Moving in new circles

Even though innovations are planned on paper, they become reality in people’s heads. Kristina Haars is good at both.

Norderstedt, January 19, 2017 – Kristina Haars draws a circle, then another, and another, adds some arrows to document the interrelationship between the circles, and writes? E M P L O Y E E S in capital letters in the middle. The sketch is her answer to the question: What is the key to innovation?

As Innovation Manager, Haars is taking on a completely new role at Lufthansa Industry Solutions in order to pool the multitude of existing innovative activities and specifically involve individual employees. For the 28-year-old business data processing specialist, employees do not only lie at the center of the piece of paper. She knows that in a consultancy company, the knowledge – in other words, the capital – lies with the employees.

The entrepreneurial spirit should be awakened

“I’m interested in the extent to which this knowledge can be accessed via a platform and specific processes, and can provide even more added value for the company,” says Haars. In order to drive innovation, Haars is following three paths. To demonstrate these she draws some circles. The inner circle contains the employees of Lufthansa Industry Solutions.

The entrepreneurial spirit of each individual employee should be awakened or encouraged with suitable innovation methods. The second, larger circle contains other companies and institutes. These are used by Haars to establish an innovation network. This helps with grading the ideas that are coming from one’s own ranks. And the third, outer circle contains customers and general trends.

The best ideas will be presented to management

Such a culture of exchanging knowledge and ideas has to?be established in a company. This is something of which Haars is keenly aware. She believes that her colleagues ought to know what happens to their ideas, what can be achieved by them and what their contribution brings them. “In my one and a half years at Lufthansa Industry Solutions, I have got to know many colleagues who are very innovative and want to get things moving. Now we’re creating an ideal framework to achieve this,” explains Haars, who now wants to introduce the right processes. Colleagues will be involved in evaluating ideas so that they can familiarize themselves with the concepts.

The best ideas will be presented to management. If they are in line with the corporate strategy, they will be developed further in workshops, supported with studies and ultimately turned into projects. “I’m already looking forward to the day when the first idea is transformed into a project as part of the comprehensive innovation process,” says Haars. And if this idea originates from an employee, then the circle will finally be complete.