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Innovation Explorer 2016 – Top 3 topics that got our attention

07 Mar 2016

For the second consecutive year the global innovation masterminds gathered at the Innovation Explorer 2016 to share some success and failure stories about launching new products. Check out the three topics we found to be of greatest interest.

Radoslav Gaydarski, COO at Imperia Mobile and Dobroslav Dimitrov, CEO and Co-founder at Imperia Online were among the 900 guests at the second Innovation Explorer Forum, held in Sofia Tech Park on February 25th, 2016. Lecturers, coming from key global innovators such as Google, Pixar, HPE, Intel and McCann Ericsson, shared past experience and expertise in the transition from a simple idea to a billion dollar business. The general topic of this year forum was “The short story of innovation” and the event was divided into several main panels including Creativity, Innovation Architects, Funding Innovation Community and Innovation Management. In the following article we would like to share the three presentations that we find most intriguing.



#3 Pixar – Inside innovation to empower your employees


Today the film and gaming industries rely heavily on the mix of technology and creativity where traditional animation loses popularity. Yet, it is inconveniently true that artists and tech geeks tend to speak different languages – a challenge that Pixar has been facing for years. As Philip Floetotto, Senior Software Engineer at Pixar, noted, creative minds quite often fear complex software and cumbersome processes. On the other hand, engineers need customizable workflow systems where a user-friendly interface is not that vital.  As animated films production is a time-consuming process on its own, internal miscommunication is a no-go. In order to answer the needs of all audiences, Pixar relies on a software that eliminates the “email chaos” and provides an easy information flow between employees of the company. Mr Floetotto demonstrated how the system works for artists when they have to submit their work for feedback. Easy to use with clean interface, the software is a synonym for the simplicity creative minds need.



#2 Flipps –  The competitive advantage of start-ups


Our second pick from Innovation Explorer 2016 is “Innovation in a startup context” by Kosta Jordanov, Founder & CEO at Flipps. According to him, there are three main paths to success. First, companies can gain competitive advantage from their scale. Big corporations usually rely on their vast amount of resources in order to create something novel. The second way to be the best is through monopoly – practically, you have no competitors, so whatever you do, you are the pioneer in your industry. The third option is innovation – a quite risky one, but it may prove to be a good success story.  In this context, start-ups have no other choice but to provide a novel product or service to the market. Yet, what is the advantage of start-ups over larger companies? First, new-to-the market enterprises are willing to accept more risk and tend to take failure as a learning point. In addition, the resources at stake are much smaller in comparison with bigger companies. However, start-ups, as Mr Jordanov pointed out, should evaluate the potential needs of the market very carefully and avoid postponing initial testing of hypotheses and ideas. Second, start-ups should put emphasis on quick execution of their projects, testing as many ideas as possible and learning from mistakes.



#1 Google – 6 things every business needs to know about innovation


Our top pick is a presentation given by Kim Wylie, Head of Customer Change and Transformation at Google for Work. She introduced several insights that have put Google in the top global innovators league.

In our opinion, the most intriguing part of the presentation were the 6 lessons for creating successful innovations. Rule #1, the cultural fit, a term loved by employers worldwide, is essential. A match between the philosophy of the company and the core beliefs of its employees is the most important prerequisite for idea generation. Rule #2, do not think ABOUT the user when you innovate, think LIKE the user. Always ask yourself the questions who will benefit from this and how will he or she benefit from this? In other words, start with the need, not the product. After all, product innovation is getting a bit old-school. Rule #3: Share, share, share. In case you want more ideas, do talk to your employees. Avoid keeping them in the dark. Information transparency about industry news, company projects, etc. is probably the best way to engage your workforce. Rule #4, ideas may come from everywhere - it could be your customers, management or employees. Thus, your stakeholders must be constantly inspired and engaged about what you are doing. Ms Wylie demonstrated a philosophy Google has been following since 2004 – "20% time". This concept encourages employees to devote 1/5 of their time at work for generating ideas about new products and ways to improve user experience. Does it work? Our gut tells us you have already checked Gmail out. Rule #5: If you think it is worth it, launch it. Do not make the mistake of asking yourself the question “what if”. If it fails, make sure it fails fast.  And lastly, great ideas are rarely born in the small office cubicles. If you want creativity to flourish, make sure you provide the right working environment.



Final words


In our opinion this year's edition of Innovation Explorer was more than successful. What we liked was the insights that companies shared as they were based on real projects, real experiences and real learning from real mistakes. Looking forward to Innovation Explorer 2017, we, at IMPERIA MOBILE, hope to be one of the presenters and share our knowledge in innovation.