Overview

PCH INNOVATIONS is fueled by the core experiences of our diverse team. Our products, services and new business solutions reflect the inspiration and revelations derived from our work history, personal histories, travels and daily practices.

We focus on producing powerful solutions by emulating the magnetic charges of chance and serendipity. We transpose the lessons attained from various firsthand experiences into tangible platforms ranging from hardware and software to ceramic or steel, each embodying an overarching narrative extending from the pages of our self-defined – and refined – discoveries, principles and beliefs.

PCH works with partners through a highly collaborative, imaginative and fluid process, combining Disruptive Strategies with Dreamtelligence and Design Fiction. We employ multi-perspective practices to source inspiration from all relevant fields, whether intrinsic to our partner’s environment, or adapted from other valuable planes of experience.

PCH INNOVATIONS’ development system involves sustained questioning and conversation. We address our clients’ needs by first understanding their mandate, and then inventing a specialized approach to transforming those reasons into innovative, resonant results.

We invent concepts, design their features, functions, and form, and engineer their materialization for future consumer and market demands.

Due to the confidential nature of our future-oriented innovation projects, we are often prohibited from publishing information or images regarding recent ventures. The following cases comprise the portion of what we are permitted to share publicly.

DENSO
BRAIN
COMPUTER
INTERFACE

Our Mandate:

  • Initiating a game-changing move and pioneering the field of hyper-perceptual & implicit/ passive driver-vehicle interaction
  • Designing the in-car interaction from scratch – to maximize safety, efficiency & joy of use
  • Demonstrating and successfully leveraging the power of brain-computer-interfaces in cars

Our Approach:

  • Focusing on two main cases, related to autonomous driving – driver’s mental workload & driver’s awareness – where we use the BCI-technology to obtain driver’s EEG data and combine this with data from other cars, their environment and the current traffic situation; to guarantee that the system's reactions are optimized along the individual driver’s preferences – for safety first
  • Using BCI-technology to make other systems work more reliably, like gesture recognition, biometrics or eye tracking

Results:

  • We are currently working on an integration of 3 scenarios in a demonstrator vehicle
  • Many other scenarios can be envisioned, especially when it is about reinforcing other biometric systems for e.g. drowsiness detection, distraction monitoring, aggressiveness & stress analysis
  • Beyond automotive applications, BCI could drastically enhance human machine interactions in critical situations where full understanding of the user is necessary, as e.g. mining, tactical scenarios, medical surgery, aviation, power plant management

-- In cooperation with FEV Engineering, TU Berlin & UCSD --

BCI Experiment @ PCH Lab

PCH's BCI-Concept

PCH
INNOVATIONS
Future
Wearable
Devices

Our Mandate:

  • Reinvent the Smartphone as wearable and non-intrusive device in 2020/25
  • Use cutting-edge technology with high chance for feasibility
  • Approach as design fiction project

Our Approach:

  • Conduct consumer scouting, and translate latent needs into compelling concepts
  • Define use cases
  • Design mock-ups
  • Screen for specialized, high-end component suppliers
  • Develop software and hardware components

Results:

  • Digital Mock-Ups for wearable device
  • Running virtual prototypes
  • Solution for 3D stereoscopic projection
  • Device with high consumer & market relevance

-- In cooperation with Mirai Media Lab and FEV --

PCH INNOVATIONS – Future Wearable Devices

CXXXXR
Caustic
Reflection/
Refraction

Our Mandate:

  • Caustics are captivating light patterns, created by materials focusing or diverting light by refraction or reflection. Normally we know caustics as random side effects. (e.g. play of light in water)
  • Whenever multiple rays of light converge on the same point on a surface, they cause that region to become relatively brighter than its surrounding regions; these non-uniform distributions of bright and dark regions are known as caustics
  • We wanted to find a way to control caustic patterns – to form almost any desired shape by optimizing the geometry of the reflective or refractive surface generating the caustic

Our Approach:

