Lena Raschke


Budapest awakens the spirit of innovation

This year our international Barcamp took place for the second time in Budapest. We chose the capital of Hungary because it is easy to reach and central for many of our international colleagues. I thought that couldn't be all. Perhaps there are even more similarities with the city and our spirit of innovation that are not visible to us at first glance. 


Until now I have only been in Budapest professionally, I have stayed in hotels and congress rooms and only noticed life on the street from the bus or taxi. Not really the way I can absorb the pulsation of a city for myself. Nevertheless, I have always experienced very intensive days in Budapest, met great colleagues and returned with a lot of knowledge and energy for new projects. I can therefore say that Budapest is a place for me that makes innovations tangible and creates a space for creativity. Not least at our International Barcamp where the exchange of knowledge and the networking of colleagues from all over the world is the focus.

The House of Parliament in Budapest

The House of Parliament in Budapest.

Budapest has a lot to offer in the field of innovations and inventions. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research describes Hungary as a "science engine in the heart of Europe" (German). In April 2013, the Huffington Post titled "Hungry for Innovation: Budapest is a New Terminal for Startups".  

Budapest is the hometown of world-famous inventors such as Kálmán Kandó, who invented the electric railway, and János Irinyi, who developed the match. The capital of Hungary will become the centre of Central Europe for innovations and new companies. The European Commission therefore designated Budapest as the seat of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2007. The EIT has the task of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship within Europe. The Institute is building networks. Exactly what companies need for innovation, creativity and own growth. 

But how can I manage innovations and how can I build an innovation culture? 

It's a fact: Innovations do not have a uniform process from idea generation to implementation. Good and successful products are often the result of discussions and the joint identification of problems and the development of solutions. Companies should therefore offer their employees rooms and platforms so that they can exchange ideas, become creative and promote free thinking. At Deutsche Telekom, for example, it is possible for employees to take time off as part of innovative projects. And coaches or mentors who are placed at your side can also help you to learn from each other. By the way, the word coach comes from the Hungarian word Kocsi. 

No matter how big the plans: You have to start somewhere.

Google is constantly innovating and few are perfect right from the start. The important thing is to learn from each other and find out what works and what doesn't.  Small groups get together, think about the problem and get feedback from internal and external customers again and again. Particularly in demand are employees who believe that the impossible can be made possible. Want to change and improve things. Google is not the only company that lives the culture of innovation and creates opportunities for exchange. The spirit of innovation is also important at Deutsche Telekom. On our social employee platform - You and Me (YAM) we promote dialogue and cooperation. And all this regardless of hierarchies, specialist areas, cultures and languages. This has already led to a number of major and minor innovations, which we are happy to report on here. It was only through a strong community in YAM that the project came into being that Deutsche Telekom is getting involved in eSports.

But we still need platforms like the Barcamp. This is where colleagues around the world come together to talk transparently about their projects and their mistakes. This is where employees meet who are looking for a solution to the identical problem but did not know each other until the event and are now working together on the project. Or even better, the solution already exists but is not yet known throughout the Group and is now being made available to a wider audience. A Barcamp gives us the opportunity to live the culture of innovation and to embed it in the Group.

Allow mistakes and above all: Learn from mistakes and share them with others. Even from small mistakes I have always made a lot for myself.