Game Changer Award


Winners 2016

"Category Customer Experience"

FlixBus_Logo_165x110 Since the liberalization of the coach travel market in 2013, FlixBus has managed to revolutionize the market for long-distance travel in Germany and Europe by intergrating medium-sized coach companies. The introduction of a digital model and rapid expansion of a trans-European coach network demonstrate how a traditional business can be radically transformed. The customer-friendly reservations platform, the mobile app and the availabilty of Wi-Fi in all buses also serve to enhance the positive customer experience.

"Category Product & Service Innovation"

SAP_2011_logo_165_83 At SAP, digitalization triggered the transformation from a supplier of classic software solutions into a cloud company powered by SAP HANA. By developing this database platform and focusing on the cloud, SAP has successfully adapted its business model to the digital age, offering companies a new dimension of agility and flexibility. With this disruptive step, SAP is supporting its customers on their path into the digital future.

"Category Operations of the Future"

Infineon-Logo_165_83 Infineon is a trendsetter in the application of networked production systems for highly-automated production. Moreover, Infineon consistently integrates its facilities and testing centers into a global virtual production network to enable swift, flexible and efficient production while ensuring the best use of resources. With Smart Manufacturing, Infineon is already demonstrating what is possible through Industry 4.0, offering its customers cutting edge solutions.

Winners 2015

"Category Incumbents"

BMW-Logo Back in 2000, the technological leader among the big automobile manufacturers was the first to enable in-vehicle access to the Internet and e-mails, together with user-friendly control through its iDrive. The Munich-based company is a leading player in this area to this day. BMW is also involved in shaping the megatrend of progressive driver assistance systems. The new BMW 5 Series that will be launched in 2017 is to be a partially self-driving passenger car.

"Category Focused Players"

Axel-Springer-Logo The media company has employed a consistent strategy to use the digitalization strategy to its advantage and has developed it into the new element of its core business. By radically reorganizing its business, Axel Springer made a bet on the digitalization – and won. This reinvention of the business model as well as the establishment of paid online content is setting an example in the sector.

"Category Challengers"

EOS-Logo The technology and market leader in the field of 3D printing has been putting established production methods to the test since 1989, and has destabilized large parts of the traditional industry supply chain. By offering indisputable advantages to customers, e.g. lower costs, greater flexibility, and reduced complexity, EOS is setting the tone for a technology that is striving toward revolutionary influence on a multi-billion dollar industry.

Award 2017

The Game Changer Award, initiated by Bain & Company and manager magazin, will be awarded for the third time.

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, companies who have successfully implemented disruptive business models and thus changed the rules of the game for their organization or their industry will be honored in Berlin. Last year’s award recipients are FlixBus, SAP and Infineon Technologies AG. In 2015 BMW AG, Axel Springer SE and EOS GmbH won the award in the categories Incumbents, Focused Players and Challengers.

In 2017 companies who serve as role models for the digital era will again be honored in three categories:

  • Customer Experience, for best practice in shaping customer experience
  • Product & Service Innovation, for the introduction of stunning new products or services
  • Operations of the Future, for implementing innovative approaches in the back office or in manufacturing

This year’s award winners will be evaluated based on extensive analysis, due diligence and the input of a top-ranking jury. The awards will be presented at an exclusive gala event. The attendance is solely reserved for company directors, general managers and founders.

Find a few impressions of last year's Game Changer Award in our gallery.

Award 2016

In 2016, the Game Changer Award ceremony was once again held in front of an exclusive audience. Following detailed due diligence and an assessment by a top-class jury, the award was presented to companies that can serve as role models in the digital age.

Bain & Company and manager magazin presented the award to this year's Game Changers at an exclusive gala event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at the "Gasometer" in Berlin. The winners were companies that have made disruptive change a central element of their business model.

Prizes were awarded in three categories:

  • Customer Experience, for the exemplary creation of customer experience
  • Product & Service Innovation, for the introduction of groundbreaking product and service innovations
  • Operations of the Future, for the implementation of innovative production and back office solutions

The companies were evaluated in terms of how boldly they were approaching digitalization and how this was accounted for in their business strategy. This evaluation was based on the results of detailed due diligence and an assessment by a top-class jury.

More facts about the due diligence:

  • Analysis of over 20,000 publicly traded, privately held and venture capital funded companies, which are based in Germany and pass minimum annual sales or minimum funding thresholds.
  • Selection of 15 finalists, based on expert assessments & market information, that have made digitalization a central part of their corporate strategy, are outperforming competition and act as good corporate citizens.
  • Grouping of the 15 finalists into three categories Customer Experience, Product/Service Innovation and Operations of the Future – selection of a laureate in each category by high-profile Game Changer Award Jury.


For more infomation about Bain's due diligence approach, please click here.
Award 2015

The idea and method behind the 2015 Game Changer Award

Disruptive business models change entire industries. The Game Changer Award 2015 presented by Bain & Company and manager magazin honored for the first time companies that redefine the rules of the game for their sector.

In 2015, three companies were selected as the winners in the following categories:

  • Incumbents, large-scale enterprises
  • Focused Players, established companies and industry leaders, and
  • Challengers, smaller companies with an innovative digital business character

The finalists were selected on the basis of a structured four-stage method: First, a longlist was drawn up on the basis of the population of all companies in Germany and according to criteria such as revenue, venture capital, and innovation potential. The list included 100 Incumbents, 150 Focused Players, and 78 Challengers.

As financial success is also a fundamental criterion for the award, the second step involved analyzing the companies' financial data. For the Challengers, mentions in the media were drawn on as an additional or alternative parameter for economic success. The Bain consultants and external international experts then assessed the "digital relevance" of the candidates. Individual sectors, such as energy supply, were not included here. Important aspects of the assessment included the adaptation of products, distribution channels, or the business structure to the digitalization. For the Challengers, the extent to which the business model is actually disruptive, i.e. whether it is new, unique, and has a great influence on customers and competitors, was also analyzed.

At the end of this process, there were five finalists in each category:

  • BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom, SAP and Siemens in Incumbents
  • Axel Springer, CEWE, Festo, Kuka and ProSiebenSat.1 in Focused Players
  • Check24, EOS, Isra Vision, Soundcloud and Zalando in Challengers

These companies were subjected to another detailed test: How successful was their reaction to the digitalization? How strong is their influence on their industry and competitors? For the Challengers: What added value do they really offer to customers? How sustainable and profitable is their growth?