Lab1886 in Atlanta - New Location for Daimler AG's Innovation Hub

  • Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886 Global: "For us, Atlanta, a key North American hub, is the perfect place to bring together different regions, business units, people and trends. The combination of established, successful companies and a strongly growing start-up ecosystem very well reflects our Lab1886 philosophy – we aim to harness and promote the best of both worlds."
  • Lab1886 is actively supporting the transformation of Daimler AG from automobile manufacturer to mobility provider
  • Global innovation network at four locations on three continents

Grand Opening of Lab1886 in Atlanta, GA. From right to left: Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886 Global, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia, Dietmar Exler, CEO Mercedes-Benz USA.

STUTTGART, Germany & ATLANTA--()--Daimler AG is expanding its global innovation network. Lab1886's new location in Atlanta (Georgia, USA) officially opened today. Guests at the event included Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia, as well as Silicon Valley icon and investor Guy Kawasaki. "For Lab1886, it's important to have a presence at the world's most innovative and creative locations. Atlanta offers this and, for us, is therefore the perfect choice for our new location. Key factors in the siting decision were ease of access to our Daimler and Mercedes-Benz colleagues in North America as well as the excellent, digital infrastructure, along with the availability of highly qualified university graduates," said Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886 Global, at the opening. The new location is headed by Paul Lafata. The Californian has over 20 years of expertise as a UX designer and developer of innovative, digital products. He previously worked for BCG Digital Ventures, Qualcomm and Nokia.

By the end of 2018, there will be around 25 employees in Atlanta working on the development of new business ideas and innovative projects; future growth in staff numbers will be based on actual needs. The new location offers perfect conditions for the innovation hub of Daimler AG, with excellent universities and colleges producing highly qualified, potential new employees. Moreover, Atlanta is increasingly attracting companies from the technology and digital sectors. The capital of the US state of Georgia is one of the up-and-coming hot spots of the start-up scene.

Lab1886 is supporting the Daimler Group in connection with the CASE strategy as it transforms into an integrated provider of mobility solutions. It combines the Group's know-how with the speed of a start-up and has the freedom to address issues that go beyond the core business. With Lab1886, Daimler is making targeted worldwide use of swarm intelligence. The aim is for the ideas of individual employees, teams and business units to be implemented quickly and by unconventional means. For this purpose, Lab1886 is equipped with all the necessary infrastructures and skills as well as over ten years of experience in the implementation of new business models. This freedom enables employees in Stuttgart, Berlin, Beijing and Atlanta to work in flat hierarchies and a creative atmosphere.

Innovation process in three phases

The development of a new business model within the in-house incubator of Lab1886 involves a three-phase process: In the first phase, Daimler employees and business units are able to submit their ideas. Preferably, these should come from the broad spectrum of all areas around the topic of mobility. Instruments from the world of start-ups, such as crowd voting, funding and pitching in the shark tank, are used to select ideas for the next phase. Defined criteria serve to examine whether an idea has the potential for a new product or business model. The shark tank is populated by members from Daimler's top management as well as by external venture capital experts.

In the incubation phase – phase two of the innovation process – the selected projects are piloted and developed to market readiness. The idea generators receive support from, for example, professional mentoring, advice from specialists in complex work steps, use of co-working spaces and workshops, financial support, an inspiring working environment and the development of new prototypes.

In the third phase – commercialization – the "young" products or new services come face-to-face with the challenges of the global market. If an idea or product has potential for a future business model, it is rolled out. The innovation process concludes with incorporation into the Daimler organization or with a spin-off.

More information from Daimler and Lab1886 is available online at:, and

Daimler at a glance

Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the vehicle manufacturer is one of the biggest suppliers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, financial investments, credit cards, and innovative mobility services. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer in vehicle manufacturing, Daimler sees making the future of mobility safe and sustainable as both a motivating factor and an obligation.

The Group's focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior vehicles which exude a very special fascination. Daimler consistently invests in the development of efficient drive systems – ranging from hybrid vehicles to all-electric vehicles powered by either batteries or a fuel cell. The Group's long-term goal here is emission-free driving. What's more, the company is emphatically pushing for intelligent networking of its vehicles, as well as autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. Daimler is committed to championing a responsible approach in the interests of society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Besides Mercedes-Benz as the world's most valuable premium automobile brand (source: inter-brand study "The Anatomy of Growth", 5.10.2016), the Group's portfolio also includes Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, as well as the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses, not to mention the Daimler Financial Services brands: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Daimler Truck Financial, moovel, car2go and mytaxi. The company is listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges (stock exchange symbol DAI). Group unit sales totaled around 3.3 million vehicles in 2017, with a workforce of more than 289,300. Revenue stood at € 164.3 billion with EBIT totaling € 14.7 billion.

About Lab1886

Lab1886 acts as Daimler AG's innovation hub with its own incubator. It has qualified personnel from the start-up world to professionally assist Daimler employees with the realization of their ideas. The goal is to proceed faster from the idea to the product or business model. Lab1886 is active at four locations on three continents: Stuttgart and Berlin in Germany, Beijing in China and Atlanta in the USA. Under working conditions similar to those at a start-up, Daimler makes targeted use of swarm intelligence at Lab1886. The aim is for the ideas of individual employees, teams and business units to be implemented quickly and by unconventional means. For this purpose, Lab1886 is equipped with all the necessary infrastructures and skills as well as ten years of experience in the implementation of new business models. This freedom enables employees to work in flat hierarchies and a creative atmosphere.

About CASE

CASE – these letters are shaping the future of mobility. They stand for: Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric. The four pillars of CASE are an integral part of Daimler AG's corporate strategy. The goal is to intelligently combine the pillars of CASE in order to provide our customers with intuitive mobility.

Mercedes-Benz Cars already plays a leading role in all four areas. For example, all activities around connectivity are focused on the digital brand Mercedes me, which affords customers access to a comprehensive and personalized range of services using apps, websites or directly in-car.

Mercedes-Benz has for years been a key player on the road to autonomous driving, setting one benchmark after another. For this purpose, Mercedes engineers make use of so-called sensor fusion. The data from various sensors, such as cameras, ultrasound and radar, is intelligently fused and evaluated. With the smart vision EQ fortwo, the smart brand demonstrates what driving without a steering wheel might look like in the future world of car sharing. The inventor of the automobile already plays a leading role in the area of Sharing & Services. The mobility services, which are used by over 18 million people, extend from free-floating car sharing (car2go) to ride-hailing (mytaxi) to a mobility platform (moovel).

With regard to the electrification of the powertrain, Mercedes-Benz is following an integrated approach and is developing the EQ brand with a vehicle family and an integrated ecosystem, which, in addition to the vehicle itself, includes an extensive offering around electric mobility. This extends from intelligence services to energy storage units and charging technologies through to sustainable recycling. On the road to emission-free driving, Daimler is pursuing a three-track powertrain strategy designed for maximum environmental compatibility across all vehicle classes (including commercial vehicles and vans) – with an intelligent mix of state-of-the-art combustion engines and partial electrification with 48 V technology, tailored EQ Power plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with battery or fuel-cell powertrains.

In focusing on CASE, Daimler is gearing up for the intuitive mobility of the future.

More at:


Daimler AG
Andrea Berg, +1 212-909-9062
Mona Moll, +49 (0) 711 17- 9 37 99


Daimler AG
Andrea Berg, +1 212-909-9062
Mona Moll, +49 (0) 711 17- 9 37 99