise of DB employees from different business units, research and scientific findings, a start-up way of operating, and creative methods. The Skydeck crew aims to make it possible for people with ideas to create a prototype or develop a business model. Skydeck considers itself DB's digital innovator, a source of inspiration, a platform for sharing ideas, and a unique event space.

Test in the Paderborn maintenance depot in 2016

Experts from DB Schenker, TU Dortmund University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund have been researching solutions for the future of global goods transport at the DB Schenker Enterprise Lab for Logistics and Digitalization since 2015. The primary objectives are to apply new technologies such as 3D printing and augmented reality, design digital business models, and develop innovative software prototypes for logistics, for example to optimize warehouse management. The DB Schenker Enterprise Lab also develops training and further education courses for students at TU Darmstadt University and for DB Schenker employees in order to put scientific findings into practice more quickly. 

In the "Asset & Maintenance Digital Lab", "amspire" for short, interdisciplinary teams from DB Cargo, DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung, DB Long Distance, DB Regio, DB Systel, and DB Systemtechnik develop future solutions for the automation and digitization of vehicles and maintenance processes together with external partners.
A focus of the lab is the "Asset Intelligence Center", where an Internet of Things platform is being developed. With the "TechLOK" and "Wagon Intelligence" projects, we are enhancing the equipment used in our locomotives and freight wagons with intelligent sensors. Status data is constantly made available via the sensors and it is possible to perform detailed diagnoses on the condition of the vehicles or components. Using this data, our facilities will be maintained in a more flexible and condition-based manner in the future. The focus is on increasing availability and quality while reducing costs.

Due to the condition data that is continually being collected, freight train locomotives, and wagons can be maintained flexibly