Rohde & Schwarz Career Innovation

How we live innovation

We live by innovations. It’s the ideas of our employees that make us a leading international provider in the communications technology and cybersecurity sectors. This has been our recipe for success from the outset. Our founders Dr. Lothar Rohde and Dr. Hermann Schwarz had an ingenious idea when they invented the first quartz wristwatch and laid the foundation of our company with the development lab in Jena. More than 300 patents are added each year to our existing pool, and we are investing more than 15 per cent of our revenue in research and development. To firmly internalize innovative thinking in the company, we initiated the InnoFunnel. The aim is to further develop our employees’ ideas and turn them into market-ready products. Not in the traditional hierarchical way, but in diverse teams and using flexible approaches. Dr. Thomas Ruster, a software developer in spectrum analysis, is one of the first innovators in the company to completely – and successfully – navigate the InnoFunnel. His idea is really taking off.

Dr. Ruster, initially there was just your idea for a new innovative product. Now you are developing a prototype. What has your experience been with the Rohde & Schwarz InnoFunnel?

The first step was presenting my idea quite informally to the InnoFunnel team. After that the team was there by my side to assist me and has taken many organizational steps that would have been difficult for me as an employee on my own. These include, for example, finding the right contacts for sharing technical knowledge or determining potential customer demand for my concept. Then I was allowed to present my idea to a large audience at our International Developers Conference and to the InnoBoard, consisting of members of top management. The InnoBoard was enthusiastic about my idea and has promoted it. This means I was able to spend part of my working hours on the idea and receive ongoing support from the InnoFunnel colleagues. Lastly, we have developed a concept to determine the potential and cost of a prototype. During this phase we also worked on aspects such as defining a business case, performing a patent search and detailing the technical concept.

What was the greatest challenge in this process?

In further developing the concept I had to fundamentally revise the technological approach on multiple occasions. That’s the thing about innovation – you keep on encountering technical challenges and problems that you weren’t aware of before. At times I thought the problems were so big that it no longer seemed worth continuing with the idea – but fortunately I always found solutions. That is what motivates me to keep going.

What helped you navigate this innovation process so quickly?

First of all, it is important that this innovation process actually exists, since otherwise it can easily happen that good ideas get lost in everyday life and are not pursued any further. Another crucial factor is a network within the company, which I was also able to build up with the help of the InnoFunnel team. In a very short length of time I got to know an amazing number of colleagues in the company, who then also energetically supported me. That was a real networking turbocharger.

This network has also helped in finding a potential application for your idea.

That’s true. I personally work in the Test and Measurement Division. However, my idea has an application that will appeal to customers of a different division. Since the very beginning, the focus has been not only on technology but also on customer benefit. We have collaborated across different divisions in an unconventional and uncomplicated way. This is also an important part of the innovation-friendly corporate culture at Rohde & Schwarz.

Many thanks for speaking with us, Dr. Ruster. We are very excited to see how your innovation will take hold, and we will continue to keep all our fingers crossed.

Rohde & Schwarz Career Thomas Ruster

Dr. Thomas Ruster was one of the first innovators in the company to successfully complete the InnoFunnel.

Rohde & Schwarz Career Conference Expo Area

Our International Developers Conference promotes ideas and innovations of our employees.

Rohde & Schwarz Developers Conference Ideas

A highlight of the International Developers Conference is the Innovation Convention.

Rohde & Schwarz Career Developers Conference Pitch

At the Innovation Convention, developers can present their ideas to the InnoBoard – but they will only have a few minutes!

Rohde & Schwarz Career Voting

Anyone who convinces our InnoBoard with his pitch will be supported in the implementation of his idea.

What else can you expect

Lifelong learning

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Work-life-balance

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Health management

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Rohde & Schwarz career

Bringing ideas to life – Join us in putting the spirit of innovation into action at Rohde & Schwarz!!

We look forward to receiving your application!