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Literally thinking laterally.

Solving the problems and challenges of the future with forward-thinking creativity - meet the 'Querdenker'.

Querdenker team meeting
QUERDENKER First row from left: Oliver Geschke, Benedikt Pirngruber, René Hess, Mike Schulz, Patrick Winter, Gregor Bochynek.
Second row from left: Michel Berdyn, Patrick Barthold, Philipp Förstermann, Filipp Flörecke, Marian Pollex, Tom Franke. Not shown: Michael Henn.

Think tanks break down barriers. Fora special group of KAEFER Industrie employees in Germany, there are no barriers at all. They call themselves the 'Querdenker', which means lateral thinkers in German and their job is to imagine there is nothing in their way.

They work in various specialist areas, from sales and project management to construction and manufacturing. They're mostly between 20 and 30 years old and many have been at KAEFER for over a decade. They have KAEFER's best interests at heart, which is important when discussing what would theoretically be possible if they pursued a 'just do it' strategy.

So, what exactly is possible then? Oliver Geschke, Manging Director of KAEFER Industrie, is initially coy: "We dont want to spoil the fun and tell you everything," he remarks. "What I can say is that the Querdenker need to not just be creative, but also surprising, curious and individual. The positive value these groups provide in terms of economic innovation and institutional change is often underestimated. We want to empower and encourage young talent to think laterally, as it's not something we can do on a daily basis."

From mixed-reality headsets for industrial measurement and rotary drums for insulation to digitisation of constructionsite inspections, there is a Querdenkeridea for every area KAEFER works in.

The concept is to foster lateral thinking with the Querdenker serving as an example to encourage the whole company to be creative and make the most of their talent. There are many people at KAEFER with a great deal of experience in their elds, who also have ideas about how to do things differently. And we never know where the next big idea will come from.

This is an article from the current edition of K-WERT, KAEFERs company magazine. Read more