ALTANA’s Cross Divisional Development Program Innovation

The Cross-Divisional Development Program Innovation — (CDDPI for short) is hosted by Dr. Georg F. L. Wießmeier in ALTANA Corporate Innovation. It is a joint strategic project with ALTANA Corporate HR to develop a culture of cross-divisional thinking within our organization. This year we have three employees participating in this exciting and dynamic program, which lasts for two years. They will all relocate for divisional projects between three to six months long to the various divisions, both in Europe and abroad. The projects are chosen in conjunction with the divisional Chief Technology Officers, focus on the current innovation topics and are strategically important to the ALTANA Group. In addition, they have a background cross-divisional project. All  CDDPI participants started working on this project in the course of the year.

“The Cross-divisional Development Program Innovation (CDDPI) is an essential part of ALTANA‘s innovation culture. To utilize existent synergies in our company we need well established networks and an increasing awareness of the different cultures in our four business divisions. Only with strong networks we can unfold the full potential of ALTANA‘s know-how which is  available from each of our employees. The singular know-how needs to be connected. Only in this way can we become more than the sum of the  individual parts. This is why we have established the CDDPI jointly with Corporate Human Resources. To ensure a high quality of the program, the candidates and the projects are selected very carefully by the ALTANA Innovation Council and HR. Both the candidates and ALTANA as a company will benefit from this program. I wish all candidates every success along their way with different tasks, challenges, locations and people.”

...was the first participant in the CDDPI, and is now working with ELANTAS as new Business Development Manager.
“The projects were an excellent opportunity to get to know the products and competencies in the different divisions. Also, to appreciate the complexity of ALTANA. However, the program is all about the close relationships developed with the people on all levels.”

Faces: Why did you choose to be part of the CDDP Innovation?
Pütz: After my PhD in November 2010, the general decision for a career in the chemical industry was taken fast. I had also a picture of my new work: R&D in an international operating company. At a career fair, Ms. Andrea Pfister told me about the Cross-divisional Development Program Innovation at ALTANA and I found it an interesting, diversified, fascinating and challenging job opportunity. Not to go the classical way with the CDDPI means to work in broader context having contacts to more people and their views of the company. The possibility to get a deep insight in all four division by “learning on the job” projects makes the CDDPI a unique opportunity for graduated chemists!

Faces: Briefly describe your projects?
Pütz: The topic of my cross-divisional project is Benchmarking Innovation Processes, whereupon the processes of our customers, suppliers and  competitors are in the focus. Therefore it is important to understand different approaches for innovation processes, to derive a criteria system and last but not least to get the desired information, which is not easy overall. My first divisional project is to look for applications of the ELANTAS products in the photovoltaic market. On the one side is the technological part: to understand the used materials and the underlying physical processes. Then one has to identify possible overlaps with the existing products or with possible developments of existing products of ELANTAS. On the other side is the market view, so that overall it is a very interesting topic due to the fact that the renewable energy market offers a wide range of possibilities.

Faces: How do you feel about relocating every few months?
Pütz: The CDDPI offers the possibility to get a deep insight in all four divisions by “learning on the job” projects, therefore it is simply necessary to relocate to the operating units. Otherwise the contact to colleagues, the integration in standard work processes and consequently the understanding of the  diversified culture of ALTANA would not be possible. Furthermore, I like to travel and so I feel very comfortable with my divisional projects for ELANTAS  Beck in Hamburg, ECKART in Günters thal, BYK in Wesel and for ACTEGA Artística in Porrino (Pontevedra) Spain. In general relocating offers the opportunity to get to know many people and different cultures, in my case a new language with Spanish, so one clearly develops also personally as well.


Faces: Where do you see yourself at the end of the program?
Pütz: It is still too early to say that because I have not even finished my first divisional project, so at the moment I am not fixed with regard to context, organization/work description (more strategic or more operating) or location. I am looking forward to the rest of my program because there is still more of ALTANA to explore!

Faces: Why did you choose to be part of the CDDP Innovation?
Arzt: After finishing my PhD I was keen on further developing myself in a rather new direction and have the opportunity to experience and try out different things. Hence, for me as someone coming directly from university,  the CDDPI is a fantastic chance to realize all that and start a professional career.

Faces: Briefly describe your projects?
Arzt: For my cross-divisional project I have a focus on technology foresight and monitoring and in this context I will aim to introduce an ALTANA Wiki as a tool to transfer external knowledge into the company in the easiest and  fastest way possible. My first divisional project started mid-August at BYK. For four months I am evaluating the chances and market potential of BYK Additives & Instruments in the area of electronic applications.

Faces: How do you feel about relocating every few months?
Arzt: To be honest, I find it rather difficult, as by the time I have just started to become comfortable in Wesel I will have to relocate. However, there are of course many advantages associated with this such as, for example, getting the opportunity to experience different work environments, to work abroad, to get to know all four divisions in depth and to meet a lot of people,  hencebuilding up a large personal network at ALTANA. In the end all these valuable benefits have convinced me to take on the challenges which come with this program.

Faces: Where do you see yourself at the end of the program?
Arzt: Well, that is a difficult question, which I am not able to answer right now in my early stage of the program as this is exactly one of the reasons why I have decided to join this program — to find the position at ALTANA I like the best and for which I am bestsuited.

Faces: Why did you choose to be part of the CDDP Innovation?
van Vuuren: The CDDPI offered me a good opportunity to move out of a pure sales environment for BYK and really expand my working knowledge of  ALTANA. The prospect of working among our colleagues in the different Divisions was really exciting for me, as well as being able to understand the full capabilities of our Group. 

Faces: Briefly describe your projects? 
van Vuuren: My cross-divisional topic is the project management and design of the ALTANA Innovation Portal. This has been really an interesting topic  which gives insight into all aspects of the organization. I have recently completed a Market Analysis and Marketing Strategy at ECKART. The topic was Technical Textile and I was based in Güntersthal for just over three months. I was hosted by the NOVENTUS team who certainly made me feel welcome in their organization. Next I will relocate to ACTEGA WIT in Lincolnton, North Carolina (USA) for six months. In this project I will investigate how the ACTEGA’s business line Graphic Arts can address the digital printing market in the U.S. 

Faces: How do you feel about relocating every few months?
van Vuuren: It is certainly not easy, but at the same time it is quite exciting. I try to see it as a benefit of the program rather than a personal sacrifice. Also, I enjoy meeting all the new colleagues at the different locations and learning the different cultures. In the end, the relationships gained are invaluable. Faces: Where do you see yourself at the end of the program? van Vuuren: I hope to find my way back into a position that is both strategic and operational, both technical and commercial. I certainly enjoy having contact to external stakeholders such as our customers, suppliers, and industry partners, and would like to find a position that provides this opportunity.

Faces: Where do you see yourself at the end of the program?
van Vuuren: I hope to find my way back into a position that is both strategic and operational, both technical and commercial. I certainly enjoy having contact to external stakeholders such as our customers, suppliers, and  industry partners, and would like to find a position that provides this  opportunity.