By Ekta Sahasi, Vice President, BIC
The Business Innovation Center has groundbreaking ideas at its very core. This is evident since “innovation” is literally our middle name.
Since our creation a year ago, we have operated as a startup backed by the power and prestige of a global company, giving us the resources and organizational autonomy to bring disruptive technology to life.
This philosophy extends outside the BIC, where we have partnered with startups to expand their business; with research institutes to develop the commercial potential of their ideas; with accelerators and incubators to provide mentors, guidance and access to our advanced technology; and with venture investment firms to jointly create opportunities in strategic areas.
Our philosophy also extends inside Konica Minolta, where we encouraged ideation and employee collaboration via the Big Idea Innovation Contest for the Northern California market. The winner of our inaugural contest was Brian Warbis, a production print solutions analyst, for his Thermal Sensor.
Brian proposed thermal sensors that will bring efficiency, reduce power consumption and costs. For his winning idea, Brian will have an opportunity to be part of due-diligence and development of this idea into a potential product.
This pilot contest was just one step in a series of upcoming, company-wide innovation programs designed to encourage and capture new ideas in an engaging but structured way, with rewards and recognition. The contest’s goal was to recognize customer-centric, employee-driven innovations that allow businesses to work smarter.
The next transformative idea can come from anywhere in our company. Through our innovation programs, we want to engage at a global level with all our employees to harness their ideas and creativity to drive an innovation mindset and meaningful business outcomes.
Both our external partnerships and internal employee engagement have driven impressive investments and strategies to deliver outcomes at an unprecedented pace. While the core business is vibrant and growing, the BIC charter is to look beyond the two- to three-year horizon and establish new business lines for Konica Minolta that will fundamentally alter the trajectory of the company.
The BIC will drive this transformation leveraging specific areas of interest include Robotics, Workplace of the Future, Healthcare, NextGen Enterprise Solutions, Connected Intelligent Ecosystem and 3D Printing. All partnerships and investments that the BIC has made thus far are tied to one of these areas.
The North American BIC is a global effort with four additional centers in Europe and Asia. These centers are uncovering exciting solutions that will continue to drive our success and reputation as a leader in innovation and transform the brand into a trusted partner in all new business areas.
Ekta Sahasi is Vice President of the US Business Innovation Center (BIC) for Konica Minolta in Foster City, Ca. She is an entrepreneur and technologist passionate about leading fundamental business and cultural transformation, and investing in new ventures and technologies across diverse industries. The BIC partners with leading technology companies to create new world-class software, services and a portfolio of new businesses capabilities for Konica Minolta. Prior to joining Konica Minolta, Ekta spent 10 years at eBay Inc. where she co-founded and led both eBay and PayPal’s Research and Innovation Labs. She successfully developed one of the largest corporate innovation programs, and experimented with emerging technologies.