Konecranes Innovation Agent Network bridges the gap between day-to-day inspiration and its capacity to benefit the customer. We take a look at the shift towards the fast, low-cost, high-return development it has enabled.
Konecranes Innovation Agent Network was established in 2012, with 30 designated Konecranes employees – the so-called agents – from different parts of the world keeping actively in touch with customers to understand their needs and identify innovative ideas to fulfill them.
Renewed in 2014, the network is now region-based, with sub-networks in each of Konecranes operating regions. Another noteworthy change is the shift from nomination of participants to an entirely voluntary system, which has proved to be a great motivator.
Konecranes 12,000 employees – many of whom are in close contact with the customer on a daily basis, attending to their daily challenges and needs – represent an enormous resource in themselves. Harnessing their inspiration, energy and enthusiasm is the revitalized network’s key aim, and the results are already encouraging.
Innovating for the customer
There are always open questions at the product platform stage, particularly in relation to new ideas, and the Innovation Agent Network is tailor-made to develop an understanding of the various customer requirements and environments. The network’s agents are Konecranes very own personnel, who, alongside their regular tasks, work as enthusiastic promoters of innovation culture.
Agents fulfill a number of different roles. Some are focused on gathering ideas from their colleagues and helping these innovators to develop their ideas. Strong coaching skills are important here, as the agents act as a communication link between the person with the idea and Konecranes R&D function.
Then there are agents working in service or sales, who are in a great position to clarify customer needs and discuss ideas with them. In a sense, they represent a research body, able to act as a sounding board for innovations. These agents also have the opportunity to find customers who may be interested in deploying prototypes for ideas that have reached an advanced stage.
Finally, there are those with overall responsibility for coordinating activities in their geographical area, who also participate in global network meetings. The way these various agents interact while sharing responsibility for fostering innovation is a great example of one of Konecranes values in action: “Trust in People.”
Product Manager, Konecranes Service Product Management
- Toivo Hazanov manages field service tools for the service technicians.
- His main task is to productize special tools for job tasks where commercial tools are not available.