Italy, France, Switzerland and now Stuttgart: Those were the steps of Giorgio Corbellini’s international journey before he joined FleetBoard. We talked to the self-proclaimed creative technologist about elevator pitches, shark tanks, and being able to choose your own job title.
Hello Mr. Corbellini, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Giorgio Corbellini and I was born and grew up in Rome, Italy, where I also studied telecommunication engineering. After my studies I moved to Grenoble, France, to do a PhD in computer science working on wireless sensor networks for the French Council of Nuclear Energy. After that I joined Disney Research, in Zürich, Switzerland, working on different types of novel communication technologies and human computer interaction systems together with outstanding researchers from all over the world. At the end of 2016 I decided to pivot my career, leaving research for industry, and I joined the TEDS team here at Daimler FleetBoard in Stuttgart, Germany. TEDS is the abbreviation for Trucks Europe Digital Solutions. In my current job I deal with innovation, novel technologies and services every day. Basically all things I enjoy. Here, I interact with academics, startups, venture capitalists and many different types of stakeholders that operate within logistics area.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?
I chose Daimler because once I decided to work in the automotive industry, I applied for the best company in the sector. I wanted to work in a modern setting with international colleagues. After I had the interviews, it was clear that Daimler was the company I was looking for.
What did you do before joining Daimler? What is your experience at Daimler like so far?
Since I finished my studies I have always looked for the best working opportunities that I had in front of me. Working for the Walt Disney Company for five years was an extremely enriching experience that taught me many lessons, which I will never forget. When I decided to move on to the new job, I did not want to work in an environment less challenging and appealing to me. My first seven months with Daimler definitely met my expectations. So far I learned something new every day and that is what motivates me. When I speak to some colleagues that have been working for Daimler for years I understand the company is going through a massive cultural transformation at all levels. The company that I joined is already great, so I am really looking forward to see what the future will bring.
Daimler wants to bring together the best from the corporate and start-up world. How do you work and what is the atmosphere like?
The team I work in has the goal to optimize the world of logistics. Therefore the management develops a seamless processes shaped around our customers´ needs. These are continuously filled with new ideas coming from all possible directions (customer interviews, ideation workshops, other colleagues sending us mails). We have a selection process where the best ideas are identified and pitched in front of a board of experts the Digital Product Team. Those presentations are known as “elevator pitches” because they must be short, focused and clear. If a project gets the approval by the DPT my favorite phase starts, the prototyping phase. During this phase, which lasts four weeks, the idea grows, changes, evolves and might look very different at the end. During such phases we work in sprint mode and interact each time with different colleagues because every idea requires different skills. The diversity of each project is the reason why we have many different profiles like developers or physicists in our team. At the end of the prototyping phase the idea is presented again at an event called the “shark tank”. If the four weeks of prototyping work did not result in a very solid story including a business model and customer interviews, the sharks will dismiss it. So far, in less than a year, more than 30 ideas were pitched and about nine have passed the shark tank and are now moving to the final phase of implementation. Although it sometimes is hard to experience, if an idea does not pass, there is always some lessons learned from each project.
Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work. What challenges do you have? What does a typical work day look like?
Our work is shaped around the innovation funnel and each of us is involved in at least one project. So, there is not really a typical daily business because the activities change all the time. Right now I am involved in three projects: one project that I will pitch during the next meeting, one project in the prototyping phase and one project that is already in the implementation phase. I am dealing with truck drivers, lawyers, marketers, software developers and business developers. It is exciting and never boring! On top of that I regularly engage with the startup community in Germany but also abroad. Moreover I am coaching a team of master students, some from the KIT in Karlsruhe and some from the TCD in Dublin concerning a project of design thinking.
What profiles are you looking for in your team? What skills should candidates bring?
In every person that we hire, we look for that special skill that we do not have already. Many of us have technical backgrounds and a certain level of technicality is required. Besides, we look for people that do not fear to be outside their comfort zone and are prepared to take responsibilities for their decisions very quickly. Fast learners are always welcome in our team! Also it would be great, if you already have some international experience in your career.