Covestro Shanghai

Attracting new target customers to a specialty product


Manufacturing of Coatings, Adhesives, Polyurethanes & Polycarbonates


Leverkusen, Germany & Shanghai, China



Suppose that in your company’s product portfolio, you have a high-performance speciality product that you almost exclusively sell to one industry for use in one highly profitable application. What if due to technological innovation, this one application were to be replaced by a new one that doesn’t need the performance features of your speciality product?

Covestro AG approached Thinkergy to run a X-IDEA Innovation Project focusing on finding new application for one high-performance polycarbonate (PC), which faced the threat of losing profitable sales from its “bread-and-butter” application in its key industry.

At the beginning of this taxing innovation project, Thinkergy held a two-day Xploration workshop in Leverkusen involving three mixed groups of technical product experts, business developers, customers, intermediaries and channel partners. With the help of nearly 20 X-Tools, the teams explored the wider market field and emerging trends to explore possible other application areas for the said speciality PC.

After the Xploration workshop, Covestro had a long list of unknowns to investigate. Almost a year later, a small team extracted the key insights and learnings from this immersion phase, which among others, identified two archetypical new target customers with a need for the performance features of the speciality PC. Moreover, the new insights revealed that we had to completely reframe the challenge statement, from “How to find new applications for {product name}?” (Initial Challenge), over “How to make {product name} more findable?” (Interim Challenge) to “How to invite our target customers to play with {product name}?” (Final Challenge). In other words, the deep Xploration-phase uncovered that the whole case was not about finding the needle in the haystack, but rather to come up with idea concepts that attract new needles into the haystack.

Equipped with good insights and a potent final challenge definition, Thinkergy guided two newly formed Covestro project teams through an intensive 3-day IDEA workshop in Shanghai. In a full day of Ideation, where the two team created over 1,750 raw ideas for the Final Challenge. Thereby, we successfully applied a new I Tool (Geniuses vs. Bozos, based on our Genius Journey method) to help the teams create specific ideas that cater to the mindsets of the two identified customer target personas.

In the morning of day 2, the teams got enough time to design almost sixty idea concepts in the Development stage. Later in the afternoon, each team talked through their idea concept portfolio to understand the pros, cons and interesting aspect of each concept to identify winning concepts (Evaluation stage). On the third and final workshop day, the teams entered their five top ideas into the Action stage and investigated the most impactful way to present the value of each top idea. Finally, each team pitched their five top ideas to a management and expert panel. Interestingly, the eight top concepts that were earmarked for real-life activation comprised four new digital and three classical promotional concepts, one structural innovation, as well as one new business model innovation.

Do you market a profitable product that is predicted to plunge in revenues due to digital transformation or technological progress? Contact us to find out how X-IDEA may help you finding new customers for your product, or how to modify and modernize its features to keep it relevant.

Covestro AG, Germany
Case Study, X-IDEA