COMMUNICATION + IDEAS + OPEN-MINDEDNESS = INNOVATION
König + Neurath is a traditional German company with an international operating radius. We shape work cultures and support companies as they undergo change – in Germany and beyond.
You only need to take a look abroad to see that innovation is initiated and received in very different ways. We hosted a round table with guests Han Proost (Sales Director of König + Neurath Netherlands), Joep Verheijen (architect), Floris Treffers (consultant and project manager) and Jos van der Wielen (psychologist) to illustrate how innovation is experienced outside Germany. Cornelius Müller-Schellhorn (Design and Development) and Georg Frech (Academy) from the König + Neurath head office in Karben took part in the discussion session, which was organised by Carina Hölzer (Planning) and addressed questions such as: What does creativity have to do with innovation? How open are we to new ideas and products? And how can we ensure that we remain competitive in the long term?
What’s our understanding of innovation?
INNOVATION IS A PRODUCT OF COMMUNICATIVE PROCESSES
Regardless of its origin, innovation is described as a complete communicative process. Everyone on the discussion panel agreed that a change of scenery is important. Taking a step back and looking at your own issues will show you where the seed of change can be planted. It doesn’t matter whether you swap experiences – like cavemen around the campfire – or go to the pub for a relaxed chat and develop new ideas there: it’s all about interaction.
Optimum conditions for innovation
The creative minds around the table are certain of one thing: ideas are developed within a trusting relationship. If anything goes and there are no restrictions – either in terms of feasibility or budget – that’s what opens the way for creativity. The right attitude, willingness to change and a proactive error culture are all essential for innovative processes to get started. In this context it’s important to know that whilst an inspiring office environment encourages creativity, that light-bulb moment may not occur at your desk. It’s often the case that a revolutionary new idea pops up when we’re taking a relaxed or playful approach to themes.
Creative ideas don’t automatically come when we’re at our desk – even if it does tick all the boxes for that to happen.
Innovation as an international comparison
HOW INNOVATIVE ARE WE?
Is it just a subjective feeling, or are there differences between countries when it comes to innovativeness? Particularly when you look at corporate culture and new working methods, it’s clear that key impulses are coming from overseas. The idea of agile work originates from the USA. Where implementation is concerned, the Dutch are often a step ahead of the Germans. The nation of discovery not only began the quest for foreign shores before everyone else, they still integrate novelty into their lives as a matter of course today. Tiny houses, workplace/mobility concepts – in Holland they are open to anything new.
For me, our nation of bicycles is open-minded, multicultural and tolerant.
Why openness is important
PARTNERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION
Our teams bring together a variety of skills from the fields of planning and consulting, as well as companies involved in a support capacity. Combining diverse approaches leads to plenty of new ideas. One example of this is the König + Neurath showroom in Amsterdam. The design and concept of the Amsterdam showroom came into being as a result of innovative interaction between the Dutch consultancy team Joep Verheijen and Floris Treffers – and this was complemented by a deliberate choice of active partners in the showroom. The open-space design means that media technology solutions, flooring and hospitality (coffee bar) can be showcased alongside the König + Neurath workplace scenarios.
A variety of talents, skills and personalities encourages innovation.
InnovationLab and networking
HOW DO COMPANIES RETAIN THEIR INNOVATIVE CHARACTER?
You could say that our Dutch neighbours have it in their DNA to enjoy networking. For them the future of idea development is a mixture of networks, interaction and an innovative approach to the most recent technology developments and tools. Our international subsidiaries are important as a source of inspiration when it comes to product development. The Dutch showroom in particular is actively used for events, workshops and meetings, so innovation processes are regularly derived from here to provide the whole company with inspiration for something new.
Networking is something we value highly, and that’s why we see social media as a hugely significant source of inspiration to our company.