Which languages do you speak?
I am fluent in English, my primary working language, and German. I also know French and Spanish but had a lack of practice in recent years. Furthermore, I have a good understanding of Swiss German.
What is innovation?
An innovation is a solution of any type that solves a problem or enriches people's lives. It has to be available in reality and often comes in the form of a novel product, service, or process.
Regarding the judgment, whether something is an innovation or not, I refer to "Creativity" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2009) and what he called the "field of experts," which in the business world are customers and users. They are the only relevant group to decide on what is considered as an innovation.
Why plays technology a key role in many innovations?
We live in an era of technology. In the 20th century, we saw enormous progress in many areas such as medical and pharmaceutical technologies, information and communications technologies, and many forms of transportation technologies, to name just a few examples.
The rapid technological development seems to continue and even accelerate in the 21st century. Today, various types of technologies accompany billions of people day by day through their professional and private lives.
Innovation means change. Technology has been one of the most significant drivers of change in our societies. It will probably continue for the foreseeable future.
Which methods and tools do you use to support people?
I select the rights methods and tools from a variety of options that cover the entire spectrum from strategic aspects, through creating initial ideas, the prototyping, development, commercialization, and launch of innovations. Therefore I use Blue Ocean Strategy, Business Model Canvas, Lean Startup, and Design Thinking, as well as methods I developed myself like the Visually Inspired Creativity Technique. Furthermore, I provide methods and tools to foster creativity and particularly the creation of ideas.
What are further competences of yours?
I have always had a keen interest in a broad range of topics covering entrepreneurship, technology, and natural sciences. One of my strengths is an almost innate understanding of many subjects in the fields of technology and natural sciences. In combination with my communications and analytical skills, it enabled me to solve complex problems for clients. Specific problem solving and analytical methods also belong to my competencies.
Furthermore, I gained experience in a range of industries: automotive, software, logistics, consumer goods, chemical, solar, coating, and vacuum technology, as well as medical and biotechnology.
Why do you emphasize the mindset for innovation?
Ideas have always come naturally to me, and I always felt motivated to work on new things. Through my personal development from various positions in a corporate career to becoming an entrepreneur, I observed the differences in my creativity and my innovation activities. The results of the research by Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen (2011) in "The Innovator's DNA" provided me with a solid base and motivation to dive into the topic of mindset for innovation. I learned a lot, developed my approaches, and tested them in practice. Based on my insights, my creativity and innovation capacity increased by orders of magnitudes. I am convinced that the human mindset provides by far the most significant leverage to enhance innovation.
How do you get so many ideas?
The answer is simple and complicated at the same time: The key is my mindset!
Have you created innovations yourself?
Yes, for instants, in one case in Information Technology, I had novel ideas, went together with software specialists through the development steps of a new solution, and sold the resulting innovation to customers.
Aside from developing innovations, I also contributed in many ways to the innovation efforts of others. I inspire people so that they gain ideas that lead to innovations. Often, I get involved in providing orientation in complex situations and in solving severe problems that could stop or, in fact, already stopped a project.
How have you become an innovator?
In my understanding, innovators combine a mindset and actions leading to innovation. Ideas will remain ideas without taking action. I have always been creative and interested in finding new solutions and improving our world. The moment of taking action is crucial.
Can I become an innovator myself?
Yes, I believe that everybody can become an innovator. People have different interests and talents, but everybody willing to think about improvements and to take action can innovate. The beginnings might be small. But when you take action and achieve a solution that solves a problem or enriches people's lives, then you have become an innovator.