Choosing Between External And Internal Opportunities

5 questions with Evgeni Rehfuss, Head of Innovation at BSH


Ahead of his presentation at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in London this October 19 & 20th, we spoke to Evgeni Rehfuss, Head of Innovation at BSH.

After working in multiple roles at BSH since 2006. From 2015, Evgeni has lead the BSH's innovation accelerator which drives new product development, new markets, and corporate alliances.

How did you get started in your career?

I’ve started my career in a pre-development group for new robotic based products at BSH, after having an opportunity to work there during my studies.

What are the main components of a successful innovation strategy?

Added value in all 3 dimensions: consumer (user centricity), technology (novelty, protection), business (viability)

  • Balanced portfolio (time to market and degree of novelty)
  • Landing spot for commercialization of innovation projects
  • A story that explains your strategy in a simple and inspiring way to get everybody onboard

Is open innovation worth the risk?

It depends on the individual task. Some topics are great for OI, others not.

How important is it to collaborate with the startup community? What are your thoughts on internal and external incubator programs?

I don’t want to sound like a legal counsel, but again, it depends on the project. From my experience, it is very hard to collaborate with startups as a global player company. Areas of frequent issues are contracts, moving goals, timelines budgets, and many others.

Not sure whether internal incubators could be a sustainable success story. At least three important factors are still different here, compared to the external startup world: people, pressure, and flexibility.

External incubators are a great chance for global corporations. Companies should try to be more open with their resources, which are usually full of unused or not commercialized projects and technologies, and share them with the startup world and entrepreneurs.

What can delegates expect from your presentation at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit?

A decade of experience in Innovation, in the consumer sector. Tons of mistakes and lessons learned. Open and interesting discussion. Impulses to reflect and follow up.

You can hear from Evgeni and other industry leaders at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit, taking place in London this October 19 & 20th.


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