A lighthouse for the networked economy

The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are creating fundamentally new forms of services and interactions between people and technology in a networked economy – the so-called hybrid economy. Innovative technologies are being developed and tested in this context at the Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics in Dortmund – in cooperation with companies as well. One focal point of the Innovationlab’s work lies in the question of how to design and organise responsible and target-oriented ways for people and technology to interact in shared networks.

01 Mission

Today, networking is often put on the same level as automation in production and logistics. However, networking also stands for a form of communication that is already well-established in society. Smartphones, tablets and social networks have created interfaces between people and technology that can be operated intuitively. At the Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics, the science and business communities are now developing technological innovations together for a socially networked industry, the Social Networked Industry. The Innovationlab is special because logisticians and sociologists are working together on these innovations – for the benefit of people in the socially networked industry.


How will hybrid services change logistics and production?
How can we design responsible ways for people and technology to interact?
Which prospects can digitation provide for improved working conditions?
How can people and technology learn together?

In two halls with ultra-modern equipment – one research centre and one application centre – experiments, field research and market-oriented developments are carried out, the results of which are transferred as innovations to industry.

Use cases in the five areas of trade, production logistics, transport, maintenance and virtual training ensure that these innovations can be turned into hybrid services.

02 Partners

Project partners for the Innovationlab include Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dortmund, Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM in Paderborn and TU Dortmund University with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Research Field of Industry and Labour Research.

Numerous network partners are also involved in research work – including several other Fraunhofer Institutes and Initiatives, universities and network partners like the Future Work Lab from Stuttgart, Spitzencluster it´s OWL (leading edge cluster), EffizienzCluster Logistik e.V and the Industrial Data Space Association. Social partners such as the trade union IG Metall and the German Trade Union Confederation DGB and other relevant organisations, societies and associations also play a significant role in the success of Innovationlab.

The Network is pleased to welcome more partners. If you would like to take part in the Innovationlab, please send us an email to info@innovationlab-logistics.com.

03 Location

The location of Dortmund, with its excellent research infrastructure in the field of logistics was clearly an excellent place to establish the Innovationlab Hybrid Services: In recent years, Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML had already initiated and implemented numerous large initiatives and projects that pool essential skills in the area of logistics and digitization.

These include the EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr, LogistikCampus Dortmund, Digital in NRW – The Kompetenzzentrum für den Mittelstand (SME 4.0 Enabling Center “Digital in NRW”), Leistungszentrum Logistik and IT (National Centre of Excellence for Logistics and IT) and Digital Hub Logistics.

The innovative concepts and results of the Innovationlab are expected to give new momentum to the location of Dortmund and help it to make it a flagship for the networked industry, both nationally and internationally.