“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Happy Inventors Day!

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Inventors Day Celebrated Around the World

Calling all history buffs, science nerds, and regular Friday-night jeopardy viewers: Who was born on February 11th, 1847? Here is a hint - this person has a tremendous influence on modern life contributing to the invention of motion picture cameras and even improving the telephone 📞🎥. That's right… it’s Thomas Edison’s birthday! (It would have been too obvious to mention his most famous invention💡) 

On January 13th, 1983 US President Ronald Reagan proclaimed February 11th  Inventors’ Day. It is not only a day to honor a man with over 1,000 patents across a variety of technologies, but also to recognize the contribution of all inventors. It is a day to recognize inventors of the past, and creators of the present, and encourages the architects of the future. Nearly everything around us is the product of someone tinkering around trying to find a solution to a problem. As Reagan described it: “inventors are the keystone of the technological progress that is so vital to the economic, environmental, and social well-being of this country." 

This holiday is not exclusive to the United States, in fact, various countries also recognize the holiday on different days of the year - it often coincides with a birthday of a famous national inventor. Argentina’s Inventors’ Day is celebrated on the 29th of September, the birthday of Laszlo Jozse Biro, the inventor of the modern ballpoint pen. 🖊 In German-speaking countries (Tag der Erfinder) Germany, Switzerland, and Austria - it is celebrated on November 9th, the birthday of an Austrian-born inventor and one of the greatest movie actresses of all time - Hedy Lamarr. She was best known for her work on-screen in Hollywood during the Golden Age, but her talent transcended off-screen as well: Hedy invented the frequency-hopped spread spectrum - which was an important development in the field of wireless communication.

Happy Inventors Day - world map with birth places of 5 inventors marked

Hungary, Brazil, Russia, Thailand, Moldova - around the world, inventors are recognized for their contributions to society. Without the courage of inventors - we would all be living very different lives. While we know many household inventors, not all of their inventions were successful at first. In fact, failure is just as much part of the process - along with the imagination, and the persistence it takes to come up with a successful invention. There are several inventions that exist today only because of failure. Thanks to some mistakes, we now have inventions such as bubble wrap, penicillin, and even the pacemaker! 

The Future is Innovation

While these are incredible technologies - nowadays the process of invention or innovation encompasses not just products, but also ideas, services, and even processes. It is about creating new value or transforming existing value. Innovation is a critical driver for economic growth and if you look at the most successful businesses in the world today they all have one thing in common - a culture of innovation. 

In the fast-paced business landscape, innovation allows businesses to enter new markets, improve new services or products, and adapt to customers’ ever-changing wants and needs. And as a tech company, we are well aware of the importance of innovation and it is reflected in how we operate day-to-day. 

Cultivating an Innovative Culture at Seibert Media

At Seibert Media, we love innovation and it is ingrained in our company culture so much so that we even have a permanent interdisciplinary team dedicated to innovation. The team’s goal is to support the enablement of innovations by creating structures and opportunities for colleagues to work on their own products ideas and ventures - either in-house or as an employee venture. 

Our innovation team hosts various events to promote innovation including our own hackathon! During a hackathon, colleagues from various departments (techies and non-techies alike) engage in rapid and collaborative group work to come up with creative ideas all within a 24-hour period. After an all-nighter and probably too many cups of coffee - teams came up with some very innovative ideas, and some even manage to create a first prototype. From the 2021 Hackathon, one idea has even made it into actual production! Our very own Checklists for Jira and Confluence, which is now a free cloud-based Atlassian Marketplace app. 

Fostering such an environment promotes a culture of innovation, but above all, it can also lead to the next big attractive solution. Hopefully, everyone has their creative juices flowing and ready for the 2023 Hackathon scheduled on the 23rd and 24th of March. It is exciting to see what our colleagues come up with next 🙂 

Success is not without failure

Over the years, several other ideas and ventures have found success and joined our wall of fame such as Linchpin, Agile Hive, Space Privacy, and Karma. It can definitely be said that Seibert Media employees are indeed an innovative group of individuals!  However, in reality, not all ventures or ideas, despite the investment, end up successful. While there are several successful inventions, there are of course unsuccessful ones as well. The Innovation process is not all rainbows and happy unicorns (sad unicorns exist too). 

Happy Inventors Day - innovation process with happy and sad unicorn

Source of unicorns: https://www.flaticon.com/free-icon/unicorn_1049997?term=sad+unicorn&page=1&position=5&origin=search&related_id=1049997 and https://www.flaticon.com/free-icon/unicorn_1049994?term=happy+unicorn&page=1&position=18&origin=search&related_id=1049994

I recently sat down with a Seibert Media colleague, Paul Pasler, one of our software developers, to get an insight into the realities of the innovation process. Paul encompasses the true qualities of an innovator - resilience, courage, and passion. Like any good innovator, Paul noticed a problem and set out to find a solution. Because of the pandemic, he noticed that it became difficult for teams to come to a decision or agreement since coworkers weren’t able to physically meet each other (there was no longer hand-raising consensus). So during the 2022 Hackathon, Paul joined a team to come up with an idea to fix this problem! The result: the Agile Decider app - that can be used to simplify communication and documentation of decisions as a digital cloud-based solution. Out of all of the solutions presented, theirs rose to the top and they won the 2022 Hackathon! 

Afterward, the team came up with a prototype that they were able to implement as a beta test within the company and agile coach community. The project had a strong initial trajectory - but they worked on the app during their slack time and given time constraints, they couldn’t create features fast enough. After several months, they realized they were no longer in a productive position and unfortunately stakeholders no longer believed in the longevity of the project. 

Innovation is never an easy process - but remember it took Thomas Edison 10,000 unsuccessful attempts before the lightbulb actually worked. The most important part of innovation is to get back up! Paul learned so much throughout the process and even got the chance to learn about coding in a cloud-based environment with a completely different technology stack. He even took what he learned and switched teams to work on cloud-based solutions. Recently, he even created an award-winning app at the Atlassian Codegeist 2022 - which is Atlassian's public developer competition that encourages thousands of creative people to come up with cool product ideas each year. 

Innovation is definitely a two-step forward and one-step back process (non-linear). But it goes to show, that the innovation process can lead to increased learning, knowledge, and skill sets that can be applied to future projects! That’s why it’s crucial for companies to foster a culture that celebrates not just innovation, but also productive mistakes that can generate new ideas and progressive paths forward. 

Seibert Media encompasses Innovation

At Seibert Media, through various faucets, we provide our employees with an environment that cultivates innovation. In doing so, we leave room for creative and often transformative ideas and inventions. If you would like to become a part of an innovative organization that values change- take a look through our German or English job openings. You can also send us an open application on our job portal in English or German

So before we go about the day, let’s take the time to appreciate the courage, risk, and passion that inventors around the world, and at Seibert Media, have to dare their ideas into existence. While there are several successful innovations, we know that the path of innovation is not straightforward. It is a long unpredictable journey! And even if our ideas or prototypes do not work out, remember behind every success story is a first failed effort.

Further Reading

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