Open In­no­va­tion

THE FIELD OF POS­SI­BIL­I­TIES IS LIM­IT­LESS

Silicon Luxembourg - - CONTENTS -

BRUNO WOZ­NIAK IS THE CHIEF IN­NO­VA­TION OF­FI­CER OF CARGOLUX AIR­LINES IN­TER­NA­TIONAL, A CARGO AIR­LINE COM­PANY HOME BASED IN LUX­EM­BOURG AND AL­WAYS AT THE FORE­FRONT OF IN­NO­VA­TION.

WHAT IS CARGOLUX?

Cargolux car­ries boxes by air, from point A to point B... Be­hind that state­ment lies a com­plex op­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially be­cause we claim high flex­i­bil­ity in the way we ser­vice cus­tomers. Just our tagline: 'You Name It, We Fly It', says a lot. Cargolux demon­strates flex­i­bil­ity when it comes to cater­ing for very spe­cific and some­times very de­mand­ing cus­tomer re­quire­ments or when it comes to op­por­tunis­ti­cally tap­ping into new mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties. If you won­der what are the ex­act items car­ried in these boxes, there is quite a wide va­ri­ety of things. They can range from gen­eral cargo to out­sized ship­ments, fancy sport cars, he­li­copters, flow­ers, per­ish­able prod­ucts or even an­i­mals like horses.

WHO IS BRUNO WOZ­NIAK?

[Think­ing about it] If I were a doc­tor, I would cer­tainly be a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner... I have re­spectable knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence on a broad range of things, but I can't call my­self an ex­pert in any of these. I like to think I know more about tech­nol­ogy than most of my fel­low air cargo-co-work­ers, since my back­ground is IT en­gi­neer­ing. I also like to think I know more about lo­gis­tics, air cargo and busi­ness than most of tech-staff, since get­ting an MBA af­ter a 10-year ex­pe­ri­ence prob­a­bly helped a lot. That said, one of my key char­ac­ter­is­tic is my in­sa­tiable thirst for learn­ing, a fair dose of cu­rios­ity and a gen­uine pas­sion for nov­elty, es­pe­cially in the field of tech­nolo­gies.

WHAT IS THE IM­POR­TANCE OF IN­NO­VA­TION AT CARGOLUX?

It is im­por­tant to the ex­tent that the top ex­ec­u­tives of the com­pany have de­cided to cre­ate a ded­i­cated In­no­va­tion Of­fice. This was a very re­cent move and we are a tiny team, but in my point of view this sends out a clear sig­nal, which will be fol­lowed by more. The com­pe­ti­tion in the air cargo in­dus­try is very tough, mar­gins are far from lav­ish, so there is

a de­mand­ing need to re-in­vent our­selves and re­main sus­tain­able. More­over, the air cargo in­dus­try, un­like many oth­ers, has not yet been dis­rupted ei­ther from out­side play­ers ei­ther in­ter­nally, which means that it's not ex­actly at the lead­ing edge when it comes to in­no­va­tion. This is def­i­nitely a great op­por­tu­nity!

IN YOUR PER­SPEC­TIVE, WHAT ARE THE BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGES OF TRA­DI­TIONAL COM­PA­NIES CRE­AT­ING IN­NO­VA­TION IN THE DIG­I­TAL AGE?

It is a tough call to make, es­pe­cially for tra­di­tional com­pa­nies, be­cause rad­i­cally chang­ing things may in­cur high risks for the ‘bread and but­ter' busi­ness and thus jeop­ar­dize the core of the busi­ness. Also re­gards to share­hold­ers / cus­tomers as they are rather risk averse, es­pe­cially the share­hold­ers, they tend to put pres­sure not to change rad­i­cally the way we do busi­ness, and this con­tribute in mak­ing in­no­va­tion a big­ger chal­lenge. On the other hand, wait­ing too long to change can turn out to hap­pen too late and prove to be lethal. Strong lead­er­ship is re­quired to in­cor­po­rate in­no­va­tion and I am thank­ful that Cargolux un­der­stood this and took ac­tion up­front. The cul­ture change is worth men­tion­ing as it is a big chal­lenge and touches upon: the hu­man fac­tor, dig­i­tal­iza­tion pace, its ex­po­nen­tial im­pact, its po­ten­tial mas­sive dis­rup­tion power, etc. I am su­per fas­ci­nated by all these, but one must rec­og­nize that it can also trig­ger fear, ver­tigo, or paral­y­sis...

WHAT ARE YOU MORE EX­CITED ABOUT YOUR NEW ROLE AT CARGOLUX?

