What is an innovative contrary idea

Growth without innovation is no longer possible, especially in times of subdued economic growth. Due to the rapid technological progress and digitization in all industries, everything that was new yesterday will appear out of date tomorrow.

Ideas are the raw material for innovation. But how do we find the right ideas from which innovative products with the corresponding market potential can be developed in order to create added value for our customers and at the same time secure the competitiveness of the company in the long term?

It is now widely known that ideas cannot be found in central development departments alone. In our globalized world, new approaches to brainstorming are needed in order to remain competitive. Givers of ideas for new products often act at the interfaces to the customer, whether in direct contact or in the back office. Often also in completely contrary company areas and functions that bring a completely new perspective on problem solving or brainstorming through an unbiased approach. Various external sources, such as customers or suppliers, can also be tapped to find new approaches. In the open innovation approach, search queries for ideas are made to partially worldwide communities in which up to several hundred thousand users from different industries are registered to act as idea generators. There is prize money for the best ideas, the amount of which depends on the complexity of the question. There are now numerous open innovation platforms. The largest Austrian platform Neurovation was founded in 2007 and has set itself the goal of bringing together idea seekers and idea generators through virtual environments and creative tools. Innovation, idea and knowledge management are linked with neurosciences, usability design and state-of-the-art IT.

Frank Piller, professor at the University of Aachen and open innovation expert, conducts studies on "Open Innovation Readiness". Pillar believes that open innovation will take another 10 years to become a matter of course across all sectors and industries. Companies often act too sluggishly, cautiously and biased. The risk of failure is often rated higher than the possibility of opening up a chance of the century.

As early as 2006, the American Jeff Howe described the phenomenon of activating crowds using Internet technologies in his article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing". The bundling and networking of knowledge can also function as a driver of innovation in companies, not just on the open web. The basis for this is formed by informal networks in organizations that are made visible and promoted using web-based idea management tools. In addition, Dr. Reinhard Willfort, managing director and mastermind of ISN - Innovation Service Network and Neurovation GmbH: "These networks are available in all companies and work particularly well in the development of ideas because they operate without hierarchies, without pressure and solution-driven and network the knowledge elements of different people."

The TÜV AUSTRIA Group has also broken with its previous innovation logic in order to increase its ability to innovate above the market average in a time of rapid international expansion paired with rapid technological progress. Among other things, the collaboration with research and science is greatly increased, and you see yourself as a technology companion, says Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO of the TÜV AUSTRIA Group. New technologies are actively supported, because only if they are safe, controllable and environmentally friendly will they be accepted by the economy and society. "From this, we consistently derive solutions with which we can support our customers even better in meeting their quality and safety requirements in a sustainable and economical manner. This is how we create added value for our customers," continues Haas.

A particular challenge in the innovation process, however, is the broad and globally fragmented set-up of the group of companies. In the past, we held ideas workshops across the subsidiaries, but one round took so long that the subsequent networking was sometimes out of date. In the meantime, customer priorities and requirements had changed drastically in some cases. In order not only to master this development, but to use the globally distributed intelligence of the group of companies as a potential, we initiated the "innovatüv" ideas platform. This is our new innovation turbo, "innovatüv" enables us to use a crowd-sourcing approach to network the entire TÜV AUSTRIA group into a community of ideas.

Innovatüv not only uses the technologies of the Neurovation platform, but also their expertise in brain research: Gamification elements are used, i.e. the integration of game-typical elements, which significantly increases the motivation of the participants. In addition to the TÜV AUSTRIA Group, only a manageable number of companies have implemented similar concepts so far. But the pioneering role is paying off. Even the first ideas competition with innovatüv was a complete success. More than half of all employees of the TÜV AUSTRIA Group actively participated, almost 400 ideas were posted and numerous discussion groups were formed across the continents in which the ideas were jointly developed further on a global basis. Ideas were sought to make the company's processes even more efficient, but the focus was on new product ideas.

In the current global competition, the internationally oriented company is busy scouting relevant trends. From this, possible future fields of activity and innovation focus should be derived.

The customers of TÜV AUSTRIA can look forward to a multitude of innovative solutions.