Case Competition

The case competition and the Service Innovation Award

Every year, the Walter-Eversheim-Foundation awards the Service Innovation Award in cooperation with the Service-Science-Innovation-Lab of the FIR at RWTH Aachen University. Core of the case competition is a challenging task, presented and given to the participating students by a different industrial company every year. The competition is aimed at students of all disciplines of the participating universities. The winning teams can look forward to valuable prizes, the trophy of the Walter-Eversheim-Foundation and internship positions at the participating companies.

Our current case partner

Royal Philips is one of the biggest technology companies operating in the area of electronics, healthcare and lighting. The innovative Dutch company serves customers worldwide with more than 100.000 employees and achieved a revenue of € 24.2 billion in 2015. Royal Philips is divided in three divisions: Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Healthcare and Philips Lighting.

Challenge: Develop innovative approaches for coded light –  for any possible business area!
RegistrationDownload FlyerCase Description

Current status of the case competition

  • 04 November 2016: Kick-Off
  • 02 December 2016: Feedback-Event
  • 27 January 2017: Submission of Papers
  • 22 February 2017: Presentation of Top Teams
  • 08 March: Award ceremony



Philips Lighting has been established as a stand-alone company in 2016 and is the worldwide leading provider of lighting products, systems and services with € 7.4 billion sales (2015). They produce pioneering new developments in the field of high-quality, energy-efficient LED lighting for both, business customers and end-consumers. Philips Lighting is also the market leader in the area of connected lighting-systems and professional services. Connected lighting opens new possibilities for energy-efficient applications due to an intelligent lighting regulation. Philips Lighting’s future objective is to use the internet of things to transform lighting into a completely networked world – at home, in buildings and in urban Areas. Visible Light Communications (VLC) For many years, Philips Lighting has been researching on coded light applications. With the help of light signals that are imperceptible for the human eye, lamps communicate with the standard camera of a smart device (e.g. smartphone or tablet) and are able to exchange location-specific information of the user. Every lamp has its own IP-address and can therefore be used to navigate users and provide additional data and information to the user. The data stream via VLC works unidirectional; a backlink via Wifi/GSM is not mandatorily required. The economic effects of this technology are tremendous and can be transferred into several business areas using the existing VLC platform or even be developed further through service opportunities in the area of asset tracking and Management. Possible use cases Recently, Philips Lighting implemented this coded light application in a supermarket in France to demonstrate the benefits in practice, e. g. indoor positioning systems. With the help of a mobile application customers can be navigated through the supermarket based on their electronic shopping list. Additional services like in-store promotions or data analytics on buying behavior can be provided to business customers.

The challenge

Your challenge: You have recently taken a job at Philips Lighting and your job is to develop innovative approaches for coded light for any possible business areas. Given this information, your work will focus on either building up new services on the existing VLC platform (option 1) or on the development of completely new carriers for future services, which are based on coded light and other technologies (option 2). Option 1: Think of innovative data-enabled service ideas for the use of the VLC technology and coded light in any fields of public, office and industry or retail and hospitality. Take the perspective of Philips Lighting and develop promising services concepts based on the existing technology. and/or Option 2: Besides existing technologies, think of innovative data-enabled service applications, which are based on light and could require new additional technology enhancements, e. g. additional sensors or robots that locate themselves with light. Develop promising service business applications of the Philips Lighting perspective. Applications could i.e. be asset tracking (asset and/or product audits, automated mapping, stock management, equipment tracking, tracking and optimization of forklift operations in warehouses, etc.). Be inspired by the wealth of business and application segments served by Philips Lighting

Competition goal

Overall objective Your objective is to develop new value adding services for customers in the professional lighting market (B2B). Point out your value proposition to potential customers and also your business model while utilizing the solution architecture for connected lighting. Remember that a good idea only becomes an innovation, if viable business models are successful and accepted on the designated markets. Be creative! While developing new services, please focus on:

  • Fresh and innovative ideas, responding to real user needs in B2B markets – investigate what already exists on the market
  • Real service opportunities – as compared to system or application feature innovations
  • Unique selling point (USP) through lighting (VLC, infrastructure, data) – explain why Philips Lighting has a ‘right to play’
  • Complexity in business implementation – address stakeholder map, necessary partnerships and potential dependencies
  • Business potential and potential to scale for a global player like Philips Lighting

In order to develop an idea, you and your team can access different channels of information: internet research, surveys, interviews/workshops and the documents provided by Philips Lighting. Use the given information wisely and integrate it into your project for better results. Expected results: The expected results are divided into two parts:

  • Business model
  • Visualization of your idea

Business model The most important part of your solution is the development of a solid, comprehensive and elaborate business model for your innovative concept. In order to ensure comparability to solutions of other teams, please utilize the Business Model Canvas to systematically develop your idea. The most important aspects of your concept are:

  • Customer segmentation & value proposition
  • Resources and activities
  • Go-to-market approach & potential partners
  • Cost and revenue model

Visualization In order to demonstrate and easily convey your idea, please visualize it in any form. This could include a paper build prototype, a programmed application, a drawing, a short movie – it is important that you are creative in order to sell your idea to the Jury! Additional hints

  • Take a managerial perspective (Philips Lighting)
  • Put emphasis on customer value – do market research and talk to real customers. Use these insights to build your value proposition
  • State the USP and develop a SWOT analysis
  • Keep in mind that this is about a service business case – do not solely focus on enabling product or system elements
  • Develop the outline of an implementation model, including requirements for service delivery (FTEs, resources, timeline)
  • Give a recommendation for further actions based on your results
  • Be innovative and creative!

