Companies do not have sufficient competencies of their own to develop new innovative solutions, being “partner of choice” is becoming a must.

We asked Carsten Blau about challenges in the area of corporate innovation. He is the managing director of AUFWERT and a member of the scientific advisory board of PosterLab. 

Can you introduce yourself? 

I am co-founder of AUFWERT, a consulting boutique with a focus on digital innovation, covering all aspects from ideas over business models up to operations.  

After graduating in computer science, I have worked in interdisciplinary constellations from the very beginning and have been involved in the creation of many B2X platforms over the years, very often in constellations where only different partners can achieve the goal together. I have held various roles such as project manager, key accountant, software architect, process owner for agile projects, product owner, organization developer, executive member of a software service provider and co-creator of international partnerships. Over time I learned to take a lot of different perspectives. 

For some years now, my focus has been in the area ahead to the actual implementation and this now includes many aspects such as trend observation, scouting in innovation fields, modern innovation processes up to the validation of business models, design of processes and the organization required for implementation and operation. In addition, I am in exchange with an international community in the field of corporate innovation, many startups and also supporting PosterLab in various aspects for over a year. 

What are the particular challenges in the field of innovation today? 

The challenges come from very different directions. Some procedures that have been established for a long time no longer fit the dynamics of change and increasing complexity. 

In addition to that, more and more questions are being asked about the ROI of innovation initiatives, which often means that disruptive ideas are unlikely to emerge in the corporate innovation environment. 

New players on the market operate with a different philosophy and thus quickly become a threat. Many companies ask themselves the question what they could do, if a company like Google or Alphabet would reach out for their market segment. 

In most cases, companies do not have sufficient competencies and capacities of their own to develop new innovative solutions and are therefore increasingly dependent on establishing suitable partnerships quickly and efficiently. 

What are the answers to these challenges? 

A lot of inspiration certainly lies in how digital players operate. Asking the question “How would one of the big digital players approach this?” and using their methods leads to many new approaches. 

In order to be successful, an organisation must then also work on its own ecosystem so that these approaches are also adapted in the own environment and have an effect. This part tends to be overlooked because it means often a transformation into a “new world”. 

How can digital solutions help? 

New Digital Solutions can make a huge contribution to projects across different parties. They can bring more structure, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency to collaborations and are ideally also easy and quick to use. Especially through new AI-based approaches, completely new possibilities will arise to support decisions and will massively accelerate innovation processes. 

Software is usually designed to support a particular way of working and methodology. Therefore, it is important that a tool only unfolds its full potential if these aspects fit together and if there is also support in the methodology.