Think Big start Small

Shorter, faster, more efficient with the “Return on Engineering” approach

Grand visions are driven by large expenditures, high budgets and long production times. If you want to get ahead, you have to allow for more work, more money and more time. A product can only be successful if it is perfect. Nobody can and should afford mistakes.

This attitude has become particularly widespread in German industry and society. The consequence: Technological innovations come to a standstill. Production processes are stuck. Most people play it safe instead of taking risks.



The R-word

Risks have a bad reputation. Deutsche denken zuerst an Szenarien, die den Erfolg behindern könnten. Minimizing risks is often equated with minimizing the potential for failure.

At the same time, the Americans in particular show us how to handle risks with a good portion of optimism and a certain spirit of discovery. Tesla’s success is based on the risky vision of defying the powerful automobile market and electrifying motorized mobility. At the beginning this seemed just as foolhardy as it seemed risky.

The strategy is simple: make mistakes early on and minimize future, cost-intensive error potentials.

Still, for a long time the future for Tesla was very uncertain. Stocks fell as fast as they rose. But the loyalty has paid off. Today, the company is worth more than ever before and is far ahead of most of its competitors.






The core idea behind “Return on Engineering” is to radically reduce the expenditure required to bring a product to market. Yet never losing sight of the value for the customer. New products usually consume vast amounts of resources and time. Time and time again, planning and the will to perfectionism prove to be the biggest opponents of progress. Unused potential usually lurks where nobody dares to look.

By entering the market at an early stage, it is possible to react specifically and concretely to the wishes of the customers, rather than assuming potential customer wishes at the beginning of a development, as has been the case up to now. Learn more about our agile approach now

In short, development on the market instead of in the production halls promotes innovation.





“It is possible to get a product to the market,
even in an extremely short amount of time and with
a fraction of the conventional investment!”

– Prof. Achim Kampker




Fail early, fast and cost-effective

Taking the wrong decisions, making mistakes, interrupting progress. Doesn’t quite sound like success? IT DOES, with the “Return on Engineering”, we count on making mistakes as early as possible. At a time when the investment is still low, mistakes can be corrected and there is time to learn from these errors. Because the fact is, everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and even when everything has been thought of, the line between success and failure is sometimes not in our own hands.





 “It’s not making mistakes that slows progress.
It’s holding on to the belief that
making mistakes slows progress.”

– Prof. Achim Kampker






In the long run – simply – better – make it

Four things. No more, no less. “Return on Engineering” means:

  • Increasing efficiency in the industrialization process for a long-term competitive advantage
  • Radical reduction of industrialization efforts while increasing customer value
  • 9 solution principles (s. Think Big start Small) detail the approach to maximise RoE
  • All visions are in vain without one – MAKE IT


About PEM Motion

PEM Aachen GmbH (PEM Motion since 2019) was founded in 2014 as part of the StreetScooter development as a spin-off of the chair for production technology for e-mobility components by Prof. Achim Kampker at RWTH Aachen University (PEM) with the aim of making knowledge accessible to other companies and thus to contribute to the mobility and energy transition. From a small team of innovatively thinking engineers, a company with over 90 employees has emerged, which today works worldwide for automobile manufacturers, mobility providers, suppliers and start-ups.


Further information under:


and in the book “Think Big start Small”. Available for free