  • Real-time computer graphics have been influenced by image-space algorithms, i.e., algorithms that operate on images of objects rather than the object geometry
  • E.g. shadow or displacement mapping is a widely used image-space technique for rendering shadows by performing a simple depth test on rasterized pixels rather than doing expensive shadow-ray intersection tests with the scene geometry
  • Image-space algorithms allow for a fast, approximative approach for rendering various optical effects that are prohibitively slow to produce using conventional geometric techniques, especially for real-time applications such as games
  • Recent research developments have introduced a new image-space technique for rendering caustics in real-time: Caustics Mapping
  • The convergence of the light rays is generally caused by reflective or refractive objects, which bend the rays causing them to change their direction and focus on a single point

Results:

  • Our inhouse developed caustics mapping algorithm simulates this light transport using an approximative image-space approach to render visually convincing caustics in real-time
  • The concept of our algorithm is quite simple and intuitive: It starts with tracing light through the refractive object; the footprints of the refracted light are then collected onto an image plane facing the light source to create a caustics map
  • Translation in various objects (that unfortunately can not be disclosed)

CXXXXR Caustic Reflection/ Refraction

DENSO
INTERNATIONAL
3D
STEREOSCOPIC
DISPLAY

Our Mandate:

  • Develop a 3D stereoscopic center display, almost levitating on car's instrument panel

Our Approach:

  • Conduct consumer scouting, and translate latent needs into compelling concepts
  • Development of transparent, curved & auto-stereoscopic 3d-center display
  • Displayed information empathically adapts to context and various situations
  • Effect of floating information elements – tight to driver's eyes via eye- and face-tracking

Results:

  • Automatically populating and de-populating display layers
  • Intuitive use via touch, gesture and voice control
  • Glasses-free 3D view via auto-stereoscopic screen technology
  • Information to be displayed: in-car O2-level, temperature & air flow, music BPM & volume, Driver's heartbeat & pulse, mediathek
  • Information can seamlessly and naturally be swiped between all in-car displays – via tactile controls, embedded in steering wheel and center console

-- In cooperation with Mirai Media Lab and FEV Consulting --

DENSO INTERNATIONAL 3D STEREOSCOPIC DISPLAY

CXXXXR
Self-similar,
broken
and
fractal
Geometries

Our Mandate:

  • For us as innovation designers, it is not only our duty to explore, but to exceed our own innate dimensions
  • One path to exceed is integrating the beauty and complexity of science, math and art into new functions, aesthetics and objects
  • This time we experiment with self-similar, broken and fractured geometry – fractals
  • Fractals, as a manifestation of universal knowledge, and as a metaphor for the infinite possibilities available to us.

Our Approach:

  • x = abs(x+Fold)-abs(x-Fold)-x
  • y = abs (y+Fold)-abs(y-Fold)-y
  • z = abs (x+Fold)-abs(x-Fold)-z
  • rr= xx+yy+z*z
  • if rr < sqr(Min_R) then m=Scale/sqr(Min_R) else
  • if rr < 1 then m=Scale/rr else m=Scale
  • x = x*m+Cx
  • y = y*m+Cy
  • z = z*m+Cz

Results:

  • Fractals provide a simple solution to capture the enormous detail and irregularity of clouds and landscapes
  • Fractal geometry is an efficient way to draw realistic natural objects on a computer screen
  • We can use fractals to model dynamics of eco-systems
  • We found infinite aesthetic possibilities – static and dynamic
  • Translation in various objects (that unfortunately can not be disclosed)

CXXXXR – Fractal Design

Volkswagen
GX3
Reinvented
Urban
Mobility

Client’s Mandate:

  • Reinvent urban mobility in response to increased market fragmentation and changing consumer needs
  • Develop unique vehicle concept as a brand mobilizer for market turnaround – to be presented at L.A. Auto Show 2006

PCH’s Approach:

  • Orchestrate 12-month innovation lab, engaging a multidisciplinary team of 12 leading experts and creatives from Volkswagen Group
  • Integrate consumers, enthusiast clubs and major technology partners in development process