Very sim­ple: the feel­ing of a wide-open field of pos­si­bil­i­ties and the feel­ing that de­ci­sive im­pact can be achieved very rapidly. How­ever, it is cru­cial to bear in mind the an­swer to the pre­vi­ous ques­tion (to avoid be­ing over­whelmed by the en­thu­si­asm) and ac­cept that the jour­ney to­wards a cul­ture of in­no­va­tion is not go­ing to be a walk in the park, there will be chal­lenges, there will be re­sis­tance.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TECH­NO­LOG­I­CAL TRENDS THAT WILL IM­PACT YOUR IN­DUS­TRY?

It's quite a hard ex­er­cise to make pre­dic­tions, es­pe­cially nowa­days as new tech­nolo­gies and new busi­ness mod­els pop up con­stantly. As we are just one link in the value chain, it's cru­cial for us to un­der­stand what is go­ing on down­stream and up­stream. What we wit­ness is an in­creas­ing level of au­to­ma­tion in man­u­fac­tur­ing and ware­hous­ing lead­ing to­wards on-de­mand lo­gis­tics or even pre­dic­tive lo­gis­tics. Equally, with the in­creas­ing need for trans­parency, flex­i­bil­ity and ad­justa­bil­ity, we may see the emer­gence of lo­gis­tics mar­ket­places, some sort of dig­i­tal bro­ker­age plat­form to match op­ti­mally sup­ply and de­mand.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US SOME OF THE INI­TIA­TIVES THAT CARGOLUX IS WORK­ING ON RE­LATED TO IN­NO­VA­TION?

We are at the very be­gin­ning of the jour­ney and again it looks like the field of pos­si­bil­i­ties is lim­it­less. But first, we need to build up cred­i­bil­ity in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, so right now we fo­cus mainly on cre­at­ing the in­ter­nal in­no­va­tion net­work and on in­cre­men­tal in­no­va­tions with very short de­liv­ery cy­cles. We want to act as nin­jas (agile, adapt­able, low cer­e­mony) as op­posed to the tra­di­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions who act more like samu­rais (stan­dard, pre­dictable, high cer­e­mony) to piggy back on Gart­ner's bi­modal con­cept. To do that we are adopt­ing the so-called low-code plat­forms, al­low­ing us to de­liver tan­gi­ble re­sults, MVPS to use the startup jar­gon, in days rather than in months.

That said, in our short-term ini­tia­tives we man­age to ex­per­i­ment with lead­ing edge tech­nolo­gies, such as IOT and blockchain. We are cur­rently plant­ing the seeds for long-term ini­tia­tives, pos­si­bly with more dis­rup­tion. We also start to en­gage with start-ups and with uni­ver­si­ties on some re­search projects. We are even con­tem­plat­ing the idea of a hackathon at Cargolux! I'm look­ing for­ward to the day it hap­pens!

YOU ARE AN AC­TIVE MEM­BER OF THE LOIC (LUX­EM­BOURG OPEN IN­NO­VA­TION CLUB), AND NOW A MEM­BER OF THE STEER­ING COM­MIT­TEE. HOW HAS THIS INITIATIVE SUP­PORTED YOU, AND WHAT ROLE WILL IT PLAY IN THE IN­NO­VA­TION JOUR­NEY OF COM­PA­NIES IN LUX­EM­BOURG?

The mem­ber­ship to the LOIC is be­com­ing a key com­po­nent of our in­no­va­tion 'strat­egy' for many rea­sons. The im­me­di­ate ben­e­fit is to learn di­rectly from other mem­bers, through work­shops, in­for­mal con­ver­sa­tions, dis­cus­sion etc. Fur­ther, we gain a much bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the start-up world, since we are go­ing to en­gage with start-ups we should bet­ter un­der­stand them. I'm truly look­ing for­ward to the first in­no­va­tion call for start-ups, that we will soon ini­ti­ate via LOIC, which is also an­other key ben­e­fit from join­ing the club. Yet, we are not ma­tured enough to launch our own cor­po­rate in­cu­ba­tor, but via LOIC we have a great op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with start-ups.

Now, with re­gards to my in­volve­ment in the steer­ing com­mit­tee, I must say I did not hes­i­tate long when I was asked, be­cause I ab­so­lutely be­lieve that the value one gets from the club is pro­por­tional to the level of in­volve­ment one puts in. Dur­ing the steer­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings, we have very down-to-earth con­ver­sa­tions look­ing at con­crete ac­tions and ini­tia­tives to am­plify the dy­nam­ics of the club

WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WHAT DID YOU DREAM OF DO­ING WHEN YOU GREW UP?

Will, I dare to say...? Well, I wanted to be an Ar­chi­tect, I was gen­uinely fas­ci­nated by fa­mous ar­chi­tects, I had the im­pres­sion that these guys (or at least some of them) were in­vent­ing beau­ti­ful ob­jects with a di­rect im­pact on qual­ity of life and well-be­ing. Still to­day,

I'm an ar­chi­tec­ture, de­sign and modern art en­thu­si­ast…

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