I continue my series in interviewing VNPs (Very Nice People) and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to ask Jürgen Galler, Head of Group Strategy and Innovation, some technical and personal questions.
Jürgen, you are an active blogger in your Innovation-Blog in our Swisscom-Intranet. What motivated you to write the blog?
I thought it would be great for anyone who may be interested to use the blog as a platform to exchange ideas and ask questions about innovation. Every contribution is welcome and will hopefully lead to new and interesting discussions. Shortly after the blog went live I received a very interesting question from my colleague Kathrin who asked, “How good is the foundation for innovation at Swisscom right now.”
That is a good question. What was your response?
That I think that Swisscom has all the right ingredients for successful innovations (and has already demonstrated this in the past): a) we have skilled employees with plenty of ideas, b) we are active in many different areas (Business to business, business to consumer, etc.) which broaden the opportunities for innovation, c) we have a management that supports innovation.
When I read in our blog about ICT Trends, it seems that M2M (machine to machine) is on everyone’s lips. Dawn wrote about The connected home and Daniel is right now looking for M2M ideas for our clients, and you also wrote some thoughts concerning M2M in your blog. Would you like to share them with us?
Yes, of course. When we consider “intimate objects” for example (defined as everyday objects that we hold dear and may even carry with us such as glasses, clothing, wristbands, etc.), I am convinced that such objects have a bright future, partly because we already see some of them being used (I have personally run around with a Jawbone UP wristband for some weeks), but most of all because I see plenty of interesting use-cases on how such products could improve professional and private life. For us at Swisscom the growth in such connected objects also means a new typology of devices potentially requiring connectivity on our network. I don’t see people sharing connectivity over WiFi by tethering their Smartphones, and I truly hope that there will be smarter solutions that take us another step forward towards people owning more then one “connected device”. We keep on making jokes about the cell-phone penetration being over 100% in many countries, but if we believe in this development we will actually see the number of connected devices per person rise above 100% to unbelievable levels (fingers crossed 🙂 ). Such as in the M2M space, I do believe that there is a need for some intelligent aggregation of connectivity for these “intimate objects” … and besides that … there is a lot of space to innovate!
I promised at the beginning of this interview that I would also ask you some personal questions… May I ask you what made you quit your job at Google to join Swisscom?
Sure… it actually was a multitude of different elements, but here is the essence: after running product management for some of the largest internet products that exist (Google WebSearch & YouTube) over many years, I realized that doing yet another internet product isn’t really going to give me a great personal satisfaction. I rather became open to completely new challenges in areas I never worked before and with professional cultures that I didn’t know: I wanted a rather profound change that would allow me to leverage my expertise as an internet expert and innovation manager but as well give me the opportunity to develop as a person and professional. After speaking to several Swisscom managers I realized that this organization is open to welcome someone like me and is eager to continue developing its products and company organization. It was and is the right fit :-).
Thank you very much, Jürgen. And if you feel like blogging also on our ICT Blog, just let me know 😉