The Interview: David Rafols, INNOGET CEO and co-founder
After a complex 2008, a hard 2009 and an uncertain and negative
prediction of 2010, it’s valuable to assess how certain entrepreneurs
Innoget was created in 2008
in Mataro, Barcelona. David Rafols is the CEO and co-founder. He has a degree
in Biology and an MBA for the University of Barcelona, His expertise was
developed while working for several food industry companies, such as Chupa
Chups S.A. (technical manager) and Danone S.A. (R&D engineer) and at CIDEM
(technology sourcing manager), an Innovation Agency within the Catalonia local
government, Barcelona, Spain
In 2008 they received the award for Millor Iniciativa Empresarial
that is given every year by the Diputació de Barcelona.
Recently this new version: INNOGET has becomes a reality.
For the people that don’t know of it. What’s Innoget?
Innoget is a social network specialized in innovation
where companies are connected with a global network of scientists, engineers,
universities, research labs and technology based companies. We connect
companies with external knowledge through our Open Innovation Marketplace,
offering the opportunity to easily implement Open Innovation models.
Which gap did you detect
in the market to make the decision to create INNOGET?
Traditionally companies worked under the term known as
Closed Innovation, where research projects were based on the company's
knowledge and private resources.
Nevertheless, as opposed to what happened in the past
years, neither the large companies can intend to have all existing knowledge
inside their organizations. It seems logical to believe that there is a big
community of people and organizations out of our company’s’
boundaries that can contribute us a lot of value. But how do I get access to
that universe of external knowledge? Internet and social networks can give a
very positive answer to that question. That is where the idea to create a network
specialized in Innovation comes from. This network would be a virtual space
that would allow companies and experts interact and share their knowledge. The
result out of these analysis and believes is Innoget.
We receive constant
messages that one of the keys to overcoming the crisis is innovation. But
really, are there companies directing their energy towards and believing in
innovation? How do you see innovation in Barcelona and in Catalonia and in
I’m positive that companies not actively betting
for innovation will have a competitive disadvantage in front of those companies
that are managing innovation as a strategic asset for the company’s mid
to long term success.
Against someone’s opinion, I would say
innovation is actually a managerial process that is key part of many
companies’ existence. I strongly believe we need to stop asking ourselves
whether innovation is necessary or not. The Answer is clear. Instead, companies
should be wondering about how they are going to innovate. So they can decide to
develop innovation in two ways: first one is to follow a closed innovation
system (using company’s internal resources and knowledge), and opposed to
it, they can choose to implement an Open Innovation system that combines
internal and external sources of knowledge. We are very positive about it.
Anything that is not betting for Open Innovation results in lower
competitiveness in a sense that you are limiting your innovation capacity.
Thus, technology based companies, universities, research labs… all of
them have lots of technology to offer so we need to be able to capture and
integrate them in our innovation process in an effective way.
Can you distinguish a company that is managing
innovation based on the Open Innovation Model?
There are many of them: Procter&Gamble, Kraft and
Nokia are some examples. Even small and medium size unknown companies,
technology based organizations and scientific parks are getting big benefits
from the advantages given by external partnerships
And the people? At present, are they motivated, receptive and disposed to sharing knowledge?
We expect Innovation managers to be highly motivated
and receptive to sharing knowledge once they will realize about the big
benefits behind Open Innovation. There are still some issues related to
intellectual property and confidentiality management that are acting as
barriers. Nevertheless, knowledge protection and time to market are opposed
concepts so companies will have to choose between protecting knowledge or being
the first to get to the market. In my opinion, the second option will be the
most common goal so that sharing knowledge processes will grow up
significantly. That is currently happening in some industrial sectors as in
How can a jobseeker
benefit from your services?
We are creating a research Partners community. You can
find different types of profiles among them, from scientists to R&D
technicians, consultants, retired seniors, etc., Nevertheless, despite their
different backgrounds and profiles they are having an important thing in
common: They are high skilled people with a high level of technical knowledge
related to their industrial area of activity. Addvalue’s Jobseekers have
a great potential to become a member Innoget’s Research Partner’s
The professional world is often especially difficult
with the senior profiles. Your receptivity is high towards this kind of
profile, even towards the retired professionals, isn’t it?
That’s true. The knowhow and experience acquired
by those people that have spent more than 40 years working in a concrete
industrial sector are very difficult to find among younger workers.
Unfortunately, sometimes market forces experienced workers to quit their jobs
against their own will to keep showing their proven capabilities. The cost
caused in these situations measured in terms of the amount of knowhow companies
are losing is huge. We want all retired people willing to keep offering their
knowledge and knowhow to the industry to joint INNOGET. Thus we encourage them
to join our Research partner’s Community.
To conclude, what are your future plans? Would you
consider international markets?
Open Innovation is strongly linked to globalization. Innoget was born
with an international vocation. We are launching global digital marketing campaigns
with specific attention in the European Community. Our target is to reach a big
community of experts with a maximum representation from different countries and
domains of knowledge.