Innovation at Bayer MaterialScience

On Oct. 28, 2010, we had an special session in our module “Change & Innovation” with two practitioners from industry. Here is Nicole Weimer’s brief summary of the first seminar:

Dr. Michael Graefenstedt is department manager for roadmap management and business support in the marketing division “Polyurethane” of Bayer AG (Bayer MaterialScience).

In this session I have learned that the value chain is the key to success. It is important to know, where you are and what you need to do in order to influence the end user and therefore the profit. If the company is more ahead in the value chain, they are not able to influence the end users directly. The company needs to keep an eye of the development of trends, because they will tell them what users want. The utilization of trends is a crucial leverage for innovation. I furthermore have learned that in order to be innovative, you need to know your own strategy and you should connect it with the innovation. There is a difference between innovation and just an invention. A new product is first an invention, it starts to become an innovation when it comes to business, which means in Bayer’s understanding that it is only an innovation when customers really buy it.

The difference between Continual Innovation and Disruptive Innovation

There is a dimension between continual and disruptive Innovation which need to be managed. In the area of continual innovation you just use things you already have and combine it with other things to new products. In the area of disruptive innovation, you need to have something completely new. This is more difficult for innovation manager. They need to have a scenario planning about the possible outcomes.

Project Management

It is important to inform all parties concerned from the beginning and involve them in all decision points of the process. This is important in order to be able to find decisions about how and if it will continue, at each gate of the process. I have learned that it is more useful if employees do not get a combination of short- and long term tasks. If this is the case, short term tasks will always done first and the long term tasks will be done in the last moment.

Nicole Weimer studies “Management of Meetings, Expositions, Events and Conventions”.

The Module Change & Innovation belongs to the core management modules being incorporated in all undergraduate programs at Karlshochschule

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