Week 5

March 18, 2020

Week 5: Cooperation with Deutsche Bank // 18.03.2020

All our “Mission” projects are unique, not only because of the different topics they tackle but also because of the various corporate partners that join our teams to innovate together. 

“BANKING – Be Green” is lucky to have the most significant German bank – Deutsche Bank - as its main partner. Moreover, Deutsche Bank is one of the initiators of the "The Mission" initiative! In this particular project, they have the opportunity to work hand and hand with our teams and support the talents with their decades-long banking expertise.

A visit from Manfred Knof! 

Besides the daily calls and emails our teams exchange with multiple Deutsche Bank colleagues, last week, they had a chance to discuss their ideas with DB’s Head of Private Bank Germany Manfred Knof. After a short introduction from each team, Mr. Knof shared his thoughts and gave feedback on the proposed innovative solutions not just from the perspective of a corporate partner, but also from the perspective of a potential user. Our talents carefully took notes 🤓

What is it like being a part of “The Mission” as a corporate partner? We asked Deutsche Bank’s Content Strategy and Cooperation Manager Heike Gerhardt in a short interview.

Futury: What has been your biggest highlight from the Kick-off?

Heike Gerhard: I'm thrilled with the people and the ideas I've seen. And the energy level of everyone involved in "The Mission" inspires me a lot. In the lecture hall at Frankfurt School, which was filled to the last seat, everyone was enthusiastic about the amazingly professionally performed seven-minute multimedia presentations. All teams were likewise entertaining and completely to the point. Even though the teams only met a week ago. Their composition is unique and their drive is great. Accordingly, I'm looking forward to some real out-of-the-box approaches :) 

Futury: You have been in touch with the teams for a couple of weeks now. What have you learned from them?

HG: Quite a lot! Although most of them have no specific financial background, all teams got to the topic extremely quickly. What I particularly like is the open-mindedness and curiosity with which the teams approach the tasks and got involved in the innovation challenge with us and our partners. That's great. The participants come from 9 different countries, but this is not an obstacle at all - on the contrary, it mutually fertilizes the ideas. I must say I am particularly impressed by their presentation skills. It comes across so professional and confident.

Futury: What key advice would you like to give to the teams?

HG: I think the most important advice is to break with traditional patterns and derive convincing processes. Teams should not only be guided by the most striking solution possible but with the best approach to tackle the customer's needs. Furthermore, we want the teams to be radical in their thoughts and to keep a broad perspective in mind. That’s how they will develop convincing solutions that also delight customers with added value. And of course, they should keep having fun and not let up, to challenge their ideas and themselves again and again.

Futury: What could be the biggest challenge in this “Mission”?

HG: Well, compared to the “The Mission I: Waste - Be Circular," where the topic and the solutions to be developed were certainly more tangible, “Banking - Be Green” is somewhat more abstract. But by linking it to the living worlds such as mobility, consumption or education, we make a bank's added value more striking and relevant. The biggest challenge that I see for the teams will definitely be to bring the topics Sustainability, Banking and living worlds together and to create products and services that are easy, appealing and that have a clear benefit tailored to the needs of consumers, especially to the ones of their age.

Futury: Why should more young talents and corporate partners #JoinTheMissionNow?

HG: “The Mission” really is a unique cooperation model that brings together young talents, corporate partners from different industries. And Futury as the innovation platform is able to host and facilitate this whole initiative to get the best out of this interdisciplinary cooperation model. The initiatives very much live through the close exchange between the project teams and the professionals from all the project partners. Hierarchies have to stay outside - only the results count. Whatever this may be - in any case, the corporate partners benefit from the ideas of the young generation. It cannot be a secret that the best ideas can be implemented, and the best talents might find their way into the companies. “The Mission” perfectly fits with transforming towards a stronger customer focus and sustainability.

Now over to the teams - what do they have to say about the Deutsche Bank cooperation? Here’s what Team Budge shared with us: 

Futury: You're now working closely with experts from Deutsche Bank. Can you give us some insight into your communication with them? 

Team Budge: Every Monday, we have the chance to present our idea and current status in a status call with all corporates and, therefore, also Deutsche Bank. We use this channel mainly if we want to address something to more than one corporate at the same time. Most of the time, we communicate with Heike, our main contact person, and all the other Deutsche Bank experts via email or calls. Before the current Corona situation, we had a frequent in-person weekly meeting with Heike, which we now, unfortunately, have to replace with weekly calls. The communication runs super-fast and very smooth. When we had requests to speak with experts in certain areas from Deutsche Bank, we got very quick responses and short-notice meetings. 

Remarkably, not only do we reach out to Deutsche Bank, but they proactively reach out to us as well! 

Futury: What support have you received from DB so far and how did it influence the development of your idea? 

Team Budge: In several in-person meetings and discussions, we gained many extremly valuable insights on how people from within Deutsche Bank see and evaluate our idea. In early workshops of the idea development, Deutsche Bank and other corporate partners gave feedback on our idea and brought forward interesting ideas and suggestions to pick up.

As our app might find its use in the corporate context, we also looked for advice regarding how to implement a sustainability app inside Deutsche Bank. We quickly received interviewees with Deutsche Bank colleagues from various departments, such as HR and CSR. Moreover, we were able to interview persons responsible for sustainability measurements. These interviews were beneficial as they helped us get new insights, understand the corporate perspective and focus on the most promising idea(s) to develop. 

For the design of our app, we as well got valuable insights from a Deutsche Bank expert in the field of Product Design, which was eye-opening with regards to paying attention to our UX Design to make it fun and enjoyable for users.

Overall, the touchpoints with Deutsche Bank experts were very well chosen as they always turned out to be extremely valuable for our project in some way.

Futury: Why should more young talents and corporate partners #JoinTheMissionNow ?

Team Budge: “The Mission” simply is an amazing platform in which students and young graduates can develop their own sustainable business ideas while being in close interaction with various big companies right from the start of the project. Developing a business idea is an extraordinary learning experience – “The Mission” helps in this process with all the support, mentoring and network provided. For instance, weekly deep-dive sessions help us to learn directly from experts and iterate and improve our work immediately. 

And there is more! Lots of fun with all the team, various interesting contacts from all over the world, coming together to create something big. That feeling of being part of such a big project is something one just shouldn’t miss out on. Besides an energizing team spirit, you become part of a potential new start-up in a setting incomparable to anything else. Or can you think about a place where you get all the freedom you need to be creative and being paid for creating your own company?

For corporate partners, this setting can be extremely valuable, as young talents who haven’t yet been blinded by corporate constraints when thinking about innovation, bring fresh air and unbiased views on possible things to work on. This combination might just be the perfect one to create a strong foundation for long-term innovative development. 

As our motto suggests, we at Futury are “Inspiring, matching and enabling talents and corporates to innovate together” and our partnership with Deutsche Bank is a great example of that. We look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration and encourage you to come back next week to learn more about our other partners.  

Take care!

Warm regards,  



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