Product Development and Innovation Summit – Berlin 28-29th May 2019

Speed Networking session

Qepler invited 15 speakers to present their experience with Product development and Innovation in various industries. Companies influencing today’s market landscape were present: Qualcomm, Henkel, Clariant, Siemens, Orange, Vodafone, Konica Minolta with people of fine quality including Vice-Presidents in engineering and Heads of Innovation departments.

The two days of the conference were articulated around three themes: 1. Product and process innovation 2. Customer-centricity and product experience 3. Digital and Technological transformation

Chairman introduction – Why ? Passionate stories
Golden circle – Simon Sinek

As a chairman, I launched the 2 days by questioning what is the definition of the Innovation. Following Simon Sinek golden circle, “People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it”. I proposed to discover the story of the speakers in the definition of a collective story which would define Innovation. According to Carmine Gallo, author the book of Talk like TED, stories have to be told with passion. It is then the passions of 15 participants that we were about to discover.

VP Engineering Qualcomm – Dr Eng. Grzegorz Ombach

Dr Grzegorz Ombach opened the first speech presenting the invention of wireless chargers for phone and how it lead to inventing wireless charger for cars. He explained how he managed the innovation teams in the creation of an international think tank. In particular, he highlighted the challenges and extreme benefits of mixing Cultures in an innovation team.


Thomas Förster, Corporate Vice-President of R&D Beauty Care at Henkel

Thomas Förster, Corporate Vice-President of R&D Beauty Care at Henkel, explained to the audience the necessity of sustainability in the product development. Product carbon footprint reduction at Henkel includes a 360 degrees approach to deliver an impact. 90% of the carbon footprint of a product is associated with the end user, Henkel is addressing directly the end user to reduce his footprint, for instance deploying Plastic Bank.

Lucia Chierchia, Managing Partner @Gellify

Lucia Chierchia, a Managing partner at Gellify, explained what is the importance of creating a trusted network of business partners to implement Open Innovation. Lucia presented some of the means of implementation of the Innovation put in place at Gellify to transform liquid ideas into solid products.

Asli Salmaz-Kaiser, VP R&D Innovation Tüv-Süd

Asli Solmaz-Kaiser enlightened the audience with 5 tips to success: 1. Design thinking 2. Focus on numbers 3. Ecosystem 4. Team Cooperation 5.Continuous Improvement. She illustrated her point with the success story of Ideo, the think tank responsible for a large number of innovations we are familiar using.

Richard Burton, Innovation and Transformation Consultant

Richard Burton, Innovation and Transformation consultant at Inovatia. Richard illustrated some of the innovation strategy successes and failures. Blackberry and Sony examples illustrated how customer advice in selecting innovation can be overrated. He concluded by presenting the “Polymath”, the ideal profile of the innovator that large companies need to find to secure their future in innovation.

Dr Stefan Schaper, head of Lean Innovation, Schaper Tech

Dr Stefan Schaper introduced TRIZ a structured alternative to Design Thinking. TRIZ was invented by the Russian Genrich Altshuller in 1946, nothing less than the ”
theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks”. TRIZ contains technics for innovators to trim problems, combine solutions, develop visions, and defined the next generations of products.

Dr Filippo Larceri, Global Implementation leader, Clariant Excellence

Dr Filippo Larceri presented the magic blend leading to Innovation in 3 dimensions (1. Business configuration 2, Product Perfection 3. Customer Experience) and 3 levels of intensity (1. Continuous Improvement 2. Evolution 3. Breakthrough). He pictured the profile of the excellence leader: a polyglot with broad horizons and unusual experience, multi-skilled, speaking each business language.

Alain Mavon, Senior Director of Science and Innovation, Oriflame Cosmetics

Alain Mavon explained that “similar to a parachute, the innovation works best when it’s open”. Anti-ageing cosmetics innovation are facing a growing demand not anymore to stop skin ageing but to age better. Ageing is influenced at 80% by the lifestyle of people and 20% by their genes. Introducing new cosmetics addressing lifestyle becomes necessary, this requires agility.

Rajkumar Ragupathy, Innovation manager, HarmanLifestyle Audio

Rajkumar Ragupathy, Innovation manager, HarmanLifestyle Audio enlighted the audience at the end of the first day, with a story of the impossible customer experience, following the user till inside the car to understand how he uses his sound on the trip to work. Raj explained that Innovation requires to understand the mindset and the culture of customers.

