Mercedes-Benz was built on a long history of innovation — the company can claim the first patent of a gas-powered automobile, the Benz Patent Motorwagon, in the year 1886. Now, parent company Daimler is continuing that legacy in Atlanta, the new home of its U.S. headquarters.
At the grand opening of the HQ earlier this month, MBUSA CEO Dietmar Exler announced that the city would also become the location of its fourth global incubator, Lab1886, named in reference to that first automobile. The innovation center, slated to open this summer in Midtown, will explore new technologies and ideas for potential commercialization.
“Lab1886 underscores Daimler’s goal of transforming the company from an automotive manufacturer to a mobility provider,” said an MBUSA spokesperson. “In addition to state-of-the-art hardware and software, Lab1886 will provide highly skilled staff to give Daimler employees expert support in turning their ideas into new business models, going as far as the spin-off of new subsidiaries. This means that the entire innovation process, from idea and incubation through to commercialization, can take place internally within Daimler.”
Atlanta’s Lab1886 will be one of four in the world and the first in the U.S. Two are located in Germany and the third in Beijing.
Daimler’s goal for Lab1886’s research is to transform the company from an automobile manufacturer into a “mobility provider”. The Lab stems from Daimler’s ‘Business Innovation’ unit, which has been around for over ten years.
On Lab1886’s website, it explains that the unit is focused on four mobility “megatrends”: connectivity, sharing, autonomous and electric driving. Some of the projects that have come out of the unit are a car sharing service, a mobility app, and internal company processes that drive employee innovation.
And to drive these agile projects, Daimler is seeking entrepreneurial talent. They plan to employ approximately 20 by the end of the year — current openings include product managers and strategic designers. The job descriptions mention ideal candidates have experience as founders or at startups.
“The recruiting will be done as a kind of co-creation with recruiting experts in the Lab1886 as well as locally with the help of MBUSA,” explained the MBUSA representative.
They’re also seeking a leader — last week they tweeted instructions on how to apply for the U.S. CEO position.
— Lab1886 (@lab1886) March 22, 2018
MBUSA says Atlanta was chosen not only for its proximity to the new U.S. HQ, but also “because of its growing reputation as a hotspot for technology and digital enterprises.”
Photos via Daimler/MBUSA