Navigating Innovation in the Future: Insights and Trends from Copetri Convention 2023

Clemens Ristl
Two days filled with innovation, leadership and technology – our takeaways from Copetri 2023.

Last week we attended the Copetri Convention 2023 in Offenbach, Germany. We enjoyed connecting with interesting people from different countries and industries, as well as attending panel discussions, lectures and workshops. Following, I’d like to share our overall impression of the event and our 3 most important takeaways.

In the ever-changing landscape of innovation, it is imperative to stay connected and follow the current status quo. Which new buzzwords and trends are emerging, and where are we headed? To gather more insights around those questions, we travelled to Copetri Convention 2023 near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Seventeen workshops and dozens of conversations later, we are happy to have come back with the answers – the most discussed topics and predictions for the future from Copetri 2023.

Overall impressions from Copetri 2023

The event was clearly setting the tone for an audience and conversations around all things innovation, transformation and people operations. What I found surprising, however, was the fun ambient that Copetri offered around the main event. Located in an industrially designed event location, you could find a variety of food trucks, great coffee shops and even a Ferris wheel. The company booths were scattered around them, as well as the multiple indoor and outdoor stages with the official program.

The most mentioned term at Copetri: Ambidextrous Organization

How can a company manage to not only be profitable and future-proof but also invest time and resources in innovating? This question was notably on many minds, seeing as the terms most commonly buzzing around the convention were “Ambidexterity” and “Ambidextrous Organization”.

These describe the distinction between “Exploit” and “Explore”, monetizing and scaling your existing core business on the one hand while innovating and exploring new ideas and opportunities on the other. Ideally, your core business – the exploit part – finances and provides the resources to focus your efforts on innovation.

Multiple keynotes and workshops picked up the topic: Among these, the panel discussion “Ambidexterity in innovation management” facilitated by Bosch, DB Schenker and ITONICS. Some learnings we would like to emphasize here:

  • Building your company up to be ambidextrous is a must nowadays – both in alignment with regulatory and economic sustainability.
  • The consensus is a 70-30 split in resources between exploit and explore.
  • Don’t place a few big bets and pray for the best – prioritize your innovation hypotheses and experiments and test them accordingly and thoroughly.

“For every one of our failures, we had a spreadsheet that looked awesome”.

Ronja Stoffregen further mentioned using an open innovation approach as a means of sourcing ideas and potentials – another topic found in multiple keynotes at Copetri this year.

Open Innovation as a source of innovation potential

While the pool of potential ideas and innovation opportunities might seem daunting and endless, finding the time to regularly brainstorm new ideas is resource-consuming. At some point, you might also find yourself circling back to the same ideas within your team. A popular approach to alleviate both issues lies in open innovation. Enabling your company to source ideas from external resources can be done in multiple ways, each having different requirements and benefits.

  • Outside-In approaches: Both used for idea generation and idea selection, consulting your target audience or customer base can bring ideas you hadn’t considered to attention – from the source, the benefits from innovating. Ask your relevant audience for innovation proposals. What problem would they like fixed? What issues should be addressed? What can be made just a little bit easier?
  • Inside-Out approaches: Allow your team to break away and develop go-to-market strategies for technologies, projects or ideas that deviate from your company’s roadmap or strategy. This requires well-built structures within the team, depending on how many resources your team is allowed to take for their idea.
  • Coupled approaches: Combining the knowledge and expertise of an external partner with your own market expertise and resources can lead to creating great potential – a classical use case of coupled open innovation is Joint Ventures. If you want to find out more about our venture-building approach at TheVentury, click here.

The future of innovation: Hypotheses and predictions for 2030

Where are we headed with innovation? What is next to come?

Obviously, we need to ask ourselves, what does the future hold for innovation – per definition, we want to be ahead of the curve, not behind. Barbara Schmohl from ZF Friedrichshafen AG tackled exactly those topics in her talk “Innovationsmanagement gestern und heute” – addressing both how innovation used to be done, as well as giving predictions of what is to come.

“If everything is under control, you are just not driving fast enough.”

Whether you agree with the statement or not, it is undeniable that innovation is becoming more and more fast-paced – industry-agnostically. Barbara shared her experiences of how the automobility industry has not only caught up with innovation but has made great strides to become grounds for rapid innovation. So where is it headed?

Current discussions revolve around the relevancy of ChatGPT and its usage in innovation – the hypotheses being that most industries will have all of their innovation processes fully digitalized by 2030, including research, strategy, sourcing, management, organization and innovation culture.

Further takeaways

While ambidextrous organizations, open innovation and trends were definitely the most discussed topics at Copetri this year, a few other workshops and panels stuck out to us, worthy of honorary mentions.

  • Mirjam Ambühl from Skillsgarden AG facilitated a fascinating workshop about psychological security and how fostering security within your organization can increase a team’s ability to innovate.
  • “The voice of the next generation” gave insights into Gen Z – both as a target audience and potential hires.
  • The live podcast recording with Christoph Werner, CEO at dm-drogerie markt nicely tied into previous learnings and emphasized relatively flat hierarchies and adapting across large-scale companies.

Conclusion and who should join us next year

Organizational ambidexterity, open innovation and how to structure a successful innovation team – these were the general focus points at Copetri 2023. Our attendance at the Copetri Convention 2023 provided valuable insights into the current status quo of innovation and shed light on emerging trends in the field. The convention offered a vibrant and festival-like atmosphere, with a diverse range of workshops, panel discussions, and engaging conversations with professionals from various industries. The program further not only offered a nice variety of content that appealed to beginners but also provided more detailed information for attendees with a deeper understanding of the matter.

So, whether you are new to the field of innovation or already a veteran, or you are looking for learning opportunities and exchange in HR and leadership – Copetri 2024 could be the place for you, and we would be happy to meet you there. Let’s shape the future together!

What was your main takeaway from Copetri this year? We would love to hear what you think and whether you agree. Contact us, we are happy to discuss!


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