The first day was closed with a panel discussion. As a chairman, I summarised the first day ending with few drawings recording the essential learnings of the day.

The magic formula of innovation
Keys for successful innovation
Ana Esteban, Team manager customer research, Digital workplace R&D, Konica Minolta

The second day started with 2 speeches about customer-centricity. Ana Esteban is Team manager customer research, Digital workplace R&D at Konica Minolta. She explained how her team is collecting feedback of customers on an online platform rather than asking customers what they want. She explained the components of the interaction with the customer: 1. blogs and diary 2. forum 3. surveys 4. Creative sets (life collage inspired from journaling) 5. interactive playful tools using gamification. She explained how she convinced the business departments to move from a quantitative evaluation to a qualitative approach based on value creation.

Adi Chhabra, Head of Product Innovation, Vodafone

Adi Chhabra, Head of Product Innovation at Vodafone in the UK, enlightened the audience with a futuristic view of innovation. he explained that the future is about reducing the number of interactions. From the currently limited intelligence of the chatbots, he spined-off with the introduction of object recognition and Generated Adverse networks, in a baffling demonstration of future capabilities of computers. For Adi, the future is in the web 3.0: Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, 3D printers, semantic web and decentralised with blockchain.


Nicolas Bry, Orange Studio COO, Orange

Nicolas Bry, Orange Studio COO, opened the last block of the conference: Digital and technological transformation. He presented the open innovation initiative. Orange Studio creates interfaces and a framework for intrapreneurs. Its hackathons and crowd-sourcing platform Imagine at Orange are gathering 22.000 users. With Oranges Partners, Orange is creating innovation initiatives with the external partnership. Orange redefined the way Salomon users are perceiving the sports brand to refocus on social media allowing to share your sports experience with friends.


Joerg Hassmann, Head of Innovation and Portfolio Management, Siemens

Joerg Hassmann, Head of Innovation and Portfolio Management, Siemens, explained the latest trend in engine innovation (1.service offer 2. digital twins 3. Industry Apps 4. Connectivity 5. Simulation 6. Configuration ). He described how his team is reaching innovation in their “war room of war room” ( OoO, Obeya of Obeya, in Japanese). An Obeya is a control room where all the ideas are connected physically speaking on wall boards and giant canvas.

Jord Rengerve, Agile Coach, PeopleBlendIT

The day ended with the 2 last presentations: I presented Agile Story mapping, a tool and technic to reconcile the business and the development by using a single language and support for the conversation. This closed the loop of the questioning of the introduction of the first day about what is Innovation and the “Why?”. The Why is the conversation we need to build 360 degrees with customers, business and development teams.


Michal Dunaj, R&D director EU research Operations, Telekom Innovation Laboratories

Michal Dunaj, R&D director EU research Operations,
T-Labs – Telekom Innovation Laboratories, reflected on the topic of creativity in Innovation. He related the project T-Labs is delivering to support Magenta to shape the future using “Extreme Exploration”, the research of unconventional ideas, using de-focusing, bi-association, error and art to enable creativity.

Thailand and Belgium partner for an AGILE workshop

3 coaches band together to invite you in a memorable AGILE workshop event.

Dahm M. Hongchai

Mongkol Hongchai, Corentine Nile and Jord Rolland de Rengerve, 3 international Agile coaches have gathered their best pieces of Agile coach workshop delivered around the world to invite you in a unique experience.

Corentin Nile

Visit us at this event to discover Agile practices from all the over the world. Discover how teams from all over the world came with a unique knowledge.

We want to share this unique moment with you, come with your own unique experience and share it during an evening of workshop, 12th June 2019.

Communication based on Personality workshop – 1st March 2019

The workshop was based on a serious game, the MeWe cards, published by Ocadee. In a duo, you select 13 words best picturing your personality to introduce yourself to the person you banded with. As a second step, you will shortlist only 7 cards and pitch yourself in 30 seconds to the entire audience.

The workshop proposed to discover your personality style, learn to recognise others’ profiles and get introduced to how to adapt your communication to the personality of others.

The MeWe cards are categorising the personalities in 4 groups: Mouse, Bull, Eagle and Bear. Each type has typical behaviour, motivations and a communication style. Many other communication models are existing: Dope, Disc, Meyers-Briggs, Strength finder, PCM, that may help you to dig further. MeWe presents the benefit of using a serious game to kick-start the learning.