Results:

  • Creation of innovative 3-wheeler concept vehicle, presented at L.A. Auto Show 2006
  • Construction of two running prototypes and one show car
  • Development of feasible business case, partnership and sourcing strategy
  • Development of holistic marketing, communication and retail concept

-- In cooperation with Lotus Cars PLC and Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG --

GX3 on Wikipedia

Volkswagen – GX3 Unveil at LA Auto Show 2006

Volkswagen – GX3 Emotional Testing

Volkswagen – GX3 Prototype Testing

Volkswagen – Georg Karcher drives GX3 Prototype

Volkswagen
RGT
Concept
to
Market

Client's Mandate:

  • Become the first European automotive manufacturer in the US to be recognized as a high-end tuner
  • Develop 3 concept cars displaying Volkswagen’s aftermarket part and accessory line, to be displayed at SEMA 2005
  • Emotionalize the VW brand through the development of high-end customization concept for VW Jetta, Passat and Touareg

PCH’s Approach:

  • Develop distinctive VW Euro-tuning concept, promoting ‘German Engineering’ in the US
  • Leverage immediate revenue potential for VW
  • Make select tuning parts available at dealerships immediately following introduction of concept vehicles
  • Embrace US tuning and aftermarket community in addition to VW’s US dealer network

Results:

  • Creation of three unique vehicle concepts incorporating 650 hp, 4WD, modified body parts & custom paint concepts
  • Unique nomadic device integration (PSP, iPod, etc.)
  • Invention and orchestration of R GT brand
  • SEMA Award 2005

-- In cooperation with HPA Motorsports and RWB --

Volkswagen
Moonraker
From
Consumer
Need
to
Market
Turnaround

Client’s Mandate:

  • Provide Volkswagen Group’s strategic framework for 2018+ in the US market
  • Reposition VW brand in the US
  • Identify potential sweet-spots for existing & new vehicles, and for new business fields

PCH’s Approach:

  • Develop unique, innovative project approach and set-up
  • Orchestrate global selection of 25 team members from 15 different VW departments
  • Create 18-month live-work environment in LA
  • Conduct 300+ qualitative and 6.000+ quantitative consumer interviews, home stays, ethnographic ride-alongs, etc.
  • Engage continuous dialogue with consumers, experts, dealers and other industries throughout entire project
  • Visualize tangible consumer worlds for 2015+

  • Conduct several international scouting trips (US, Japan, India, China)
  • Coordinate 360° brand evaluation
  • Tear-down three competitor vehicles incl. product engineering and source analysis

Results:

  • Creation of specification book for American and Chinese models of 2010 Jetta and 2011 Passat (partially result of project Swanlake in China)
  • Reduction of Jetta product costs by 5%
  • Reposition of VW brand in US market
  • Derivation of US-specific vehicle architecture, form language, functional vehicle concept and aesthetic framework
  • Redefinition of VW’s early product development phase
  • Aggregation of holistic scouting and foresight toolbox
  • Development of new framework for multidisciplinary work environments and cooperative culture evolution

Volkswagen – MOONRAKER (Fast Facts)

Volkswagen – MOONRAKER (Walk of Pain)

Volkswagen – MOONRAKER (Milestone)

Volkswagen – MOONRAKER (Scouting America)

CODA
Automotive
Electrified
Mobility
Energy
Storage

Client’s Mandate:

  • Prove business case for a new automotive player in the electric vehicle segment
  • Enrich product and service concept(s)
  • Redesign vehicle exterior with high customization potential

PCH’s Approach:

  • Initiate ongoing 360° assessment of product quality, manufacturing & logistic process reliability in US and China
  • Identify infrastructural solution for integration of CODA’s power storage solutions
  • Create a low-cost approach for vehicle’s exterior redesign – with high potential for open collaborations with fleet and private customers

Results:

