“Punk rock was my school of innovation …”

We are looking forward to meet Martin Wezowski, SAP’s chief designer at the Sonophilia Winter Retreat! Martin grew up in Poland, which in the early 1980’s was controlled by the hardline communist Polish United Workers’ Party. Far from an ideal place to live, at the age of 14, Martin fled with his family to the small, picturesque, harbor town of Karlshamn in the south of Sweden, where he spent his teenage years.

Prior to joining SAP in 2013, was Sony Ericsson’s creative director, art director and UX designer for 7 years. He also lived in Shenzhen, China for 2 years while serving as director of the UX team at Huawei. Within this short time he helped to bring the Chinese tech giant’s consumer design from number 8 to number 3 in the marketplace. (Source of Bio: SAP)

At the Sonophilia Winter Retreat, he will talk about a topic he’s passionate about; our future in a fully automated world: The Humachine; Between Human Ingenuity, Creativity & Machine Intelligence.

Enjoy the reading!

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Sonophilia: Most innovation today is happening on an incremental scale focusing on efficiency and slight betterment of products. How can companies separate, judge and cultivate radical innovation and incremental innovation?

Martin: Think further! You must imagine the 10th step so you know that you are taking the right first 3. It helps to think in 3 horizons. One that acts today, keeps the lights on and scales efficiently, this is what most of us are good at “Doing the Things Right”. The third horizon is the purpose for your relevance in the future, why do you have the right to play a role on a market beyond everything you do today? How do you safeguard your future? This is “Doing the Right Things”, some of us are good at this. In the middle is the most important, 2nd horizon, connecting the current knowledge to the future outlook, this is innovation curation if you wish, that builds the trust and active collaboration, budgets, skin in the game for the folks from both horizons, this is where inventions and idea become innovation, impact, new value, and a lot of fun. Most fail here.

Sonophilia: One of the topics you’re pioneering in is “innovation culture”, stressing that these are inseparable. How can organisations change the culture to cultivate an innovative mind-set?

Martin: Give space for innovation. This is an intellectual, physical, emotional, and value space as much as time, budgets etc. We need to trust that people learn from failures, through fearless experimentation, idea association, challenging the given status quo, networking. This is the only way to let everyone be a part of the innovation curation. To build, design, discuss, deliver, the future they want to live in.

Sonophilia: You have a musical and creative background yourself. What was your own experience like? How much creativity can a corporate-day bear?

Martin: I got the question a lot when I played less and less actively. Creativity is a pool of possibilities that we can use every day, we gather and culture these creative possibilities. When I played less, I started to photograph, do graphics design, learned new digital media techniques and in the end I worked as a designer. Every day I felt that I harvested my creative opportunities, regardless in what kind of expression, music is just one of them. There is also another side to music, specifically punk rock. That was my school of innovation. Punk is by definition and in its essence the art of questioning status quo, experimentation, new expressions, failure, the unfinished and the unpolished as an ever living prototype. That is also the essence of innovation, especially in the start up movement, and now in the corporate world. Punk made gave me all I need to innovate.

Thank you Martin! We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Winter!