TU Ilmenau develops new models of work design

The TU Ilmenau starts today (01.06.2021) the Thuringian joint project InnoFARM. Together with Thuringian companies, it is developing innovative models and instruments for work design in small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim is to make their structures more flexible and to strengthen the commitment and effectiveness of their employees. 45 alliances of universities and companies in germany had applied for the funding of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the measure REGION.innovativ - the Thuringian joint project coordinated by the TU Ilmenau was one of eight to be awarded the contract. The project has a total funding volume of a good 1.5 million euros over a period of three years, of which a good one million euros goes to the TU Ilmenau.

New challenges due to demographic change

Zwei Personen an einem GerätDeguma-Schütz/André Druschel
The TU Ilmenau wants to strengthen the company's innovative power with new models of work design

The digital transformation, demographic change and a changed competitive situation pose major challenges, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in structurally weak regions. In order to strengthen their competitiveness and the attractiveness of the locations as a whole in the long term, the Thuringian joint project InnoFARM ("Innovative Models for Work in SMEs") will develop novel instruments of work organization and test them in practice. SME-specific models of work organization are intended to make corporate structures more flexible and to strengthen the autonomy and self-power of employees - experts speak of empowerment. In this way, the innovative power of companies in Thuringia is to be strengthened in the long term.

In the InnoFARM project, scientists at the TU Ilmenau will work with the companies Deguma Schütz, Lindig Fördertechnik and Sealable Solutions over the next three years to develop a virtual modular system that will provide custom-fit instruments for a wide variety of small and medium-sized enterprises. With the help of interviews with employees and on-site observations, the exact needs of the companies will first be determined and analyzed. Subsequently, fields of action such as communication culture, knowledge management or inter-company cooperation will be defined and measures will be developed together with the employees in the company. These are then tested by the companies for a limited period of time and the results of the test phase are evaluated. Measures that have proven to be positive are finally included in the method toolbox and are available for the future to strengthen the competitiveness of other companies.

InnoFARM project a lighthouse project for Thuringia

TU Ilmenau/Ingo Herzog
Prof. Norbert Bach, Head of the group of Corporate Management/Organization at TU Ilmenau

One of the decisive factors for the project being selected by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research was, in addition to the convincing content of the application, that the research in the joint project builds on existing cooperations with partner companies. Prof. Norbert Bach, Head of the group of Corporate Management and Organization at the TU Ilmenau, is looking forward to the cooperation: "Our partner companies are proof that Thuringia's economy is thinking ahead. I am convinced that the InnoFARM project will be a lighthouse project not only for our department, but for all of Thuringia."

On the topic of digitalization, the InnoFARM project will pick up on results from the Center of Excellence for SMEs 4.0, which is also located at TU Ilmenau and supports Thuringian SMEs in digitalization and the integration of artificial intelligence into their operations. Likewise, methods are to be developed together with the Center for Digital Transformation Thuringia (ZeTT) and included in the method construction kit.

With the start of the project, small and medium-sized enterprises are welcome to still participate. In the long term, the results of the project are to be made available to companies throughout Thuringia. To this end, the project relies on the Thuringian State Development Corporation and the Thuringian Ministry of Labor and Qualification, which will disseminate the results in their networks and at events. The resulting promotion of the culture of innovation in companies will help to sustainably increase the economic strength of Thuringia, which is characterized by small and medium-sized enterprises.

Information from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research:

REGION. innovative - working world of the future in structurally weak regions.

Joint project InnoFARM - innovative forms of work in small and medium-sized enterprises

Funding reference: 02L20B030



Prof. Dr. Norbert Bach
Head of project InnoFARM
+49 3677 69-4066