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Innovation and collaboration to prepare your company for the future

Innovation and collaboration to prepare your company for the future

The world is changing faster than ever. Since COVID-19, office culture has shifted massively. With ChatGPT, AI has become accessible to anyone and everyone and the circular economy is changing industries.

It’s unclear what your company will look like in 10 years. But we’re certain: Innovation is the only way forward and collaboration is the key to it.

In our event, Le tout connecté 2023, we explored how to anchor innovation and collaboration in a company.

A bright future for generations to come

We’ve seen unprecedented growth in the last 60 years. Innovation and technological advancements have come farther than we could’ve ever dreamt of. Whatever problem we faced, we’ve managed to solve.

Now, we’re facing new challenges, including the rapid development of AI and disruptions of new technologies demanding companies to react quickly.

We have no doubt about it: We will solve these problems too and make it possible for our children and grandchildren to live in a world full of hope and optimism.

Collaboration is key to innovation

We need brilliant minds and capable teams to lead the way into a new future. You’ll meet some of them in this article.

Maybe you’re one of them yourself? Maybe you have an idea the world could benefit from? If you do, we invite you to collaborate.

We connect startups and SMEs focusing on industry 4.0 technologies and support them in turning their idea business model ready. We bring together experts from our network to help you find new ways of creating value for your company.

You don’t have to do it alone.

Imagining the future to act now

Imagining the future enables us to act now. We don’t know what will happen but we can envision different possibilities. We can picture a future we’d like to live in and start to create it today.

The skills we need in the future will be different than today. Every company has to explore what those skills will be and how they can be integrated before it’s too late.

Domenico ScalaPresident, Basel Area Business & Innovation

Five things every company should be doing

Imagining the future means thinking 10 years ahead. The last few months showed how quickly technological advancements are changing everything. Not thinking far enough means missing important opportunities.

You need to adopt a long-term vision:

1. Start thinking about value
Find out how to add value to your customer’s life and build your business model around that.

2. Operate sustainably
Sustainability is a must nowadays. Find out how you can integrate this demand into your product or service portfolio.

3. Be bold about your digitalization goals
Companies in Switzerland, especially SMEs are behind in digitalization. Using digital tools efficiently should be on top of your priority list.

4. Innovate incrementally, not radically
When everything around you changes so fast, you need to implement those changed incrementally to see what works and how everything fits together. You can’t turn you company upside down every time a new hype comes up.

5. Collaborate!
The most important point: Don’t try the lone wolf approach. You need to collaborate and join a business ecosystem.

Impulse: Three experts on innovation

We invited three experts on innovation to speak at this event. They presented their individual approach to innovation and collaboration in their companies and projects.

Around the world with regenerative energy

Raphaël was always a dreamer. He preferred to sit by the window at school and sulk in his thoughts instead of paying attention to the teachers. That earned him a negative reputation back then. Today, it’s his biggest asset.

To show that there are human-scale solutions for coping with climate change, Raphaël embarked on an incredible adventure: He’d build the biggest solar boat in the world and circle the planet with it.

Nobody has ever done what I attempted to do. I needed people who I knew could solve every problem thrown at them.

Raphaël DomjanEco-explorer, speaker

Raphaël didn’t come from a rich background and needed investors. With the help of some people close to him, he built the first prototype. Once a journalist wrote about it in the newspaper, he received a call from an investor, ready to finance the project.

The ship took four years to build new technologies had to be created. In Mai 2012, Raphaël and his team reached their home port, successfully concluding the first tour around the world purely powered by solar energy.

His success, Raphaël says, came down to two things: Acting on his dreams as fast as possible and finding the right people to help him.

It wasn’t certificates or technical knowledge that made him choose his team members. He wanted people who shared his vision and passion for the project.

Today, he’s still head of the PlanetSolar Foundation he created in 2007. With it, he and his team support various projects in the fields of solar power and energy efficiency.

Rahaël didn’t think about a product. He found a tangible way to present his vision and demonstrated the untapped potential of sustainable energy.

