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The first edition of the Ericpol Innovation Pathway workshop meeting has just ended. From January 13th to 15th, representatives from several dozen Polish companies, together with experts invited from Ericsson, UPC, Deutsche Telekom, and IDEO discussed the need for innovation in Polish business. The event took place in the Kalatówki Mountain Hotel in Zakopane.
The purpose of the event was to bring together innovative Polish companies, the scientific milieu and social institutions. During individual workshop sessions, the following issues were discussed: ideas, money, promotion, patents, problems, R&D operations, teamwork, process and chance. Patronage over the event was taken by the Polish Ministry of Economy. Knowledge and experience were shared by the guests invited from the most innovative companies and holdings from Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the USA. The workshop was attended by more than fifty Polish managers willing to learn how to become competitive in the international market by introducing new and interesting products and solutions. Representatives from scientific institutions, local governments and technology parks also took part in the meeting.
‘In order to catch up with, or perhaps even outrun the rest of the world, we cannot stay focused on what the others are doing and how they are doing it. We must create our own value and thus become an attractive product in the global market. The only means to reaching this end is to encourage people to become more innovative’, said Jan Smela, Executive President of Ericpol Telecom.
People know exactly what they need. All we have to do is watch and listen to them, argued Doug Solomon, Chief Technology Officer at IDEO. ‘Go out and observe the people. Those who create products never go out to the Customers, only the salespeople do it. As a result, designers have no idea who they are actually designing for. They end up designing for themselves. We need to go out’, he continued.
An interesting point of view with respect to innovation in Sweden was presented by Tomas Qvist, Vice President of Ericsson. According to him, even though technological education in his country is not very popular, Swedish companies continue to occupy top positions on global lists when it comes to innovation. During his speech, Mr Qvist told the audience about Ericsson’s experience in generating the right approach towards innovation.
‘Innovation should always provide value. It does not have to be a new product, it may be a new process, or an improvement, he stated. According to Qvist, the key aspect of the innovation process is the creation of the right atmosphere within the organization: All employees should feel that they have actual influence on the course of events and know that the work they do is valuable to their company. Another important aspect is the freedom which comes from the leaders’ trust in their teams – a rigid, hierarchical structure does not foster innovative solutions. The third aspect is motivation. Leaders who assume that their teams are motivated by the same things which motivate them are simply wrong. Finally, there is also the issue of supporting new ideas, readiness to take risk and understanding for diversity. Innovation is generated when diversity of thought comes easily’, he highlighted.
May innovation be with you!
The Ericpol Innovation Pathway business workshop was the first event of the entire series of workshops planned by Ericpol. The next meeting will be held next year. In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all the companies, organizations and associations who participated in this year’s workshop. Thank you very much for your involvement in the search for innovation.