A visit to Silicon Valley – What counts at the end of the day is what YOU make of it

Silicon Valley in California: The Who-is-Who of high-tech giants – including Apple, Cisco Systems, Google, Facebook, Intuit, Oracle and Yahoo. A place that has power and influence far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area. This is where Janina and Manfred Keuters set off for Easter. After Janina Keuters’ visit together with the top 100 innovators at the beginning of the year, they now wanted to get to know THE location for innovation in order to gather new impulses. Because if you want to remain competitive in the long term, you must always be open to new ideas and developments in different areas! During their visit there were already daily updates with the impulses of the day.

The GRP and FLS managing directors started with a visit to the companies B8ta and Autodesk. Especially the visit to Autodesk immediately turned some things upside down: The CAD program of the company Autodesk can e.g. produce a complete 3D-printed sports shoe. If this is already possible, how will it develop in the next few years? Do we still have to go to the store to buy shoes, or do we all have a 3D printer at home and just print the shoes we need for the day every day? Waste isn’t an issue either, because the old shoes are 100% recycled.

The first impulses of the day were: “Rewire the brain! – Rethinking and creating new unique experiences” and “Finding the golden mean: Building on past experiences, but consistently questioning and redesigning the future”.

One of the most important features of Silicon Valley is its unique work culture. Janina and Manfred Keuters therefore visited the Stanford Campus where the open jobs promote interaction, community and knowledge transfer. The Circuitlaunch companies, which specialize in co-working, co-innovating and co-building and provide BootUp with the co-working space for start-ups, were also visited and demonstrated the advantages of the Silicon Valley working culture on site!

The impulse of the day: “Open to new approaches and thought patterns (1+1=3)” and “Everyone can be a hero. What counts at the end of the day is what YOU make of it.”

One thing a Silicon Valley visitor will notice is the familiar, relaxed California lifestyle – from casual wear to the cafeteria meeting places. But this relaxed attitude is only one side of the coin. In fact, development and response times are exactly the opposite. The product development cycles for many companies usually only extend over weeks, not months. And what really drives companies in Silicon Valley is the focus on getting things done quickly instead of worrying about every possible mistake. A sign on Facebook summarizes this attitude: “Done is better than perfect”. Janina and Manfred Keuters just got to know this “Try and Error” setting on Google. Google is counting on trying out many things and including the best things in the company structure! Apple also relies on innovations and so the new Apple Center with Argumented Reality could represent the entire Apple headquarters. The breathtaking overall picture with use of wind – takes over the cooling of the room and the solar system – which covers the power generation for the entire Apple campus – inspired the GRP and FLS managing directors.

The experiences of this day then also brought the impulses of the day: “Mistakes we make once always get us further” and “Think big and act small – have visions and break down to current topics and short-term milestones”.

Of course, a visit to Deutsches Tech-Export SAP was also a must, and so the two Keuters’ also stopped by! Design Thinking was the keyword here! The buzzword that is one of the most popular buzzwords for Silicon Valley is lived at SAP. Here, new ideas are developed and implemented in a highly creative environment – surrounded by smart refrigerators and live robots. Once again, many topics are simply developed for the learning process! A workshop on the topic at “Business model inc” rounded off the topic of Design Thinking and also dealt with the development of future business ideas.

If you are visiting the Bay Area, you should also try out the everyday innovations that can already be experienced there yourself. So Janina and Manfred Keuters tested Tesla’s Model X during a joint test drive and also visited Amazon Book – a bookstore based on the Amazon ratings. But also a workshop on the topic “Organization of the future” brought new impulses. The two asked themselves questions about how to position themselves for the future and what to question. The impulses of the day were: “It’s never too late to change”. And “Everything as always. Just different. And what about the day after tomorrow?

Although Silicon Valley high-tech companies and their employees can be ruthless competitors, there is also an omnipresent attitude of cooperation. Valley employees have a healthy understanding of the importance of good teamwork. Promoting internal collaboration is good for any company, in any industry. One of the best known open source projects worldwide is Mozilla. The non-profit organization consists largely of several 100,000 members who work continuously to improve open source. Manfred and Janina Keuters were particularly interested in the structures and processes. Because the goal at Mozilla is above all to make the RIGHT technology decisions – not always the quick or short-term ones.

This is the last impulse of the day: “With creativity to unexpected solutions”. And “Keep it real. In times of digitalization and technology, always seeing people in the foreground.”

The exciting and eventful time in Silicon Valley passed far too quickly. But Janina and Manfred Keuters had a lot of experience, impulses and food for thought on their return flight and we are eager to see which ideas will bear fruit!