Dr. Herbert Vogler
INSME: How would you define an innovative organization?
Dr. Vogler: An organization that is continuously working on the improvement of its products, services, business models and internal processes. It is most likely that they are successful with that, if the company is led by a vision and if employees get the chance to be creative. R&D expenses can be an indicator, but there are others.
INSME: SMEs environment is changing very fast. According to you, what are the most relevant challenges to cope with?
Dr. Vogler: It's neccessary to get ideas from outside the company, from customers and competitors for example. Therefore it is helpful to establish processes for trendscouting and open innovation. One element of these processes has to be the reflection in the top level management.
INSME: Edwin Land said: “the essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail”. In your opinion, which is the most effective way to stimulate innovative thinking and unleash the creative potential of human resources?
Dr. Vogler: Installing a failure and praise culture is the road to success. This is a popular sentence. You may find it in many companies only as part of the written down vision. In order to realize such a culture the CEO has to go ahead as a good example.
INSME: Innovation is about collaboration: how did your organization benefit from strategic partnership opportunities?
Dr. Vogler: We are consultants for politicians regarding considered regulations concerning the economy. Therefore we need expertise from outside mainly from companies. About 1000 companies are therefore organized in nearly 50 committees, each dedicated to a specific topic as for example energy, digitalization or transport. These companies are discussing the consequences of planned regulations for their daily business and are therefore our strategic partners.
INSME: What role can international networks like INSME play to help public bodies, stakeholders and other intermediaries to foster innovation in favour of SMEs?
Dr. Vogler: They should be door-openers for international contacts and initiators for collaborations. In addition they should think about services for organizations and companies which are already working in international projects.
INSME: Let’s play a game
INSME: If I say Cooperation you say…
Dr. Vogler: ...benefits for all partners, contracts necessary.
INSME: If I say Network you say...
Dr. Vogler: ...give & take, widen your own scope of action.
INSME: If I say Internationalization you say…
Dr. Vogler: ...free trade, common standards, Industry 4.0, Made in Germany.
INSME: If I say Intercultural Communication you say…
Dr. Vogler: ...tolerance from all sides, challenging but necessary work in ever-networked surroundings.
INSME: If I say Innovation you say…
Dr. Vogler: ...How old are your products or services? When did the last improvement take place?
INSME: If I say change you say…
Dr. Vogler: ...better creating change than suffering from change.
INSME: Your innovation motto…
Dr. Vogler: Trial and error is the best strategy in a complex environment.