Innovation management process at DOMO Chemicals – understanding as an elementary part of the creative process
In this article you will learn about the innovation management process of DOMO-Chemicals, an international manufacturer of specialty chemicals. The company produces polymers for the automotive, textile and plastics industries at its sites in Leuna (D), Premnitz (D), Buford, GA (USA), Arco (IT), Cesano Maderno (IT) and Jiaxing City (CHN). Through its innovation management, the company connects almost 900 employees in four countries.
This article shows how DOMO Chemicals implements the innovation process with the help of Innolytics® idea management software and innovation management software, focusing primarily on the first phase – the process of identifying and understanding problems.
Phase 1 in the innovation management process: structured discussions
Albert Einstein once said:
DOMO Chemicals follows this principle. The first step in the innovation management process is to discuss and understand problems in a structured manner.
The development of an innovation management process was the first important step for us. With a complex production like ours, it is not enough simply to develop an idea for a problem. Often the problem is just the symptom. It is crucial to precisely analyse and understand the underlying causes.
explains Matthias Schmidt, Head of Innovation at DOMO Chemicals.
In the first step of the innovation process, employees enter questions and theses which are then discussed online.
Discussions at DOMO Chemicals follow a clear structure:
After employees open a new discussion, the contributions are first examined by an innovation coach.
As soon as they are published, the discussion is opened by a moderator. In this discussion phase, the comment functions are enabled. Users can discuss challenges in a structured manner and respond to comments from other users.
In the second phase, the discussion will be evaluated. Platform users vote on how far the problem should go into the next phase – the development of ideas. The comment functions are deactivated in the evaluation phase.
If the significance of a problem or challenge is only minimally evaluated, it is deferred. If it goes into the next phase, ideas are collected for this problem or challenge. Innovation coaches have the opportunity to write a summary for the discussions so that all employees can always read about the problems that have already been discussed within the company.
Phase 2 in the innovation management process: finding and developing ideas
Following the discussions, ideas are generated and developed further: proposals for solutions are entered and evaluated. DOMO Chemicals has defined various criteria such as benefits, costs and degree of innovation. Ideas go through the stages of a structured evaluation and processing process
- implementation stage
- idea stage
- concept stage
The systematic idea and innovation process ensures the high quality of the ideas submitted. “In our innovation management we focus on quality instead of quantity”, explains Schmidt. “Our goal is not to generate 1,000 ideas, of which we have to sort out 950. We aim to develop high-quality ideas and concepts right from the start through a structured approach”.
The innovation management process was implemented with the help of Innolytics® software.
Our employees are enthusiastic about the possibilities of the software.
We have finally been able to digitally implement the process that we have been living for years.
The role of innovation coaches
Innovation coaches at DOMO Chemicals’ various locations play an important role in innovation management. Similar to the continuous improvement process, they have been leading local innovation teams for several years to analyse and understand problems in a structured manner.
on the DOMO innovation software platform, innovation coaches perform a important task: they support users in precisely describing problems and formulating solutions. And they drive the creative process forward at the various locations.
The innovation coaches are an elementary part of our innovation management process. Our innovation platform, which we have implemented with Innolytics®, is an important part of this. But just as important are people who are committed to driving innovation forward at the various locations.
With features like Live Translate – discussions and ideas from other countries are automatically displayed in the native language of users – it is now possible for innovation coaches to follow discussions and see ideas at other locations. “In the past, colleagues in Italy did not know what the employees in China were working on,” says Matthias Schmidt. “Much knowledge has been lost as a result. With the new DOMO platform, we now have the opportunity to transfer ideas that arise in Italy, for example, to our other locations. With the DOMO innovation management software we have taken a big step forward”.
If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.