Raphaël Domjan, Le tout connecté 2023

Bringing the company together

Thierry started to change the management structure of Uditis five years ago. His goal was simple in theory: enable his employees to operate and collaborate as efficiently and happily as possible.

Studies have shown that only 14% of employees in Switzerland feel engaged at work. Something isn’t working as it should.

Thierry explored many different styles of management to fix that. Some centered around self-governance, others were more hierarchical. Some would radically change everything at the company, others would bring incremental changes.

Many companies fear technology. We need to find a way for humanity and technology to coexist, or we lose our competitive edge.

Thierry LinderDirecteur general, Uditis

He found that the most important collaboration factor within a company is to establish a team where each member plays to the strengths of the other members. Some are dreamers, some are sales people, some are empaths and some are something else again.

Each has their own qualities that should complement each other.

Having those strong teams within the company was the first step. The second step was to enable every team member to make the right decisions efficiently.

Uditis employees announce new proposals and “sell” them to each other. After a consulting and compromise phase, management is informed of the final decision. Management delegates what’s necessary to make it happen as quickly as possible.

This system plays to everyone’s strengths while making the decision-making process more efficient than ever before.

But Thierry never stopped improving the management style of his company.

He recommends everyone to keep learning and keep listening to each voice inside their team. You never know where the next major improvement comes from.

Thierry never shied away from digitalization. He uses it as a tool to make collaboration within his company easier. And early on, he figured out for himself that innovation needs to happen one step at a time.

Thierry Linder, Le tout connecté 2023

Customer-centric innovation

Laure is one of Bilanz’s Top 100 Digital Shapers. She’s at the forefront of new trends that are emerging in the finance industry.

Big tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are claiming their slices of the pie. They carry out 31% of all financial services, like payments and loans. To not fall behind, Raiffeisen has to navigate technological, experience-based and societal trends.

Customer-centric innovation emerges with a culture that enables experimentation, curiosity and continuous learning.

Laure FrankDirector Digital Business, Raiffeisen Schweiz

Laure’s most important tool to make that possible: collaborative innovation with the customer at the center.

This means developting products with the customer, instead of just for the customer.

Understanding the customer journey
It starts with understanding the needs and wants of the customer along their customer journey. Identifying problems properly is key to product innovation. The easiest way to understand your customers is by asking them and listening carefully.

Prototyping
Laure recommends to try different solutions for your customer’s pain points. Have as many people from your company as possible weigh in. You never know where the best solution will come from.

Testing with clients
In its UX Lab, Raiffeisen uses a variety of sensors to measure how users interact with their web applications. Finger movements, eye tracking and click recordings, for example, help the UX Lab to determine ease of use. Just as important as gathering data is to interview your test subjects about their experience.

Repeat and iterate
Discard quickly what didn’t work, keep what worked and implement your findings from the data you collected and interviews you conducted. If your new prototype is ready, start testing again.

Laure perfectly showed how important collaboration is. Even more so, that it isn’t limited to your own employees.

Laure Frank, Le tout connecté 2023

Innovate in the Basel Area

We’re your connection to professional resources and help you find business success: within our vibrant ecosystem we create connections to communities of thought leaders, experts and stakeholders, develop collaborative projects and accelerators and offer work spaces that support growth and innovation.

Our core message is: Be brave and take action now. Innovation through collaboration is the way forward.

Act now: Apply to join the i4Challenge

The i4Challenge program is now open for SMEs, startups, and individuals with emerging technologies that create, process, and exchange data to deliver products and services to consumers. We’re seeking innovative solutions in fields such as cloud computing, mobility, robotics, AR/VR, IoT, blockchain, quantum technology, automation, machine learning & AI, and more.

Applicants from Switzerland, Grand-Est France, and Baden-Württemberg Germany can submit prototypes, products or ideas to be evaluated by industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this chance to showcase your cutting-edge solutions and join a community of like-minded innovators. Apply now to the i4Challenge program and be part of the industrial transformation with your solution.

Let’s hear from our guests why the Basel Area is the ideal place for innovation and collaboration.

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