SparkassenValley: HHL Students Develop Innovator’s Concept

HHL’s consulting project with partner SV SparkassenVersicherung entered a new round in 2017: This year, for the students everything revolved around implementing external innovation strength

The consulting project is a fixed practice component of the full-time M.Sc. program and stands for a combination of a strong student’s engagement and HHL’s research capacities as well as the chairs’ consulting know-how. For three months, the full-time M.Sc. students slip into the roles of consulting teams. The 2017 seminar was under the control of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Althammer, chairholder of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe Chair of Macroeconomics.

At least as traditional as the project itself is the nine-year collaboration with SV SparkassenVersicherung. Headquartered in Stuttgart, the savings bank’s insurances realized multiple successful projects with students from Leipzig over the years. Its relatively new innovation unit is responsible for innovation management, start-up cooperations, analysis of new technologies, prototyping and acceleration of innovative ideas inside the company including change management.

Their this year’s topic was possible collaborations with innovators. Against the background of dynamic developments in the German start-up scene, the problem definition was quite open: How can SV SparkassenVersicherung collaborate with external innovators? What about the different kinds of incubators: implementing an own accelerator program, collaboration with a company builder or a digital lab or even other possibilities? The student’s challenge was to check the various options and to issue a recommendation.

But there was another challenge the students had to master: As the issues have been driven forward at the SV’s team parallelly, they decided together with their CEO to mainly pursue the idea of the collaboration with a company builder. Thus, the problem definition had to be modified after the first half of the project. Now, the students had to critically examine the first concept in this new direction, e.g. by interviews.

“As every year, the project with HHL was a lot of fun. Even if the intermediate modified preconditions were very challenging for the students, they adapted them very quickly and presented excellent results in the end” says Dominik Schütz, the head and founder of SV lab. During his studies, the HHL alumnus also joined an SV cooperation project within the consulting module. After his graduation in 2015, he started his career at SV as the executive assistant to the CEO. In this context, he adds: “For us, these projects have two main benefits: On the one hand, the collaboration is a good opportunity to position ourselves as an attractive employer and on the other hand, we receive very good work results, which serve as a basis for our further work. From our longstanding experience with HHL, we know that this is a win-win situation for both the students and the SparkassenVersicherung.”


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