Volkswagen Education Lab: Accelerating the Digital Transformation of Corporate Learning
Situation faced: As a car manufacturer, the Volkswagen Group faces a challenging business environment due to digitalization and new requirements regarding mobility. Those trends force automotive companies to review their portfolio. The development of new products and services results in a changing competence need within the (existing) workforce. To achieve the required skill transformation, new corporate education and training solutions based on innovative concept development is rapidly gaining importance.
Action taken: The Volkswagen Group Academy is responsible for the training and development of the entire organization’s workforce. To get an understanding of new technologies and trends in corporate education, the organization initiates the Education Lab as an independent unit. The lab’s core idea is target group centered problem-solving. The development of new solutions starts with user problems regarding corporate learning at Volkswagen, which are examined by quantitative and qualitative methods. The lab therefrom uses an iterative, experimental method to validate the potential of the derived solutions to meet the identified user problems.
Results achieved: When implementing the Education Lab’s methodological approach, a key result is the development of prototype solutions that meet the target group needs. The accuracy with which the prototypes meet the needs of the target group validates the methodology of the Education Lab. In addition, the entire organization benefits from the lab’s incubator-like approach, which helps to build technological expertise based on research and scouting. Herein, the lab empowers employees to participate in developing new ideas outside their day-to-day business and departmental structures.
Lessons learned: Implementing an innovative approach such as the Education Lab within a traditional corporation results in a variety of challenges. The existing structures grew over a long time—and they work well in serving the current purpose. Hence, projected changes are often associated with uncertainty. The learnings gained out of the implementation of the Education Lab provide the opportunity to derive concepts and ideas about how to overcome innovation barriers within traditional organizations.
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