Annually for the past 9 years, Textkernel has dedicated a week to innovation and turned into an incubator for internal mini startups. This year, Innovation Week was bigger and better, 10 innovative projects were pitched and approved with almost 100 team members participating in a week full of ideation, cooperation and great entrepreneurial spirit. Great minds connecting!
The concept of Innovation Week is simple: anyone across the company can pitch an idea during a pitch session. The company members then have several days to vote for their preferred ideas and to indicate their availability to participate. Finally, the team captains select the members of their team and then set out to create a working proof of concept to present against all the other ideas.
It’s about diversity and disruption
“Innovation Week is about disruption,” says Mihai Rotaru, Head of R&D and co-organizer of the event. “It’s about looking at customer problems from a different point of view, it’s about exploring new technologies, it’s about going out of your comfort zone.” And he adds, “The mix of colleagues from different departments is the core of success in Innovation Week.” This is how teams bring together all the necessary skills and enough variety in perspectives for innovations.
Facilitating a bottom-up culture
Innovation Week has been held every year since 2013 (with a pandemic break in 2020) and it is firmly embedded in Textkernel’s corporate culture. “Innovation Week is important because it brings people together and it allows innovation bottom-up,” says Textkernel CEO Gerard Mulder. And that is felt throughout the entire company. “Knowing that the company cares about our ideas truly has a great impact,” says Hope Natell, Sales Manager North America.
The grand finale
It is at the end of the week that all ideas are shared with the company, in the form of a product pitch in front of all colleagues. This year, the jury and the Textkernel employees chose Umut Can Ozyar’s project “Journey” as the winner.
Umut describes his team’s winning product as an “AI assistant for more efficiency and a personalized candidate engagement throughout the recruitment process”. His team’s goal was to improve a recruiter’s life with the help of AI-based technology. “Our product can suggest targeted emails, messages, and interview questions unique for each job and candidate, accentuating their best qualities,” explains Umut. And who knows, maybe it will make its way onto the Textkernel roadmap soon.
After the presentations, Textkernel colleagues from offices around the world – the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States – celebrated the closing of the event. After all, it is not only about the projects but also about a lot of fun and team spirit within the company. Or, as Textkernel CEO Gerard Mulder puts it: “It’s the best event of the year.”