Most companies understand the importance of innovation, but often fall short of its execution process. Well-known for his pursuit of innovation, Steve Jobs was well ahead of his time for his ingeniousness and notably said “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have … It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” To foster an innovative working environment, it is critical to match the right talents with the right position. From just being a member of Siemens and pushing forward the digital transformation in the company to being the Head of Digital Hub in Siemens Advanta Solutions, which stands at the forefront of transforming abstract technological concepts into a real business, one crucial lesson I learnt along my digital journey is that people are of the essence in making digitalization work.
Setting the innovation process in motion
Innovation often does not work well with hierarchy. Crafting a well-planned innovation process is the key to success with the least resistance. Provoking ideas, identifying problems at an early stage, nurturing talents and fostering collaboration are ways to achieve innovation and create lasting values for the company. However, to set the digital transformation in motion, an innovation ecosystem within the organization is vital. Once Siemens decided to kick off digital transformation, I initiated a volunteer digitalization team and recruited talents with passion and potential across various sectors to join this initiative. With frequent engagements and better understanding, we were able to instill a digital mindset within team members and enabled the group to offer greater support to company strategies. Several other initiatives have also been carried out in Siemens along the way, for example, cultivating digitalization and entrepreneurial mindsets in the Future Talk, encouraging collaboration and collective ideation through a competition named Futureland where digital ideas can be realized, advocating STEM education by partnering with VTC, accelerating IoT innovations for smart cities, and supporting existing and potential ecosystem partners in achieving digital transformation with MindSphere Academy.
Open and Collaborative culture
We understand that an open and collaborative culture is also significant for both the company and our people. In view of that, we have set up the Siemens Smart City Developer Community where people can connect, communicate and co-create digital solutions in an open ecosystem and in turn, accelerate innovation in Hong Kong. By promoting an interactive climate in the society, we can connect projects and ideas on the basis of purpose, usefulness and social need. Apart from achieving sustainable growth, the collaborative workplace culture can effectively boost employees’ engagement, learning curves and the sense of meaning.
Overcoming failures on your way to success
Failure is inevitable on the way to success. Accomplishments are rarely achieved in the beginning, and learning to cope with challenges and not fear failure is the first step to succeeding. Several projects that we have acquired recently proves that our endeavors paid off after multiple failures. It is therefore important to develop entrepreneurial mindsets that never fear failure so as not to paralyze the innovation process, and it should be kept in mind that keeping faith and making continuous attempts will lead to eventual success.
Diversity brings more competition, innovation and variety
Diverse teams can create hotbeds of innovation and we are devoted to acknowledge and address diversity in our workplace. Siemens has shown their huge support in reshaping the workforce by recruiting young generations and broadening diversity. We supported and advocated STEM education in many dimensions, and released internship programs for the young generation. Our female expert is also presenting the company in various conferences and are given plenty of opportunities to develop herself in the workplace.
Innovation is a process to shift a company to a different mindset. It is not just a tool that can be implemented over the same communication bedrock, rather, it is a different way of communication, including nurturing talents and valuing their ideas. Ingenious ideas arise out of collaboration, inspiration and creative exchange. Through the empowerment of individuals along their digital journey, we will create a virtuous cycle in the process, synergizing the innovation ecosystem and enable us to strive for innovations that make real matters.