  • Development of concepts for utilization of battery technology as large-scale power-storage units in infrastructural and humanitarian context
  • Integration of CODA’s battery technology into Make it Right’s sustainable housing project, New Orleans (US), as well as the Zahara Children’s Center, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
  • Development of low-cost decal design concept, with high degree of customization and significant revenue potential
  • Creation of special edition signature design

CODA Automotive – Decal Project I

CODA Automotive – Decal Project III

CODA Automotive – Decal Project II

CODA Automotive – Decal Project IV

Villeroy
Boch
Second
Glance,
Ceramics
Remixed

Client’s Mandate:

  • Evolve brand positioning and brand values
  • Create art piece with strong narrative and high revenue potential
  • Reconnect with young target group on a global scale

PCH’s Approach:

  • Inside-Out/Outside-In: Conduct 100 interviews with employees, stakeholders and customers – from supervisory board to interns, from retailers to architects
  • Reinvent artist-brand collaboration based on Villeroy & Boch art heritage
  • Invent new process for product development
  • Accompany new products with 360° communication strategy
  • Materialize future narratives

Results:

  • Reinterpretation of Villeroy & Boch brand in the context of future developments and consumer needs
  • Development of ‘Second Glance’ theme as a guideline for communication and product development
  • Limited Sink Art Edition consisting of 100 unique pieces to transfer into series production in collaboration with Ebon Heath, artist in residence at PCH INNOVATIONS
  • Ceramic surface as a tactile and visual experience: New relief technique (emboss-deboss) applied on Limited Sink Art Edition
  • Development of new product categories – Ceramic jewelry (necklaces)
  • Poetry, pattern and ceramic combined to create a unique mobile art sculpture
  • Two films, documenting the company and the project, with new aesthetic approach
  • Launch events and roadshow throughout Berlin, Shanghai, Moscow, London, Paris, New York City
  • Mindset-shift in product development process

Loop Art Project Website

PCH INNOVATIONS – Villeroy & Boch, Second Glance Part I

PCH INNOVATIONS – Villeroy & Boch, Second Glance Part II

Axel
Springer
Digital
Sticker

Our Mandate:

  • Reinvent the (bumper) sticker Reposition the (bumper) sticker in the digital age

Our Approach:

  • Conduct consumer scouting, and translate latent needs into compelling concepts
  • Define cases for use and design mock-ups
  • Screen for specialized, high-end component suppliers
  • Install powerful partnership models
  • Develop software and hardware

Results:

  • Patented, digitized version of the popular and iconic (bumper) sticker
  • Running prototypes with web-interface and device-specific firmware
  • Establishment of supply chain
  • Solution for wireless information transfer via Radio Data System
  • Creation of a continuously and highly customizable message processing platform
  • Invention of new communication channel to leverage product and brand visibility above and beyond existing channels
  • Faces of Design Award winner, 2012

-- Positioned in the hybrid space between the real and virtual world, the digital sticker serves as a unique, direct and emotional channel to the consumer --

Axel Springer – Digital Sticker

Audi
E-Tron
Sustaesthics
2015

Client’s Mandate:

  • Identify the need for specific sustainable, aesthetic and material features for Audi’s e-tron product line
  • Refine e-tron brand identity

PCH’s Approach:

  • Create a holistic picture-of-the-future, encompassing the areas of sustainable urban mobility, society, economy, technology, politics, infra- structure, web & media, etc. for 2015+
  • Analyze materials, aesthetics, language and rhetoric used by competitors and other industries
  • Derive new, electric vehicle-related consumer product experiences
  • Identify consumer-centric city layers and corresponding future eMobility services
  • Orchestrate expert exchange to identify potential partners for developing e-tron-related services and products
  • Assess electrification roadmap for 2010–2018
  • Coordinate an experience-week with ethno- graphic e-ride-alongs and customer in-home interviews

Results:

  • Creation of eMobility-related aesthetic and material concepts for Audi’s e-tron line
  • Articulation of impact analysis on existing e-tron form language and vehicle architecture

