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Most Innovative Companies: Case Studies of Successful Technology Deployment Across Europe

Updated: May 7

Innovation is the lifeblood of today’s economy. Technological giants like Apple, Meta and Microsoft are now the world’s biggest companies (by market revenue) thanks to their ongoing commitment to developing and adopting new technologies.

Most Innovative Companies

Companies across Europe, where innovation has been identified as an important area for improvement, are recognizing this reality and turning to cutting-edge technologies to streamline operations, boost customer experiences, and retain their competitive edge. 


In fact, recent research has found that companies who do not adopt new technologies are expected to grow at a rate five times lower than those who do. This is a risk to your company’s ability to compete in the market that you simply shouldn’t take, regardless of your organization’s view of new technological developments.

In this article, we’ll explore how ten different European companies are successfully deploying new technologies, showcasing the transformative potential of embracing the future regardless of the industry you operate in. 


By exploring these real-world examples, we’ll offer you a glimpse into actual use cases that you can use to inspire change within your own organization.


10 Most Innovative Companies - Case Studies


1. Siemens

The German industrial manufacturing giant created MindSphere, an industrial IoT operating system that allows factories to collect data from sensors on machinery, back in 2016. It was developed as a cloud-based, AI-powered technology as a solution feature that Siemens offers its customers, allowing them to make business decisions based on data collected from the daily operations of their Siemens machines.


This data is then analyzed using machine learning algorithms, which can help predict equipment failures before they occur. This feature has been a USP (unique selling point) for Siemens products since its launch, and it has helped many of their customers save valuable resources by not needing to shut down production due to unexpected mechanical failures.


For instance, BMW’s Munich production plant features a fully automated production line. Without MindSphere, technical failures would only be discovered once actual damage to production capacity has been registered. Thanks to this technology, and the exclusive service that Siemens provides, no human monitoring is required in order to prevent these issues.

Using the predictive maintenance features of MindsPhere, customers reported a reduction of unplanned downtime by up to 30%. By showing its customers, both potential and existing ones, that it can help them save time and money through the implementation of this new technology, Siemens both positioned itself as an industry leader in industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions, and helped remove the need for third-party solutions - encouraging customers to spend their money directly on its products. 


To do this, Siemens relied on its depth of industry experience and familiarity with the needs of industrial machinery clients. It successfully identified their pain points, and offered a direct solution based on an exciting new technology. 


2. Maersk

The international shipping giant embraced an innovation project which follows the same logic as Siemens’ MindSphere: the company dove into the data and the insights provided by its wide pool of customers, identified their most important concerns and built an innovative business solution based on new technology that solves a major shipping-related issue.

And much like MindSphere, Maersk’s Captain Peter has served as a USP for its developer since it was made available to shippers in 2017. The Remote Container Management (RCM) system, offered on a freemium basis, has proven most valuable to perishable goods shippers, which prompted Maersk to further develop the data it collects.


Analyzing near real-time data on temperature, humidity and O2/CO2 levels even while at sea, thanks to sophisticated and durable tracking devices and improved data logging technology, Captain Peter offers customers increased shipment visibility, increased cargo quality, immediate issue solution and the ability to make in-transmit adjustments when required.


According to Vincent Clerc, CEO of Maersk, “...more than 59% of claims stem from malfunctioning reefer units, poor supplier handling of off-power periods and wrong temperature set points; all of which can either be partially avoided or mitigated proactively with live data.”

By looking at the data and having a willingness to explore new technological advancements that could help solve the biggest loss generators for both themselves and their customers, Maersk were able to create an innovative service that completely revolutionized perishable goods shipments, strengthening their positioning as industry leaders along the way.


3. ING

Born from a merger of two Dutch in 1991, ING Group has since grown to become one of the world’s leading banks when it comes to financing and hedging physical commodities.


Nexus

Despite operating worldwide as a branchless bank, ING has grown to become an industry leader in commodity finance and banking. With this commitment to innovation, the company identified a business opportunity to utilize blockchain technology and establish itself the go-to digital platform in this sector.


