I travel to events very often. Automation, electrical industry, mechanical and plant engineering. Innovation is everywhere, and listening to the speeches of CEOs and marketing managers, the words innovation, transformation, and digitization come at least 10x in 15 minutes. The tip of a pencil breaks off when you count.

But often the innovative products are just newer versions of the previous solutions. A little better, more efficient or with a few new features. But new is not synonymous with innovation. Kodak had been able to vaporize another layer of silver on the film carrier for more brilliant images. That was new, but not innovative – because, in the meantime, digital cameras were on the rise. Read the sad story of Kodak here.

The camera industry has been very creative so far. Especially those manufacturers from Japan. Suitable products for the mass market, and always the customer’s wish in mind. From heavy SLRs to light mirrorless compact cameras, you can even screw your old lenses on them. Innovative or new? Smartphone manufacturers manage to accommodate more and more megapixels on tiny chips and thus offer better cameras. Innovative or rather the next technical evolutionary stage?

Do you know the Light L16 Camera? This camera has several – namely 16 – smartphone lenses with focal lengths of 35 – 150 mm. Software decides which combinations of the lenses are needed for the right frame and the required depth of focus. Say: innovation or maybe even revolutionary? Still, the camera is quite clunky and heavy. But a fraction of that compared to the many heavy lenses of conventional systems. And the smartphone manufacturers have already jumped on the train with multiple lenses. In a few years, the L16 will probably be implemented in every phone. And the camera manufacturers? Do we still need heavy glasses in the future?

The inflationary use of the term innovation is only funny at a first glance. But you look for example, on the list of global unicorns (the most successful startup companies in the world), there are three Chinese companies in the top 15. Switzerland is in 25th place, Austria and Germany are no longer among the top 100. China was just over a decade ago, a third world state, with less than 25% of US GDP.

Innovation represents the major, if not the decisive chance of survival for the industrialized countries of the D-A-CH region in global competition. And that does not just apply to hip startups. This is especially true for established companies. Innovation should not become a buzzword. Every organization needs an existing and lived culture of innovation, which includes all functions, brings in lateral thinkers of the company, focuses on the customer, takes him on the journey and treats subcontractors as partners. Move your business out of the feel-good trap, create space for rule-breakers – to harness trends from the future for your future in the present. I would like to explain to you how this can work for you: jens.werner@businessexcellence.eu | +41 79 812 5788 | +49 1578 127 8703

Picture source: https://light.co/camera

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