Part 3: Driving innovation, maintaining mobility

  • Posted by Gerhard Pramhas
  • On 1. July 2019

Innovation

Conserve resources and improve products – every business strives to make decisions that are as profitable and cost-effective as possible. The fact that decisions that may appear less economically advantageous at first glance can yield economic success in the long term became clear to me in my role as Managing Director of the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. The key to this is to maintain mental mobility while simultaneously driving innovation forward. But how does that work in practice?

Conservation of resources

Consider the following thought model: A train with a full load consumes marginally more energy than an empty train. However, empty trains won’t help you reach your economic targets. Hence, the initial economic rationale could be to take measures either to fill the trains or to discontinue the empty runs.

Product improvement

However, rather than discontinuing the route, it might make sense to invest in new, more innovative trains and safer and more attractive stations, even though the trains – aside from the main lines – aren’t running at full capacity. Why? The catchphrase here is indirect profitability.

The railway company can answer the following question with a “yes”: Is my innovation such a technological highlight that even though it won’t directly contribute to the success of the business, it will positively impact the company’s image and make our other products stand out?

This is certainly the case in the railway sector. The same applies to the aviation industry, which continues to provide economically disadvantageous short-haul services in order to secure their long-haul business. In your business, too, it may be possible that profitability goals can be better achieved using indirect means.

Innovation and resistance to innovation

During my time as Managing Director of the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, I initiated the Aerospace Engineering degree programme in the face of great resistance. The profitability of this particular course of study was less important to me at the time than the innovation it entailed. With this programme, I wanted to implement a unique high-tech course of study in Wiener Neustadt, from which the entire academic environment in Wiener Neustadt would benefit – in short, to create indirect profitability. And it worked.

This example illustrates how innovation is often accompanied by a resistance to innovation. Typical mistakes in product development, such as wasting resources, weaknesses in the organisation or the decision-making process, or a lack of leadership skills, can slow the pace of innovation down considerably or prevent it from taking place at all. After all, the expertise within a company is hardly worth anything if it is not leveraged properly.

As Interim Chief Innovation Officer, I can provide external support for a streamlined innovation process that will quickly deliver results. You can find more detailed information on interim management here on my website.

Are you interested in benefiting from my experience and insights as Interim Chief Innovation Officer? If you would like to know more about how you can convert your innovation into cash both directly and indirectly, preferably before the start of the project, please contact me. Let’s discuss your options online as the first step.

Feel free to write to me at gerhard@pramhas.eu or use the contact form.

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