Heading for success – with our ideas management

Our employees come up with creative ideas for ways to improve our processes, products and services – and thereby strengthen Deutsche Telekom’s competitiveness. We promote a corporate culture in which we encourage our employees to take an active role. Our Ideas Management unit develops concepts and measures for making the most of our employees’ potential.

Also, in Germany, we maintain an “ideas portal,” and invite any and all of our employees to submit ideas through it – acting either alone or as part of a team. And to ensure that no ideas, no matter how nascent, are ever lost, our Idea Management unit offers all employees an “ideas garden,” a dedicated platform for their creativity. On this platform, employees have the opportunity to play with and refine their emerging ideas and bring them to full maturity. Submitted ideas are reviewed by our Idea Management unit, on the basis of various criteria. Ideas that are truly new are assessed by the relevant department and then, in some cases, implemented. The process, which is extensive overall, ensures that each and every idea can be individually and considered and promoted. Our employees are paid a consideration for each submitted idea that is implemented.

In 2021, ideas submitted by our employees in Germany led to the largest economic benefit we have gained through this channel to date, with a total of 4 420 submissions (2020: 4 574) leading to savings, or new commercial potential, worth about 169.3 million euros (2020: 69.2 million euros). This impressive success shows that the quality of our employees' ideas continues to grow, all hybrid working arrangements and spatial distance in the workplace notwithstanding.

Also in 2021, Deutsche Telekom won first place at the German Idea Management Awards (Deutscher Ideenmanagementpreis), in the category “Best idea in occupational safety and health in the workplace” (“Beste Idee in Arbeitssicherheit und Gesundheit in der Arbeit”). The “access control traffic light”, a prize-winning idea of Jürgen Küderle and Marco Fiene, both with business customer sales, helps businesses comply with pandemic-related rules on social distancing and maximum group sizes, and it is suitable for all businesses with walk-in customers and changing groups of visitors. Their simple, cost-effective solution is an IoT system consisting of two pillars that are installed to the right and left of the main entryway. The pillars, which are easy to install, contain infrared sensors that track the numbers of people that enter and leave the business. The traffic light turns red when the maximum permitted number is reached. The access traffic light keeps track of numbers of visitors reliably and verifiably, and it records them digitally, in the Cloud of Things img. The German Idea Management Awards are awarded annually, by the Deutsche Institut für Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement (German institute for idea and innovation management). All submissions are judged by an independent jury consisting of persons with relevant scientific and practical workplace expertise.

Better and better – thanks also to some ideas from outside the company
Via our Ideenschmiede (think tank; only available in German), which has been in place since 2018, we invite persons from outside the company, including both customers and non-customers, to actively help us design Deutsche Telekom's products, services and processes. Over 17 800 users have registered for the site, in order to contribute ideas and impetus. Users also have the opportunity to take part in surveys, polls, and discussions, and to place suggestions in our digital suggestion box. Also, they can participate in online and in-person workshops for the purpose of interacting with the platform community and with Deutsche Telekom experts regarding new ideas. Examples of innovations that developed from Ideenschmiede feedback include our VoiceID (SprachID; only available in German) for secure caller authentication in calls to our service hotline, and the Mein Telekom Techniker (My Deutsche Telekom Service Technician) app.

Portfolio of Intellectual Property Rights KPI

By the end of 2021, we owned around 8 800 intellectual property rights (IPRs). We take a targeted approach to managing these IPRs in consideration of cost-benefit aspects. We regularly take stock of our IPRs and eliminate those that are no longer relevant.

Patents are gaining more and more significance in the telecommunications industry. Market players and their areas of activity are changing, with a knock-on effect on our IPR (intellectual property rights) agenda. On the one hand, our Group’s scope for action must be maintained. On the other hand and alongside our own research and development activities, we want to pave the way to open innovation through collaboration projects and partnerships. National and international IPRs are vital for these types of activity. We are strongly dedicated to generating our own property rights. Industrial property rights include inventions, patent applications, patents, utility models and design patents.

Thanks to our intense efforts to develop and structure our IPR portfolio, the rights we hold are highly valuable and firmly in line with our Group’s strategic objectives. We have put in place a professional patent law management process to keep our IPR assets safe. Additionally, we are represented on various standardization bodies in our industry. We manage our IPRs on the basis of cost/benefit aspects, filing only selected applications and de-registering patents systematically.

Reporting against standards

European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies (EFFAS)

  • V04-05 (Number of patents registered within last 12 month)
  • V04-06 (Percentage of patents registered within last 12 month in relation to total number of patents)
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