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"When I was a child, I was always asking how things work. As I got older, I wanted to know why things work the way they do and how they do it. Today I have a job in which I pursue exactly this question and collaborate on new developments."
I joined thyssenkrupp as an intern during my studies and felt at home right from the outset. Because the experienced engineers always took me and my ideas seriously, regardless of how outlandish my ideas were. Once I'd finished my studies, I found the job here that fitted me perfectly.
Anyone who works in the innovation center like me has to come to terms with the fact that 99 out of 100 things that you try won't work on the first attempt – that can be truly frustrating. And so it's important to see failed attempts as opportunities. You always learn something new, understand connections better and so, step by step, feel your way slowly to success. Thomas Edison once said something very interesting on this matter: "I've not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." That's exactly the approach you need in my job.
Where we are, in the innovation center, no two days are the same. Because we're always looking for disruptive ideas that no-one else has had yet. We work with a lot of external partners – not only professionals from leading universities, but also crazy start-up companies. Often, when I get to work, I don't know what's going to happen that day, what new experience I will gain or what interesting gadget I'll get acquainted with. It's also great that we're out and about a lot, for example visiting technical institutes or conferences across the world. There are entirely normal days too, of course, when we're working on our projects. Though actually something always happens on those days as well: The team puts its heads together, there's some brainstorming, we sketch rough drafts or work together to try to solve a tricky problem.
...that people's different abilities and strengths complement one another. No single person can do everything – we're all aware of that. And so here, no-one ever works on a project alone. We collaborate with colleagues from different departments, as well as external partners, professors and specialists from disciplines that at first glance don't seem to be at all connected to what we do. As a result, different points of view come together and everyone brings their own special knowledge – that's what makes us successful as a team.
It's a fascinating thing: I meet colleagues at sites all over world and, no matter where that site is, something connects us. I often see familiar faces, and sometimes we know the same people within the thyssenkrupp family. The chemistry almost always works right from the start. We may be a large company, but somehow we're all part of the same family.