Waldner Academy – ideas breed ideas
The best ideas often come to us when we are with others. During the lunch break, say, when we are quietly sitting around discussing things with other people. This is precisely what the Waldner Academy would like to encourage people to do.
Waldner customers and employees are cordially invited as are external idea generators – every person adds something to the overall 'group brain'.
"It is precisely the broad-based experiences from the various Waldner divisions and the different views on our global projects that make discussions within the Waldner Academy so exciting and, above all, productive! To this day, I continue to be inspired by the level of tangible potential change that comes from a single event," explains Alexander Biller who is in charge of the Waldner Academy.
A single idea can sometimes lead to a potentially improved product quality, if not a completely new product. Sometimes it can even result in a fully new solution to an individual customer project from which the entire sector can often subsequently benefit.
The Secuflow Vision laboratory fume hood, for instance, the result of numerous different suggestions and ideas, is an example of how this translates into practice. Ultimately, the core idea was then developed in a joint workshop with our customers. Alongside the Academy events, customer workshops are other formats that promote inspiring discussions and which Waldner pro-actively runs to generate new ideas and identify individual users' needs and requirements.
No Secuflow Vision without the exchange of ideas
It was lab technicians who actually initiated the development of our Secuflow Vision product with their ideas and to a greater extent were involved in the design of the new fume hood. They asked for greater communication and teamwork, health and well-being for their laboratory work. This broad-based concern only became clear through personal discussions in the workshop and became a driver for us to rethink our laboratory fume hood in a revolutionary way. We took on board the practical suggestions and ideas and translated them into a pioneering Waldner product for the laboratory sector: today's Secuflow Vision is an example that will be followed by many more.
This is an approach that we would like to continue at Waldner, as it totally underpins our idea that innovation is bred through mutual exchange. At the same time, the Secuflow Vision represents an approach to finding a solution that is typical for Waldner and that we trust in our Academy: the path or next step to the next innovation is not far away when we share our knowledge.
Everyone can have ideas
Actually anyone can come up with ideas, although implementing them requires highly professional partners. When it comes to discussions within the Waldner Academy, the all-important ideas are just as relevant as the ones that initiate lateral thinking and keep the discussion going. Each and every participant contributes equally to the innovative 'group brain' at any event: Waldner employees are just as much a part of this as our customers, product users, project managers, decision-makers and sponsors.
We are always mixing our 'group brain' around to ensure that the ideas process is always fresh and animated. We invite different industry experts to join us, regularly involve external Waldner departments and – depending on the format of the event – are also happy to open it up to interested outsiders. Outsiders and newcomers can really enrich the group mindset.
A naive question. Or an innovative one?
Waldner sets great store by an informal approach to finding solutions, whether at its "Labcafé" – the format for the laboratory sector – or at an "Education lunch" that Hohenloher has initiated for the "education" sector. "In actual fact, a simple question raised at one of our "Education lunches" or "Labcafés" often reveals a deeper understanding or a feel for the right context. This is not really a new observation, but it is always fascinating and totally productive for educational solutions," continues Alexander Biller, thrilled about the potential of the events.
Participants do not need any special prior knowledge for these digital formats. To a much greater extent, it is about consciously involving students, school representatives, teachers, lab technicians, architects, lab operators etc. in the discussion and thus integrating different points of view regarding the same challenge.
Level playing field
The ongoing development of the highly dynamic education and laboratory sector, in particular, can really benefit from networked, human knowledge. This happens when the discussion strays beyond predefined areas of responsibility and global boundaries, regardless of the size of the company or its market importance.
All our Academy events, the digital "Laboratory Ideas Forum" or the "Educational Ideas Form", aim to bring together like-minded people as a assorted "innovation team" to germinate top ideas and help them to flourish – always on a level playing field in as protected space as possible.
Sometimes a touch of humour relaxes the atmosphere, at other times the language brings people together worldwide (English in the Labcafé), or a communal lunch in the company (lunch vouchers for the Education Lunch) can help the participants to relax. This is the right way for us to create a desire for an inspiring discussion and an informal brainstorming session and to motivate bold creative processes. Many others see it that way too. A total of 500 people have contacted us about the last six Labcafés alone.
Ideas are just the start
Nonetheless, our online idea sessions are not the right format for all industry requirements. For practical reasons, our technical training courses on filling and sealing machines (Dosomat) and laboratory equipment need to be held face-to-face. The training courses can be booked on a modular basis and educate employees directly on the relevant products, in-house at Waldner or alternatively at our customers' premises. The courses are always held in person with our Academy experts, as our hands-on practical training approach has proved itself specifically with complex software applications.
That's why, even if we don't meet up for a discussion during our next lunch break, then there will certainly be somewhere else where we'll come up with the best ideas together. We look forward to having these discussions with you.