To do so, they’ve partnered with the external innovation management company, an international innovation firm, which helped them build two ventures, VAKT and Komgo, which have since become the world’s largest multi-bank trade finance platforms. Both ventures combined are now estimated to be nearing unicorn status.

But, more importantly, they have achieved the business goal initially envisioned by ING’s management: to become the default platform for international commodity trade and financing, making them a resounding success.


What made this innovation project a success are two important factors: first, ING’s ability to recognize the business gap it needed to close quickly; second, their understanding that a partnership with a proven innovation agency is required in order to successfully bring their vision to life.


4. John Lewis & Partners

A prominent player in the UK retail market with over 30 department stores throughout the country, John Lewis & Partners adopted robotics and automation in its e-commerce distribution center in Milton Keynes in 2023. 


Installed by Logistex, a warehouse automation firm also based in the UK, the Reflex warehouse execution system is also expected to include an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) tote-to-person (TTP) picking system in the future, sourced from HAI robotics.


Spyre NEXUS

By utilizing innovative warehouse automation technology, John Lewis can meet growing online demand for its products, reduce logistical man-made errors in the order fulfillment process, and operate around the clock in an energy-efficient system. 


Though it is still early to determine the success of this project, the company’s Milton Keynes distribution center opened with this partnership specifically in mind, so the technological developments in the field of warehouse automation were instrumental to their ability to grow in the e-commerce space. 


5. Airbus 

The French aviation giant signed a partnership with Stratasys in 2013, in order to utilize 3D printing technology to create complex, lightweight cabin dividers for its A350 XWB aircraft. According to data revealed in 2020, over 1000 parts were created through 3D printing.


In this instance, Airbus’ approach has proven to be especially shrewd; as evidenced by the recent Boeing 737 Max production issues, the aviation production industry has struggled to match demand following the COVID-19 pandemic. By utilizing a time-efficient production system like 3D printing, Airbus was able to maintain its strict production and supervision standards and meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s demands.

This success - which included reducing production time by 50% - has encouraged the company to expand its use of 3D printing to include its spacecraft production line, as well as additional aircraft models.


And, owing to its organizational commitment to innovation and adoption of promising new technology, Airbus has completely transformed its R&D process by providing its engineers with access to 3D printing.


Airbus’ case study shows how new technology can be successfully utilized for more than one business case. If your organization is exploring a new technological tool, we recommend mapping out all of the potential areas where that tool can have a beneficial impact.


6. RWE

RWE, a German renewable energy firm, stands as Europe’s third-largest renewable energy producer - thanks in large part to its initial development of Innogy, a renewable energy subdivision that has since been acquired by E.ON.


While under RWE, Innogy utilized AI and big data analytics to predict energy demand and optimize the production of renewable energy sources. This intelligent grid management system helped RWE successfully grow its grid network, identify potential new markets and position itself as a leader in the renewable energy market.

green energy

Some of the market opportunities that Innogy had identified include the US electric vehicle grid and the Czech energy market, where it currently serves as the leading energy supplier.


Due to the competitive nature of the European energy market, with its generous incentives for renewable energy manufacturing, AI and big data’s ability to provide reliable predictive models for energy consumption and distribution make them key areas of investment.


By using big data and partnering with tech academic institutions like Frauenhofer, RWE was able to produce Germany’s first megabattery, improving grid stabilization by up to 15%.


7. ASOS 

The leader in UK online fashion, ASOS has partnered with Israeli start-up Zeekit in 2020 to trial a feature called “See My Fit” - an AR (augmented reality) powered tool that offers users the ability to view hundreds of items on six real-life based models.


The feature was considered crucial for ASOS during the COVID-19 pandemic, when shoppers had no choice but to turn online in light of travel restrictions, but faced issues with understanding how to choose sizes that fit them without being able to physically measure anything.


Though the tool did not last beyond the trial phase, it had served its purpose throughout the pandemic period. One of the main issues with the feature was its failure to meet today’s inclusivity standards, due to the selection of models used. This has led ASOS to move away from a virtual measuring feature and use AR to boost its existing visual search engine (Style Match).