Workshop on the run

After the discovery of your own dominant animal, comes the insights of other personality styles in the group. The attendees gather by dominant animal and brainstorm about the “efficient way to communicate with them”. Each group presents the conclusion of their brainstorming. The participants get insights on how to adapt their communication mode to build an efficient message delivery to each specific animal.

At the end of the workshop, the participants left with new tools to recognise personalities in their environment and facilitate their every day’s communication. The serious game fosters the learning in a playful way and guarantees that you learn by practising.

Kudo wall

A retrospective meeting is helpful to learn from the pitfalls and hick-ups of the past. It enables your team to adapt its processes to changes and new paradigms. Building upon team process is useful but a solid tool without happy workers is useless.

We had a tough project for the team stability and well being last year. In our retrospective, it appeared that the most potent force of the team is the cohesion. The team praised the help that everybody receives from other team members. As a team leader, I am grateful for what the team achieved. But my strongest satisfaction is to see that despite the challenges the team member continued to help and support each other.

The kudo wall

I wanted to show them how much they rely on each other to succeed. I wanted to thanks them. I dug into Management 3.0 for advice. Management 3.0 advice that appraisal is better received when they are not coming from the hierarchy but colleagues. Peers want to genuinely wanting to reward the help they received from other colleagues.

Management 3.0 recommends to follow 6 rules:
1 — Don’t promise rewards in advance;
2 — Keep anticipated rewards small;
3 — Reward continuously, not once;
4 — Reward publicly, not privately;
5 — Reward behavior, not outcome;
6 — Reward peers, not subordinates;

Following these recommendations, I used a whiteboard to create a wall of fame presenting the names of all the team members (rule 4). I gave to each team member 2 yellow sticky notes (rule 6). I asked them to vote for there peer to reward some help they received or an attitude they appreciated (rule 5). The team members were allowed to vote secretly if they wanted, they had several days to drop there vote without being seen.

I didn’t inform them what would be the reward (rule 1). I waited for all the yellow sticky notes to be posted on the wall. I purchase a small token of appreciation, a small voucher card (rule 2) for a local mall.

When all the team members were available, I called everyone to deliver the token of appreciation, I delivered the gift card in the name of the team, not in my name. I explained that the Kudo wall will be reopened in some weeks but keeping it unplanned (rule 3).

Offering a token of appreciation in the name of the team.

A great collaborative experience on 7th Dec 2018

A collaborative experience

On Friday 7th December 2018, PeopleBlendIT organized a collaborative workshop. During the workshop, the guests discovered the board game “Kitchen Rush”.

Each player has 2 hour glasses to perform actions

Each player has 2 house glass token available to execute actions. Before the sand of the token is expired, the player can’t use it for a new action. This creates a sense of the time running. Being pressed by the time the players need to support each other to unlock their next move while the sand flows. The time is counted for each round of service. 4 minutes to serve as much customer meal orders as possible. The team has to pay attention not to take any order which will not be compleated.

Running the game

Between each round, the players elaborate strategies to increase the number of dishes served. During the first round, you can observe that players are focusing on delivering by themselves and are not helping each other so much, resulting in orders which are not delivered. Moving on with additional rounds, new ways of working are appearing. Strategies like having a Kitchen chef, somebody specialised in providing supply have demonstrated good results.

The evening was not only fake food, Aurore, the cook of Alliance Merode offered to the players her famous Korean vegan meal: ” Bibimbap”. The guest of PeopleBlendIT also enjoyed a nice selection of beers curated by the owners of the place. The dinner was also a great occasion for networking.

During the second game, the two tables started a competition to get as many Michelin stars as possible. Each was running a different restaurant. Between the two games, they confronted their strategies to select the most successful one, and elaborated even more advanced strategies before starting the second game. The players experienced the power of retrospectives of AGILE project management.

The players voted for the best team player

The workshop was organised in collaboration with Geek Attitude Games (GAG). In the end of the second game, the players voted for the best team player. GAG offered some gift for the best team player.

The best team player received the game “Pocket Ops” and an extension for Kitchen Rush, both edited by Geek Attitude Games.

GAG also edits Dicium, a box containing four games based on the same core mechaniscs. It might be one of the next game experience offered by PeopleBlendIT during a workshop.