Dr. Roland Schaefer, vice president of innovation management at Balluff
The co-existence of core business and innovation is often referred to as ambidexterity by the experts – many researchers have published articles on this topic. It works if both fields are equally important, but are processed differently. This means: A good mix of exploitation in core business and exploration of the new developments is sought-after. This is our approach at Balluff. Core business is about designing processes as efficiently as possible and continuously improving processes – the more standardized they are, the better! Many colleagues work together here, so project management and clear structures are very important. Whereas, framework conditions are required in order to develop innovations in unknown territory and new business segments. It mainly comes down to flexibility. This is why the teams are smaller, discussions are more direct, and the approach is more experimental. It is important to be able to try things out – tolerate possible errors and learn from them. Teams should therefore be able to work independently where possible. We are successful at Balluff when we attach equal importance to both areas and promote them accordingly in the company.