When ABB Robotics, an established brand and pioneer in the Dutch construction market, wanted to extend its activities to the Belgian market, the company called the support of TomorrowLab. With an in-depth exploration of the ecosystem in Flanders and an interactive inspiration day with industry peers, ABB Robotics has set the next steps on its way to expand their success thanks to their proven expertise in various industrial sectors.

ABB Robotics is a pioneer in robotics, machine automation and digital services, providing innovative solutions for a diverse range of industries, from automotive to electronics to logistics. As one of the world’s leading robotics and machine automation suppliers, ABB Robotics employs more than 11,000 people in 53 countries and has shipped more than 500,000 robot solutions.

Looking for the Flemish connection

ABB Robotics wanted to expand its activities to the Flemish construction market. Although the company has a strong foothold in the Netherlands, ABB Robotics had a rather limited network in the Flemish construction market. They were looking for more insights and a better understanding of the trends, developments and challenges in this region. The company wanted to gain up-to-date knowledge about the usage of robotics and automation in Flanders and how these technologies were currently used to counter challenges in the construction market, such as shortage of skilled labor and increasing material cost. ABB Robotics realized that this information would be essential to make a Flemish market introduction successful.

ABB Robotics was therefore looking for a partner that could help the company to explore the Flemish ecosystem and to connect the company to the relevant Flemish stakeholders. As a valued, longtime partner of mother company ABB and thanks to its ecosystem mindset, they joined forces with TomorrowLab.

Together with TomorrowLab, ABB Robotics wanted to:

  • Identify and connect an ecosystem of relevant companies in the Flemish construction market
  • Research trends and developments on robotics and automatization in the construction market
  • Bring the right ecosystem partners together in an interactive inspiration session

From exploration to inspiration: a step-wise approach

TomorrowLab and ABB Robotics followed a step-wise approach to bring the automation expertise and awareness about robotics solutions into the Flemish construction market:

  • Scope definition: First, the team captured the project goals and expectations.
  • Strategy map: ABB Robotics and TomorrowLab defined the different segments of the Flemish construction market and prioritized the segments of interest.
  • Target list: Based on the previous steps, relevant companies and experts for each of these segments were identified.
  • Interviews & report: TomorrowLab interviewed a selection of these organisations to understand their concerns, questions and thoughts about the use of robotics and automation. A comprehensive report based on this research provided further insights.
  • Selection of topics: Together, the project team defined a number of themes and questions to handle during the inspiration day.

The Inspiration Day consisted of 2 parts with knowledge sharing and inspiring as the common thread.

  • The first part was moderated by ABB. After an introduction by Kris Huyck, General Manager Robotics ABB Benelux, several inspiring presentations were given by the ABB Robotics team. This was followed by a reference case presented by their partner Tebulo.
  • During the second part, room was given for interactive discussions between the participants and the ABB experts during several break-out sessions. TomorrowLab acted as a facilitator. The previously made report served as a basis for these conversations. Questions and statements that came up during interviews and desk research were used as a starting point.
ABB Robotics Inspiration Day

The Living Tomorrow campus in Brussels was the perfect location for this day full of innovation and conversations related to being future ready as an organisation.

The TomorrowLab people are great listeners, they easily understand our needs and they are great at connecting people with each other.

Kris Huyck, General Manager Robotics ABB Benelux

Access to people and knowledge

The Inspiration Day was a success. Several participating organisations expressed their interest to continue the discussion on robotics and automation in the construction sector. ABB Robotics was able to increase the awareness of the use of automation and robotics in the construction market. They collected valuable knowledge on the Flemish construction market, and managed to approach the right people to help them drive their business.

ABB Robotics valued the opportunity to make use of TomorrowLab’s broad network in the construction market. Thanks to its long-lasting relationships in the industry, TomorrowLab was able to introduce ABB Robotics to a number of relevant companies and point the company towards the right contacts within these organisations to continue the discussion.

The discussions on the Inspiration Day have clearly inspired a number of organisations. The VCB (Vlaamse Confederatie Bouw), to name but one, invited ABB Robotics to take part in an interactive program for innovation in the building sector. It also inspired ABB Robotics to continue on the chosen path. The Inspiration Day was a valuable pilot and will be used as a format for upcoming events.

Kris Huyck, General Manager Robotics ABB Benelux at ABB Robotics commented on the strengths of TomorrowLab: “With the support of TomorrowLab’s broad network, we have been able to make a meaningful connection more easily with a market that was still unknown to us. The TomorrowLab people are great listeners, they easily understand our needs and they are great at connecting people with each other. Then, they inspire them to have a good, interactive discussion about innovation. The Inspiration Day is just a start for us. It has inspired us to organize more activities in the Belgian construction market.”

ABB Robotics Inspiration Day
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