Business stories Interviews

Global Innovation Lead Roman Meier-Andrae on Car Industry Innovation Management

Roman Meier-Andrae
Global Innovation Lead connected services at PSA Peugeot Citroën

ABOUT INNOVATION
What is innovation for you?

In the corporate environment where I’m used to working, it means to drive ideas for new solutions that are based on a clear consumer need to market entrance. It’s end to end.

How are you influencing/helping other departments adopt innovation?
I don’t try to be a missionary, but tend to rather look for other departments that have complementary focus areas. Typically, I engage in an open-ended exchange on consumer benefits and potential solutions that we can jointly refine or drive to fruition.

What are your key steps to set up successful innovation management in a company?
For me, it’s critical to first get a solid understanding of the customer and where we can find the potential for improving or creating new solutions. Based on this, the actual work starts. We ask ourselves questions. How are the products and services being developed today? What timeline is possible for bringing the products to market?  Do we need faster options to test and to learn more quickly? Is there an end-to-end responsibility for innovative products and services?

ABOUT BUSINESS
How does your day-to-day job look like at Groupe PSA Peugeot Citroën?

The great thing about working in innovation is that every day is different, based on current projects, organizational setup, etc. I experience PSA as a very dynamic, fast-moving environment. This is helpful for my job.

How do you perceive your transition from the telecom and automotive industry?
The challenges are quite similar when you see it from an incumbent’s perspective. The transformational change is to rethink the business model and the way to drive new offerings to market. These two factors can potentially are different from my previous experience.

Why did you start working with professors?
I often feel that while there are great ideas, tools, and methodologies available for practitioners, sometimes the well-connected and in-depth knowledge of the academic perspective is needed to verify, re-design or really innovate new approaches.

What are your challenges and best practices for working with professors?
It is definitely important to have a clearly defined goal and, ideally, a joint responsibility to deliver these concrete results. When paired with a longer term engagement, I see no difference between working with other forms of consultancies.

What value do you see in digitizing the way businesses now work with professors?
Science, just like markets and economies, has its trends and hypes, yet it seems that working with someone from academia can help you see beyond the sometimes short-sighted and hectic moves in the market and keep an eye on solid methodologies and strategic yet applicable results.

ABOUT LIFE
How do you balance work, family and time for yourself?

Family and personal time is the key factor for me to stay mentally and physically healthy and ultimately happy. That’s why weekends belong to my family and me and not to anything else.

Book recommended by Roman Meier-Andrae:

You can read Roman Meier-Andrae’s Golden Rules for Living here.
And listen to our podcast with Roman Meier-Andrae and Prof. Dr. Henning Breuer here.

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