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INNOVATION in PRACTICE 2017: achieving breakthrough innovation


No matter how important it is nowadays, innovation is unplannable. But it does not mean one cannot approach it in a structured manner. A series of workshops, INNOVATION in PRACTICE was organized at PARK INNOVAARE providing interesting insights into different innovation types and strategies.

After having discussed in details technology and product innovation and process innovation at first two INNOVATION in PRACTICE sessions, we dedicated the third workshop to breakthroughs. Over thirty representatives from various industries and academia, dove in into the complexity of this ultimate discipline.

Breakthrough innovation: combining new technology and processes

To approach innovation, it is important to get a clear picture of how well the problem your business is facing and your domain are defined. In case of breakthrough innovation, problem is well defined, but the path to the solution is often unclear. Thus, a fundamental change in the basic concept, often on both technology and process / competencies level is required. Among examples of breakthrough innovations are gene therapy, 3D printing, or power-to-gas energy storage technology.

Breakthrough innovation poll

We asked our Twitter community which out of these four breakthrough innovations had the biggest potential in the future?

How to approach breakthrough innovation?

In order to understand what led to those breakthroughs, one should look at them from three different perspectives: from the individual or team perspective, the company perspective, and finally, the geographical perspective.

The first dimension helps to unleash team’s creativity, necessary for eureka moment. To encourage innovative way of thinking in practice it is important to allow co-workers more time for discussion and interaction, to correctly allocate resources and to provide incentives, to stimulate creativity by applying structured approaches like thinking inside and outside the box, and to make sure your team has the freedom it needs to implement their ideas.

To have established inspiring and motivating environment within a company is only one step towards breakthrough innovation. The company should be able to look and to work outside its boundaries. Breakthrough ideas can come by looking beyond your company along its value chain, i.e. company’s suppliers and / or customers.

Last, but not least, is the use of geographical cluster your company is in. Even if Silicon Valley, the most successful innovation cluster, is far away, the neighboring research institutes, universities, incubators for spin-offs and start-ups have a potential of not only offering a great pool of experts, but also are a great platform for exchange and idea scouting. By integrating your company into such kind of ecosystems, you enrich your team’s competencies and benefit from specific conditions that might not be available to your concurrence.

leadXpro at the edge of new technology

leadXpro AG, a fast-growing biotech company, working on structure identification of membrane proteins, uses exactly this kind of competitive advantage. Dr. Rafael Abela, one of the company’s co-founders, explained the cutting-edge technology allowing the team not only to perform state of the art analysis methods, but also strategically plan their own product pipe-line. The company benefits from close proximity to Swiss Light Source Synchrotron (SLS) and Swiss Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Using these technologies, leadXpro focuses its own research activities on lead discovery and optimization for better cancer treatments and strives to identify antibiotics with new mechanisms of action.

Upcoming dates and topics

Thus, another series that gathered over 80 industry representatives, scientists and experts came to its end. The 3rd edition of INNOVATION in PRACTICE workshop series will take place in August, September and October 2017. Stay tuned and visit out event page for exact dates, topics and speaker information.