-- In cooperation with Trommsdorff & Drüner --

Audi E-Tron Sustaethetics

Deutsche
Telekom,
Palomar5
Digital
Natives
Innovation
Camp

Client‘s Mandate:

  • Understand Digital Natives as future workforce and consumers of future information, communication and technology solutions
  • Define future challenges for an organizational integration of Digital Natives within large organizations
  • Derive new models and processes for cooperatives and large organizations in approaching the target group of Digital Natives
  • Empower the vision for the digital generation

PCH’s Approach:

  • Create six relevant content streams – focused on future work environments – as a motif for the Digital Natives Innovation Camp: Collaborative Value Creation, Knowledge Cultivation, Next Generation Identity, Skill Management, Leadership, and Intellectual Property
  • Develop concept for six-week-long live & work innovation camp, creating a cutting-edge technology environment, with a focus on practical solutions for future corporate environments
  • Intensively elaborate content streams through living and working together
  • Create a continuous sphere of cross-generational exchange

Results:

  • Decoding of Digital Natives’ behavior patterns
  • Development of 16 prototypes and mock-ups (hardware and software) for new business and service solutions, with high potential for direct implementation
  • Translation of findings into implications for organizations, leadership models and work environments
  • Further implementation of project results in Project i at BMW Group and Deutsche Telekom via several pilot projects

-- In cooperation with BMW Group, SAP & Burda Digital Media --

Deutsche Telekom, Palomar5 – Digital Natives Innovation Camp

Deutsche Telekom, Palomar5 – Digital Natives Micro Innovation Camp

MAN
Truck
Bus
Transportation
Solutions
2018-2030

Client’s Mandate:

  • Investigate the future of transportation & logistics for 2018-2030
  • Invent products, services and new business solutions for 2018-2030
  • Develop a ‘hyper-embedded’ truck cabin of the future

PCH’s Approach:

  • Create a comprehensive snapshot of the future Integrate consumer perspectives
  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative carrier & trucker surveys, interviews and scouting
  • Derive innovative roadmaps, addressing future customer needs
  • Identify enabling key technologies
  • Build partnership model to enable future technologies, new services and business fields

Results:

  • Development of 40 product and service concepts
  • Implementation of the developed concepts into future truck specification book
  • Concept integration into 2018+ innovation roadmaps
  • Development of 5 application prototypes addressing future customer needs and new business fields

Gov.
of
Mexico
Lizard
Independent
Mobility
Ecosystem

Client’s Mandate:

  • Provide a holistic mobility solution to the world’s most pristine destinations that ends dependence on centralized energy systems, large- scale manufacturers and carbon-based fuels
  • Develop a revolutionary idea which adapts to local resources in order to build, support and optimize local economies and infrastructure, as well as enable social change

PCH’s Approach:

  • Analyze environmental impact of tourism
  • Establish an approach for conscious development of pristine destinations, embracing the foundation of a balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem
  • In April 2011, PCH INNOVATIONS, Design Hotels and Graft brought together Tulum’s major stakeholders to present their revolutionary concept. All stakeholders signed a manifesto, establishing a unified intention to work toward a collective vision in guiding Tulum’s development with a sustainable master plan

Results:

  • Development of a hyper-localized, 100% electric and emission-free community vehicle, called LIZARD, designed and engineered in Berlin, Germany and Los Angeles, USA, and manufactured locally in Tulum, Mexico as well as other global target destinations
  • The first to market, lightweight, hyper-localized, traditionally crafted, leisure-purpose, 100% electric & emission-free vehicle
  • Produced in part from bio-degradable and recycled composites
  • Minimal part design of maximum 1.500 parts Semi knock-down-kit to facilitate local manufacturing processes
  • Cost-efficient and simplified service & repair concept
  • Transparent and reduced CO2-footprint along the vehicle’s entire value chain, plus constant tracking capability

-- In cooperation with Design Hotels AG and Graft Architects LLC --