“Transparency and participation are the key to being innovative”: our approach to streamlining smec’s innovation process


The idea behind our innovation process

At smec’s July MeetUp – the MeetUp is a meeting held for all employees every six weeks where everything company-related is discussed – our Innovation Manager Georg Hofstadler presented our new approach to streamlining smec’s innovation process. In order to develop and ship new software features and products on a regular basis, we also need a more collaborative approach to submitting and evaluating ideas.

Before defining a new innovation that actually has the potential to be pursued, you need ideas first – and out of approximately 70 ideas, there is only one that meets the demands of a marketable innovation. So ideally you have access to a pool of ideas to which everyone in the company can submit their suggestions, from which you can then pick the most feasible ones. These selected ideas will transform creations into actual inventions and if these inventions meet the clients’ needs, we end up with innovations. These innovations are necessary to constantly push our company forward in our effort to deliver excellent products and services.

Georg Hofstadler, Innovation Manager at smec
Georg Hofstadler in front of the innovation wall

Our new approach: Innovate to be innovative

We have come to the conclusion that there is still room for improvement regarding our idea submission process as well as communicating what happens next with everyone’s submissions. So a new modus operandi was established: 

  • Inception of the ideas

The first step is to focus on transparency and simplicity. If we are able to keep the hurdles to submit new ideas low, more participants will join the innovation process. To reach excellence in the innovation department, we need to be always open to new ideas, being open about processes and constantly questioning our approach.

  • Improve the ideas

Once a new idea meets the bar to be feasible, further analysis will be done on our part and a prototype suitable for the market will be built to test this new application in a live environment.

  • Iterate on the product

Interested clients will then be invited to join in the live testing to get a feeling of how the new feature or product performs and to gain valuable data to further improve the innovation.

The so-called Wall of Innovation acts as a reference point for this process. Here, Georg hosts an innovation talk about current ideas and visions once a week – every employee is welcome to join. Every single smecie has the option to communicate their ideas via our internal communication tools or by simply sharing them with Georg at our weekly innovation talks. Additionally, every step of the new process is visible on our internal communication channels. This gives every employee the opportunity to be up-to-date and feel more involved.

Evolve constantly to meet the demands of a highly agile market environment

In the long run, our goal is to be an innovation benchmark by being open-minded and constantly evolving to meet the demands of a highly agile market environment. Streamlining our innovation process is key in this endeavor. For transparency, every stage will be published and can be discussed in our new weekly innovation talks. Our new approach to streamline smec’s innovation process is now in place and the different channels provide easier access to participation. Customers can actively partake for iterating on our innovations to meet market expectations. For these clients, this means firsthand early access to cutting-edge technologies.

smecies at our weekly innovation talk
The weekly innovation talk

The more people here at smec are involved, the better we can innovate because innovation isn’t the job of only one person. Let’s make smec an innovation benchmark together.