Magnification for innovation

The innovation skill of magnification is in play at one of the world’s greatest car manufacturers: Volkswagen. The VW car manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany is a classic example of “magnification”.

While every car manufacturer needs to make their cars somewhere, most manufacturing plants would look boringly industrial, and very unsightly. That is except for the VW manufacturing plant. VW realised that if there's something we are doing (like manufacturing cars), there is a benefit in “magnifying it.”  


The innovative result that VW came up with way back in 2002, was to build a world class manufacturing plant that looks from the outside more like the ultra modern glass building corporate headquarters of a cool company. While in reality, on the inside, a visitor would find a state of the art, robotic manufacturing process and automobile assembly line.

What VW have done in the design of their manufacturing plant is “magnify” the quality of their manufacturing by enabling people to actually see and experience the manufacturing process. People are curious creatures and would love the idea of seeing how things are built. VW turned auto manufacturing plant into emotional anchoring.

When someone can see their car being built along the production line, fascination turns into emotion which in turn leads to the motivation for a purchasing decision. The more the customer is involved in the process, the more this leads to a brand obsession.

While creating a transparent manufacturing plant is not necessarily something that all businesses could do, the thinking behind it is there for the taking. Is there a part of your organisation or business that you could “magnify” to reveal the quality, while increasing the experience and adding value to what you do?



Nils Vesk

Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author

nils vesk