As part of the Factory Automation Technology and Innovation’s Ready.Set.Grow kick-off event, we launched our Creativity Challenge, calling on our TI colleagues to send in their creative ideas from their day-to-day work. We received some great stories, which we would like to share with you in the next few weeks as part of a Creativity Journey. Let us introduce our team first.
We are Creativity – Our Team
We are: Tobias Eismann, who was already passionate about cleaning out the dishwasher when he was two years old, Christian Mack, who is often spoken to in Spanish and asked for directions, Kathrin Gottfried, who can speak backwards, Franziska Alleraun, who has sold “Drei im Weggla” and Joana Tiedtke, who used to translate Chinese art books, as well as Martin Raab, Karina Rempel and Franz-Josef Menzl. Together, as the Innovation Excellence Team, we are driving Creativity within Factory Automation.
Stefan Görlich and his story on creativity
We start our Creativity.Journey with Stefan Görlich and Manfred Pilhofer, their creative idea managed to replace an expensive placement aid with an already existing part and thus generated a considerable economic advantage for Factory Automation. With commitment and a lot of perseverance, the two have managed to generate a sustainable business impact for Siemens.
We talked to Stefan, who has been working as a design engineer for 20 years, 10 of them for waterproof SIMATIC modules, and wanted to know more about how this idea came about.
What does creativity mean to Stefan?
As a design engineer, you have to be constantly creative, as he says himself. That means being and remaining permanently curious and open to new things. So, why not simply pursue an idea, even if it is not yet perfectly worked out? Stefan is bubbling over with enthusiasm when he tells us about his tinkering and infects us with his creative input.
If he doesn’t make much progress with an idea, two things help him: simply take a break, take a deep breath and think about something completely different.
Then I can get away from the blinkered thinking and afterwards I usually come up with new ideas!Stefan Görlich
💡 Studies show that ideas often arise in the most calm places and situations, i.e. mostly when our brain is on standby. But why actually? Today we know that ideas often jump into our consciousness when we are not thinking about them. We can’t force this moment of insight, but we can cause its probability of occurrence with certain triggers: First we work on the problem for which we are looking for ideas, then we perform an activity that puts our brain on standby, allowing our brain to connect with ideas from our subconscious. If the idea from the subconscious fits the problem, we experience the moment of insight, which certainly each of us has already experienced.
Furthermore, cross-functional work is important: simply brainstorm with design engineers who work in other areas and spin new ideas.
Nothing is forbidden and nothing is ridiculous! Because sometimes it’s the strangest idea that leads to the goal! By that I also mean allowing ideas from others and pulling together!Stefan Görlich
Stefan also doesn’t like to talk about a problem. Rather, he sees them as always new challenges that can be met with creative ideas. If we trust our creativity, then ideation can be a lot of fun!
How does Stefan come up with ideas?
It’s actually quite simple – just take a look at your surroundings! For example, what does the hinge of a shampoo bottle or that of a laptop look like, and how can we apply these ideas and solutions at Siemens? 💡 Designers even work with perception trainings and sometimes sit down in front of an apple for up to an entire hour to observe and explore it. This begs the question, what is there to discover about such a trivial object? You will come across answers that you would never have thought of. Often the solution to the problem is much closer than you actually think! So, we should not only try to remain open to new things in general, but also to be open to our immediate environment.
How can we now further promote this creative journey within Siemens?
One thing is clear: Failure and mistakes are human. “That’s just as much a part of being a developer,” says Stefan, who would like to see a more open approach to mistakes in the future. “For us as Factory Automation, it’s fundamentally important to be creative, so encouraging creativity is part of that. Sometimes there are turns in the road to innovation. I would love to see failure more accepted by the organization in the future because if this is not allowed, it inhibits our creativity extremely. The only important thing for me here is that we learn from these mistakes and thus become better and better and more innovative!” Statements like “We’ve always done it this way” inhibit because that’s not how you learn. It must be allowed to question what has been done before.
And let’s be honest – an idea is by definition never perfect and full of possible mistakes and buts. And that’s exactly what makes it so exciting on the one hand and so easy to give up in the process on the other!
Our work is characterized by an experimental playground where we can try out our ideas, fail, but also let them grow!
The motto for the next few weeks is clear: Stay creative together – despite remote work from home!
Another challenge: The current situation not only demands stamina, but also inhibits creative collaboration among colleagues. The close personal, and above all spontaneous, exchange is missing. Stefan also sees this as a difficulty and tries to counteract the “lonely” work at home with interactive solutions, such as collaboration on the concept board.
The first step has been taken, and we are excited to see how we can jointly shape the creative future within Factory Automation and thus drive innovation. “I am curious to see what it can bring to foster the topic of creativity even more and look forward to future input”.
⚡ Our learnings from the interview with Stefan
- We don’t have to look for mistakes, but find the positive in an idea
- We do not solve problems, but always face new challenges
- We want to maintain cross functional working even in times of Covid19
With Stefan and Manfred we have successfully started our Creativity.Journey and are looking forward to the next creative story! Stay Tuned. Now it’s your turn! Tell us more about your creativity in the comment section. 😊