Lab 271:
lifelong learning with a childlike curiosity

Chapter

04

Read

3 min

The interviewees

Laurens Eversmann, Ilja Heitlager, Mike Wessling

Lab 271 is where we prepare ourselves for the world of the future, in which technologies like IoT and artificial intelligence will take center stage. Lab colleagues Mike Wessling (Mission Critical Engineer), Laurens Eversmann (Innovation Specialist), and Ilja Heitlager (Chief Information Officer) explain why a place dedicated to curiosity is crucial for our development as a company.

Experimenting

An AWS DeepRacer, a smart miniature factory and a hacked iRobot vacuum cleaner to showcase how connected sensors, hardware and industrial IoT work. They’re just a sampling of the exceptional short-cycle experiments in Lab 271, with which Schuberg Philis wants to bridge the divide between physical engineering and IT.

Ilja: “At Schuberg Philis we never stop learning. Technology is changing faster than ever, and so is our business. By experimenting and combining elements—and sometimes even creating a little chaos—we’re trying to prepare for this new world in a creative way.” And it’s working. “For example, thanks to our experience with a scale model of a factory, we were able to get things in the real production line up and running again within a single day. Our practice in Lab 271 gave us a head start in real life.”

Laurens: “Experimentation like this is a necessity if you want to create change. But if you want to experiment, you first have to learn to test hypotheses without giving in to the temptation of going straight for the overall solution. This is something we try to communicate to our colleagues through co-creation sessions, workshops, design sprints and boot camps: take smaller steps and explore different directions in which solutions can be found. Peel off a specific question and get to work on it with a good group of people, working with short iterations and fast prototyping.”

We’re teaching the people here to start thinking like children again.

Mike Wessling

Perspective

Mike: “In a sense, we’re teaching the people here to start thinking like children again. With the eyes of a child, you often see connections which a grown-up perspective would dismiss as unproductive, because it’s bogged down in assumptions. Children just want to get to work, and through their experience at ‘failing,’ the experiment leads them to better and better solutions.”

How do Schuberg Philis’s customers benefit from lifelong learning in a space that awakens the child in all of us?

Mike: “You have to discover everything that’s possible, also for our customers. Just like us, they are also navigating a world that is changing fast. Lab 271 is a way to help them get a handle on their own future.”

  • Laurens Eversmann

    Innovation Specialist

    Laurens Eversmann

    01/03

  • Ilja Heitlager

    Chief Information Officer

    Ilja Heitlager

    02/03

  • Mike Wessling

    Mission Critical Engineer

    Mike Wessling

    03/03