To be really creative, you need to generate a large number of ideas. Because when you start generating ideas, you get the obvious, easy answers. Only as you come up with more and more ideas you produce more wacky, crazy, disruptive ideas – the kind that can lead to really radical solutions. 

Thomas Edison was prolific in his experiments. His development of the electric light took over 9000 trials. Picasso painted over 20,000 works. Bach composed at least one work a week. The great geniuses produced quantity AND quality. Sometimes it is only by creating the many that we can deliver the great. 

To make Greiner more innovative, we must increase the yield and look beyond the plastic valley (= Kremstal). That is why we invite every single employee at Greiner in every country and from every division to join the Greiner Innovation Community – our digital idea platform that has existed in our company since 2014 and serves as an extensive collection of ideas at Greiner. 

More than 11,000 employees can give their ideas a virtual home on this platform. They can make themselves and their knowledge visible across the whole group. This way, the entire workforce becomes an innovator, and the innovation process becomes a transparent joint project. All users can evaluate, discuss, and develop published ideas. 

What do we do when we have a mountain of ideas and suggestions? 

Then, at Greiner Technology & Innovation, we sort the ideas, analyze them, and try out those with the most potential. We set criteria, such as technical feasibility, customer acceptance and profitability, reduction of resources, uniqueness, disruption potential, and so on…, against which we can evaluate the ideas. This way, we create a shortlist of the most promising ideas. 

Those are then even more critically examined, and a sort of accelerated Darwinism occurs – only the fittest survive. In the end, experienced decision-makers from Greiner Technology & Innovations network decide for the best idea that gets personnel and financial resources. All the others are kept in a database to revisit later. Sometimes only years later, we find that we now see a way to adapt or combine them into something worthwhile.

Artificial Intelligence @ Work – Idea Award 2019

In 2019, the idea campaign was about artificial intelligence (AI). AI will change processes along the entire value chain at Greiner, including engineering, supply chain management, production, marketing, sales, and customer service. The combination of aspects of human-like, intelligent action results in an almost infinite number of artificial intelligence applications. During the Campaign, we received 37 awesome ideas. The decision was not an easy one. But finally, we found the one idea together with our external experts from Microsoft. The winner was Christopher König (GBO), Team Leader Production Planning & Control VACUETTE. He won the Idea Award 2019 with his idea “Prediction of sequence-dependent set-up times.”

Christopher König, idea initiator: “Based on a “manageable” problem with existing data, we use AI technologies to increase operational efficiency. We as Greiner are not alone in striving for operational excellence – I see lots of opportunities for new business areas, and the Idea Award gives us the framework to go for it.”

We congratulate Christopher and his team and wish him all the best to further develop his idea!