Competition requirements

Competition Requirements All participants Concept presentation, containing:

  • Case solution – max. 20 slides presentation (e. g. MS PowerPoint)
  • Visualization of the idea
  • All documents are to be submitted in English

Participants of the lecture Service Design & Engineering additionally have to hand in: Written concept description, containing:

  • Executive summary – one page (MS Word)
  • Case solution – 12 pages (MS Word)
  • Visualization of the idea
  • All documents are to be submitted in English in the provided template (see website or L2P)

Awards and prizes

The top teams will be awarded great prizes!
1. Prize:

  • Service-Innovation-Award trophy, certificate and internship positions at the case partners company
  • iPads

  • Certificates
  • iPads (mini)
3. Prize:

  • Certificates
  • high-end Bluetooth headphones

Embedded in the Lecture Service Design & Engineering

Besides participating in the case competition, you can apply for the lecture Service Design & Engineering and receive credits for your work: The conception of new service offerings, in particular with regard to development, gains increasingly more importance for companies every year. The lecture Service Design & Engineering aims to provide a comprehensive picture of methods and skills that can support the development of new services. To do so, the role of a business manager is explained and academic and scientific research questions broaden the perspective on the topic. The focus is placed on management related issues in order to develop a service concept in the framework of a new business model. Particular emphasis is placed on the step by step methodology for a systematic design of innovative services. You will learn why and when different methods are used and how the design process is organised. The lecture is based on specific case competitions that are elaborated by small teams (2-3 persons). The lecture introduces and explains different methods and tools and allows students to demonstrate what they learned in workshops and smaller challenges. In addition to this, different scientific research papers on the topic will be discussed.

  • Learning goal: Course description currently only available in English
  • pre-condition: Successful participation in at least one TIM basic event
  • Further information: The lecture is given by Dr. Gerhard Gudergan (FIR – Research Institute for Industrial Management).

Past case competitions (2011-2016)


Case competition 2016

SMS digital is a newly founded subsidiary of the SMS Holding. The company is set up as a start-up incubator for digital products for SMS group´s customers. SMS digital follows an entrepreneurial approach towards business and will work closely with SMS group’s business units to develop and sell products, which add value to the customers. The unit uses the design thinking method as well as lean start-up principles to act quickly and efficiently. Challenge 2016: Invent the future of services, based on digital documentation!

Case Competition 2015

DMG MORIS’ range of products includes innovative high-tech machines and services, as well as software and energy solutions, offered to a wide variety of customers in diverse regions and industries. In order to supply customers with all kinds of spare parts in size and weight, the DMG MORI SPARE PARTS GMBH deals with the overall organization of a worldwide spare parts supply chain. Within the daily business, parts have to be purchased and sold with the core goal to fulfill customers’ expectations – a high spare parts availability at almost any place of the world – best. Challenge 2015: Innovative strategies for smart logistics of the future


The winning team: Hans Heikenfeld & André Hessler

Case Competition 2014

StreetScooter was founded in 2010 in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen. StreetScooter is based on the idea to make electric mobility economically attractive – not only for large quantities but also when only small volumes are requested. Thus, economy and ecology should be reconciled. The company is based in Aachen where electronic vehicles are developed and produced for short-range use. The current portfolio includes various types of vehicles, a compact car for everyday use, pedelecs as well as lightweight prototypes. Challenge 2014: Develop your concept for car-to-cloud application services in the context of B2C and B2B.

The winning team: Benedikt Moser & Jennifer Willigers

Case Competition 2013

The Deutsche Telekom has 144 million mobile customers and 32 million network line clients as well as 17 million broadband lines. The company is one of the leading integrated telecommunications companies worldwide (as of June 30th, 2013). The company provides products and services regarding the areas landlines, mobile networks, internet and IPTV for private and business customers. Challenge 2013: Design your concept of a business model for M2M applications in the industrial context.

The winning team: Nils Kornder, Sidney Fiegen & Sven Haag

Case Competition 2012

With a clear structure in the fields of industry, energy, health care and infrastructural solutions, Siemens is the leading provider of innovative products, technologies and solutions. The company employs approx. 360.000 employees in over 190 countries worldwide. The company, founded over 160 years ago, supports its customers with innovative techniques and extensive know-how for the solution of their business and technical challenges. Challenge 2012: Develop your own concept of a business model for technological based Value Services in the automobile industry of Siemens AG.


The winning team: Hans Heikenfeld & André Hessler

Case Competition 2011

Lufthansa Technik Logistik GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG. They offer pioneering logistics solutions for the aviation industry. The product portfolio includes the entire range of spare part logistics, high specialised engine transports and globally networked distribution solutions. They also offer instant material procurement and material supply, organisation and optimisation of repair cycles, proper storage and distribution as well as a worldwide 24-hour service. Challenge 2011: Develop your own concept for the use of innovative technologies at the logistics specialist in the aviation industry Lufthansa Technik Logistik.

The winning team: Christina Oberfranz, Henning Gamerschlag, Tobias Greifenberg

Case Competition 2010

Royal Philips Electronics is responsible for health topics and well-being based in the Netherlands. The company´s focus is on improving the quality of people´s lives and creating innovative solutions in the area of health care, consumer lifestyle and lighting. Philips employs approx. 122.000 employees in more than 100 countries. The company generated a turnover of 22.6 billion Euros in 2011. Royal Philips Electronics is a market leader in cardiology, emergency medicine, health care at home and energy efficient lighting solutions. Challenge 2010: „Philips DirectLife, get fit your way“