The Straumann Idea Portal – turning ideas into innovations
Sometimes good ideas come by chance and sometimes by dint of hard work . However, they rarely come just when you need them. So how do companies manage to find the necessary flash of inspiration to turn a multitude of ideas into new, marketable products and services? Straumann is the first company in the sector to set up a global, web-based innovation platform. Since January 2014, the Straumann Ideas site has been available for clients, researchers, clinicians and employees to pass on their innovative ideas to us. After approving the legal conditions for data transfer, interested parties are guided through the three-part idea registration process. The sender then receives a concluding confirmation e-mail including the reference number and the estimated processing time. This triggers the internal evaluation process.

An interview with Marco Gadola, CEO.

Mr Gadola, what is the role of innovation at Straumann?

Innovation has always been the core of Straumann’s corporate philosophy. To quote Steve Jobs: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Roxolid® and SLActive® are two Straumann technologies that have significantly influenced the field of dental implant technology. The introduction of the first clinically approved ceramic implant in October last year underlines our aim of extending our lead in the field of innovation. It is important to take an unbiased, open-minded approach toward new methods and possibilities. It would be arrogant to assume that everything that previously guaranteed success will continue to do so in the future.

What does Straumann hope to achieve with its new innovation platform?

Our industry is currently in a state of change. In the future, growth drivers in the premium segment will include sales processes, innovative solution concepts and incremental product improvements at a very high level. It’s essential to recognize and implement this innovation potential at an early stage. The new ideas website will thus play a key role in registering ideas and, in particular, in communicating them. Even internal employees will be able to submit their ideas via this website and related processes.

Once someone has input an idea, what happens next at Straumann?

Our newly created innovation forum will evaluate all the submitted idea every month. If an idea has commercial potential and/or if it matches our strategic portfolio planning, it will be followed up systematically. If not, one of the innovation experts from the forum will personally contact the sender by letter or telephone to notify them that their idea has been rejected. We consider it to be of utmost importance to give rapid, competent feedback to the senders of ideas.

Do idea senders need to worry about protecting their intellectual property rights when they use the website?

No, of course not. Only information classified as “not confidential” is entered via the platform. Anyone with an idea that is not legally protected, for example, by a patent should only complete the general descriptions and classifications. If there is general interest in the idea, the innovation forum will arrange for our legal department to draw up a confidentiality agreement to protect the idea sender.

Will Straumann also use modern media to generate ideas?

Yes. From the ITI World Symposium 2014 onward, interested parties will be able to find out about Straumann’s current innovation campaigns via our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with the “Straumann Ideas” website as the central communication platform. We consider this kind of modern communication with the outside world to be essential for innovative collaboration with our current and future customers.