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Our innovation workshop

To further stimulate new ideas we hold an innovation workshop once a year. Over three intense, focused days, colleagues across divisions and star students work in groups on current trends and topics. The aim is to bring together motivated and imaginative employees and offer them the opportunity and framework to develop together and produce innovations. They work in teams to solve challenges and gain their first experience as an entrepreneur at Jenoptik. A competitive yet good-natured context is set. Both our in-house teams and the student teams face the same challenges. Start-up ideas are presented to a jury at the end of the third day, which then names the ‘winner’.

The winner of the first "Think-Out-Loud-Award" is the team JENtool (or: "Pimp my CNC"). The innovative idea is to approach 3D printing machines from a different direction in order to achieve fast, flexible and individualized digital manufacturing with small areas and low investment requirements. To achieve this, it is a matter of upgrading functioning CNC machines with the JENtool. In addition to the machine’s usual tool inserts, JENtool’s automatic tool changer - a turn-mill center - is equipped with a laser head for marking. In effect, this is an optical measuring head based on our IPS sensor, or a high-precision white light interferometer.

Innovation Greenhouse

Our Innovation Greenhouse is a scheme through which entrepreneurial employees with an innovative idea that relates to our core business are supported to develop that idea. This can also happen in tandem with an external start-up or university spin-out. Employees have to apply for the opportunity. If accepted we provide full funding for the project costs. This is a scheme that allows creative individuals to pursue their ideas and have the experience of running a new business in an open, incubator-style environment.

The typical colleague profile for such innovation is an independent thinker with an agile approach, with a deep understanding or knowledge of photonics.


What means an innovation process?

An innovation process describes the framework conditions for the development and introduction of new products, services or business models. The framework conditions of the innovation process include the individual steps to realise the ideas as well as the methods necessary for this and connects everything together in a structure. The innovation process begins with the generation of ideas and usually ends with the market launch. In between, planning, concept and development phases take place, which describe the elaboration of the details in order to have a finished product at the end. With the market launch and the finished product, the innovation process is not yet completely at its end, because there is no actual end in this sense. A new product or service must always be perfected and revised in order to fulfil customer wishes and expectations.

These are the goals of an innovation process. 

Often the innovation process starts with the definition of innovation goals, on the basis of which ideas are generated. An innovation should always reflect the company's goals and strategies in order to bring a product or service to the market that fits the company. With the help of the innovation process and the structures and methods determined therein, the desired type of innovation and the degree of innovation are also determined. The ultimate goal is to use the innovation process to pave the way from an idea to a finished product.

What is the meaning of innovation?

Innovation comes from the Latin word "innovatio" and means "innovation" or "change". Innovation means creating a process that develops procedures or techniques that update or completely recreate new products, services or business structures. There are different types of innovation - process innovation, product innovation, service innovation and business model innovation. Each type of innovation involves the same meaning but completely different methods and approaches. Another meaning of innovation is to create competitive advantage. There is a global competition for the best innovations and thus for the best, fastest and newest solutions on the market. Only those who bring an innovation to the market first receive the advantages; all other products that follow are metoo products. If a company does not manage to be first to market with an innovation, they only have the chance to bring a better product to market and significantly increase customer benefits. After all, innovation also means change and improvement, so you can also add an innovative new function to an existing product and set a new trend.

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Thomas Strzeletz

Expert Innovationmanagement

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