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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 haven’t stopped.

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 greater Spain?

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 Telecommunications.

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 community.

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.

 

 

 

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