Digital think tank in the heart of Berlin
The premises of the former Bötzow Brewery in the heart of Berlin are home to Ottobock’s digital Future Lab, where the company is preparing for the future today. Modern working environments with space for creativity and innovative ideas have emerged among historic brick buildings and industrial monuments.
At Bötzow, Ottobock is driving forward future topics such as digitalisation. Agile, cross-functional teams create and test innovative products, technologies and fitting solutions. From this they develop new digital business models.
Besides the digital startups, colleagues from Global IT, Human Resources, Marketing, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs also work at Bötzow.
Ottobock’s wheelchair division – Human Mobility – also has a strategically important location in Berlin. The team has been working out the details for smart, high-tech wheelchairs here since the beginning of 2018.
Research & Development, Sales and Purchasing collaborate closely in the building’s flexible, open-design spaces. Before the wheelchairs move on to Production, they undergo extensive testing on the special test track as well as in the integrated workshop.
The wheelchairs are produced in Königsee, Thuringia – the hometown of the company’s founder, Otto Bock.
The new O&P Clinic at Bötzow focuses on the treatment of international patients. In addition to Patient Care Centers in Duderstadt and Göttingen, the company’s third Patient Care Center in Germany is located in Berlin. Here in the midst of the bustling metropolis, a team of O&P professionals and physiotherapists treats users from all over the world.
A large therapy area and modern, digital equipment create the ideal conditions for custom treatment.
The garden in the inner courtyard was designed for therapeutic purposes and provides an optimal training area with its varying surface structures consisting of grass, gravel, paving stones and small inclines.
The Human Mobility Service Center at the O&P Clinic is an important partner for specialist dealers, providing support for adapting and retrofitting wheelchairs.
Ideas for the digital future
In the Future Lab, the company is developing a digital ecosystem and the connected Patient Care Center of the future – starting with high-tech manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing, through a holistically digitised treatment process, to smart sensor technology in the product world. This shall shorten the paths for users, make prostheses more individualised and connect people via platforms.
Today, the former Bötzow Brewery (1864–1945) is a digital think tank and an impressive industrial monument in one. Berlin’s largest privately owned brewery was already a place for progress more than 100 years ago. The citizens of the metropolis came together to enjoy Bötzow's high-quality, bottom-fermented beer in its large, spacious beer garden. It wasn’t long before the brewery’s popularity skyrocketed. Just a year after it began production, young Julius Bötzow was named purveyor to the king’s court in 1885. He hadn’t chosen the brewery’s hilly premises by accident – they provided plenty of room for vast, vaulted cellars where the beer could be kept cool. Thanks to Julius' vision and business skills, the Bötzow name until today represents a bona fide Berlin success story.
The brewery premises gradually began to return to life following their purchase by Prof. Hans Georg Näder in 2010 and the implementation of a comprehensive master plan by star architect Sir David Chipperfield – the pioneering spirit of yesteryear has returned to Bötzow.
In 2009, Ottobock built the Science Center at Potsdamer Platz and returned to Berlin, where the company was founded in Kreuzberg in 1919. For nine years, the modern building represented the company and served as its showroom in the capital city. More than one million visitors from around the world visited “Discover what moves us”, an interactive exhibition. Ottobock moved into the renovated building at the former Bötzow Brewery in the summer of 2018, and the Science Center Berlin closed its doors to the public.
At present, no public exhibition is planned for the new Bötzow site.