GERMANY. Frankfurt Airport could soon open a dedicated room where passengers can meet to discuss and develop ideas together.

The ‘Innovation Space’ concept took first place in an ideas competition, the Frankfurt Airport Innovation Challenge, which was open to interested members of the public anywhere in the world. It sought to find ways to improve the passenger experience at the airport, with the overall winner receiving €3,000.


Rising to the challenge: The jury consisted of Claudia Uhe (Fraport), Denis Eser (HYVE Innovation Community), Konstantin Gänge (Airbus), Johannes Sammann (Heinemann) and Markus Garn (Innovation Expert)

The six best ideas were determined by a five-member jury comprising industry and innovation experts.

The Innovation Space is intended to help generate added value through personal interaction at the airport, airport operator Fraport said. Specific issues and problems can be discussed in the room not only by the airport operator itself but also by local start-ups or passengers. These can then be addressed using “modern creative techniques”.

“This idea promotes Frankfurt Airport and the entire region as a place for innovation,” said Fraport Head of Corporate Development, Environment & Sustainability Claudia Uhe, and Chairwoman of the jury. “The idea provides an excellent platform for direct customer feedback and the opportunity to exploit the great potential of creative minds from around the globe who come together here at the airport and in the region.”

Jury member Markus Garn, a former manager at the FBM Frankfurt Business Media publishing company (part of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper) and Editor of the Innovation Annual, also praised the winning idea. “The ability to innovate is fundamental for the future of any company. The Innovation Space provides a framework for continuous, open development of ideas, communication and active networking as an optimal addition to traditional idea and innovation management.

“An open co-working space can serve as a model for both the airport and the entire region. It also provides an opportunity to follow up on other ideas developed during the competition and ensures creative continuity.”


Big ideas: The Frankfurt Airport Innovation Challenge was open to interested members of the public anywhere in the world

Johannes Sammann, who as General Retail Manager is responsible for retail outlets operated by Gebr. Heinemann at Frankfurt Airport, concurred. “Many of the ideas submitted were aimed at providing electronic support for connecting people who share a particular interest,” he said.

“However, the dialogue between the jury members in itself also reaffirmed that virtual space cannot fully replace real space. Personal dialogue between individuals is still extremely important. The idea for the Innovation Space picks up on this view and therefore deserves first place.”

The Frankfurt Airport Innovation Challenge was held for the first time this year. The competition was based on the ‘open innovation’ principle, meaning that Fraport intentionally opened up its innovation processes to generate external knowledge for the development of innovations. Participants from around the globe had the opportunity to submit their ideas in German or English at a dedicated website.

In the next stage of the competition, the six best ideas will be examined to determine their practicability. Fraport is aiming to implement all ideas if possible.

“Thanks to the fantastic response to this first competition, we are also hoping for future innovative projects that can be used to further enhance the travel experience for passengers at Frankfurt Airport,” concluded Uhe.