The Ottobock Future Lab: where ideas are given room to grow
Big accomplishments grow from little ideas. That’s why we are creating a special place where our creativity and skills can thrive. A place where we can take all the time we need to test, develop and perfect our ideas. We find out what people really need and grow ideas into full-blown innovations.
A digital think tank in the heart of Berlin
The premises of the former Bötzow Brewery in the heart of Berlin are home to Ottobock’s digital Future Lab, where the company is preparing for the future today. Modern working environments with space for creativity and innovative ideas have emerged among historic brick buildings and industrial monuments.
At its Bötzow site, Ottobock focuses on the topics that are shaping tomorrow's world – digitalisation, for example. Agile, cross-functional teams create and test innovative products, technologies and fitting solutions. These are then used to develop new digital business models.
Besides the digital startups, colleagues from Global IT, HR, Marketing, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs also work at Bötzow.
Ottobock’s wheelchair division – Human Mobility – also has a strategically important location in Berlin. Here they've been developing smart, high-tech wheelchairs since the beginning of 2018.
Research and Development collaborates closely with Sales and Purchasing in the building’s flexible, open-design spaces. Before the wheelchairs move on to production, they undergo extensive testing on the team’s purpose-built test track as well as in the integrated workshop.
The wheelchairs are produced in Königsee, Thuringia – the hometown of the company’s founder, Otto Bock.
The O&P Clinic
The new O&P Clinic at Bötzow focuses on treating international patients. Here at the Berlin site – which, after Duderstadt and Göttingen, is Ottobock's third Patient Care clinic in Germany – a team of O&P professionals and physiotherapists treats users from all over the world. A large therapy area and modern, digital equipment create the ideal conditions for custom treatment.
The garden in the inner courtyard was designed for therapeutic purposes and provides an optimal training area with its varying surface structures consisting of grass, gravel, paving stones and small inclines.
The Human Mobility Service Center at the O&P Clinic is an important partner for specialist dealers, providing support for adapting and retrofitting wheelchairs.
Ideas for a digital future
In its Future Lab, the company is developing a digital ecosystem and the networked Patient Care clinic of the future – with everything from pioneering high-tech manufacturing technology such as 3D printing to holistic, digitalised fitting plans to smart sensors for products. The aim is to help patients get treatment faster and more easily, customise prostheses more highly and connect people via various platforms.
From brewery to future lab
Today, the former Bötzow Brewery (1864–1945) is a digital think tank and an impressive industrial monument in one. Berlin’s largest privately-owned brewery was already a hotspot for innovation over 100 years ago. The city’s residents flocked to its large, spacious beer garden to enjoy Bötzow's high-quality, bottom-fermented beer. The brewery’s popularity quickly skyrocketed. Just a year after it began production, young Julius Bötzow was named purveyor to the king’s court in 1885. He hadn’t chosen the brewery’s hilly premises by accident – they provided plenty of room for vast, vaulted cellars where the beer could be kept cool. Thanks to Julius' vision and business skills, people to this day connect the name Bötzow with a bona fide Berlin success story.
The brewery premises gradually began to return to life following their purchase by Prof. Hans Georg Näder in 2010 and the implementation of a comprehensive master plan by star architect Sir David Chipperfield – the pioneering spirit of yesteryear has returned to Bötzow.
Unique representation at Potsdamer Platz
In 2009, Ottobock built the Science Center at Potsdamer Platz and returned to Berlin, where the company was founded in Kreuzberg in 1919. For nine years, the modern building represented the company and served as its showroom in the capital city. More than one million visitors from around the world visited “Discover what moves us”, an interactive exhibition. In the summer of 2018, Ottobock moved into the renovated building at the former Bötzow Brewery and the Science Center Berlin closed its doors to the public.
At present, no public exhibitions are planned for the new Bötzow site.