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.

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