By pivoting when challenges arose, and adapting their offering and how they use AR technology to match users expectations and needs, ASOS was able to benefit from their initial unsuccessful test, improve an existing feature, and learn a valuable business lesson. That is the definition of a win.


8. Telecom Italia 

Italy’s biggest telecommunications services provider, TIM, has been at the forefront of 5G deployment in Italy, launching pilot projects in major cities like Milan and Turin.  These projects showcase the potential of 5G for applications like ultra-fast mobile broadband, remote work meetings with minimal latency, and immersive virtual reality experiences.


In 2023, TIM announced that 33 additional Italian cities will be added to its 5G network. It had also signed an agreement with Italy’s Department for Digital Transformation, to help secure the necessary infrastructure and government support for rolling out the new technology across the country.

Communications Tower

Despite being the country’s largest company in their sector, TIM did not rest on their laurels. They identified the opportunity to increase their market share and further solidify their position by being early adopters of a new technology that is expected to lead the telecommunications industry in the near future, and acted fast.


And with Germany, Europe’s leading economic power, considering some restrictive measurements on its 5G network, TIM astutely recognized that their interests match those of the Italian government, who sees a potential path to bridging the gap from its EU counterparts. TIM used this to sign an agreement that pushes more municipalities into joining the 5G network, allowing politics to do the heavy lifting for them.


9. Signify

Formerly known as Philips Lighting (and still manufacturing its products under that name), the Dutch company changed its name to Signify in 2018.


Signify develops smart lighting solutions that integrate with IoT platforms. These connected lights adjust brightness or colors based on occupancy and external light conditions, creating energy-efficient and adaptable environments.

Like several other case studies in this article, Signify was prompted to offer a new product feature following the COVID-19 pandemic; unlike them, however, the company did not implement new technology, but adapted its existing one and developed it for a new audience base: the business market.


With Interact Office, Signify cleverly identified an issue for business owners whose employees were slowly coming back to the office - fewer employees to cater for, but no efficient way to reduce energy costs appropriately.


To solve this, Signify’s product line, up to that point directed mostly at the private market, was enhanced to include a series for office spaces. Signify’s products can save up to 80% on energy costs compared to traditional lighting systems - significant savings for business owners still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.


The company then fleshed out its office offering further by offering customers big data analysis of energy usage, so they can better plan new offices, improve employee well-being and, for a new audience segment of property owners and developers, the option to design office spaces that are more attractive to new renters.


By looking deep at the market data and recognizing an opportunity, Signify was able to tap into a brand new market.


10. Owkin


We’ll close this list with the youngest company of all ten, France’s AI biotech enterprise Owkin, founded in Paris in 2016. Owkin represents not just the adoption of a new technology, but the adoption of a new business niche based on new technological developments.


Owkin’s adoption of AI to accelerate and improve the drug development process forms the basis of their entire business model. Their AI platform analyzes vast datasets of biological and medical information to identify promising drug targets and predict the effectiveness of potential drug candidates. 

This can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with drug development, leading to faster breakthroughs in healthcare. It also enables them to compete in an industry dominated by U.S. giants like Pfizer and Jonson & Johnson, who can invest billions of dollars into drug development.


Where it typically takes drugs more than 13 years to reach the market, Owkin was able to develop two new drugs since starting operations. This fact is a clear indication that new technological developments can be used not just to solve specific business needs, but also disrupt and rethink how existing businesses operate.


Innovate Your Business


As these ten case studies demonstrate, despite lagging behind its competition, European companies are continuously and successfully deploying new technological developments such as AR/VR, AI, big data, blockchain and IoT.


By looking closely at market data, gaining insights from your customers and identifying the intersection between their pain points and your business needs, you can ensure that you adopt the right technology for your company.


Make sure to have measurable results in place, as well as a clear destination and a plan, and a willingness to collaborate with new partners who offer unique expertise, in case you don’t have access to them within your organization.


If you need support, contact us now and we’ll help you set a plan in motion. We’ve helped many other companies innovate their operations, products and services, and we’d be happy to do the same for you.








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