Textkernel Innovation Week 2021:  Reconnecting and reviving a company tradition

Textkernel Innovation Week 2021: Reconnecting and reviving a company tradition

An annual tradition since 2013, Innovation Week at Textkernel has been synonymous with the bottom-up, entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that has characterized the company since inception.

As its name implies, once a year, Textkernel colleagues enjoy the privilege of a week off of regular work duties to craft, develop and pitch their new product ideas to the rest of the company.

Colleagues from different departments of the company form smaller cross-functional teams to battle it out in a Shark Tank-style pitch at the week’s end at a nice location followed by a company party (well, ok, this year we were a bit more subdued and we stayed 1.5m apart).

What is the premise behind Innovation Week? 

Textkernel Innovation Week has one simple premise: anyone can innovate. And so once a year, all innovators are given an additional moment to shine. An initial pitching round is organized and the top 10 ideas are allowed to move into the group formation stage during Innovation Week.

Once the idea is accepted past the initial 2min pitch round, the ‘team captain’ will need to persuade, sometimes bribe, and build a winning team that will build a prototype and pitch it to a panel of judges and the entire company. When building the team, finding the right balance of skills between sales, functional and technical personnel is crucial for ensuring the success of the project.

This year, Textkernel had 10 teams that successfully passed the first hurdle.  

And while we won’t bore you with the entire play-by-play of all pitches, this week we sat down with the captain of the winning team, Juliette Conrath, Product Manager for Knowledge Enrichment and Enablement.  

Her team’s project, “Up your skill game!”, won three out of four categories (Innovation, Prototype & Customer value), which gave her and her team the honors of recognition and glory within the company.  Quite possibly, her project (or a version of it), will be made available to customers in the future. Stay tuned…

It was “awesome to see coworkers after such a long time.” 

Juliette’s take on Innovation Week 2021

She described her team’s winning product as a “talent management platform where employees can create their skill profile in a few clicks, and based on that, they can find options for their next career steps. With relevant training opportunities and mentoring, employees can get the skills they need for their professional future.” 

She added that the software was also invaluable for internal mobility and career planning. From a HR perspective, it could serve as a tool for a company and HR department to create an inventory of skills within the organization. 

In terms of value,” Juliette said, “it’s a great way to showcase how all of our services and technology combined can enable a working prototype in just one week – a way to show some of the exciting applications  and inspire our  customers and partners what can be achieved using Textkernel technology and data.” 

Post-pitch, Textkernel colleagues celebrated the closing of Innovation Week.  Colleagues from our offices around Europe –  Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and other remote locations, were pleased to be able to reconnect with each other.

Textkernel Innovation Week 2021 winning team!

Textkernel Innovation Week 2021 – albeit slightly different than other years – was a success on all levels!  Next year, we hope that we can extend the invitation to judge the pitches to our customers again, as was tradition in previous years. As for 2021 – a big congratulations goes out to Juliette Conrath, Stephan Menge, Carlo Bernardini, Alex Antipin, and Sophie Petit on their Innovation Week win!

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