Inventive spirit: Endress+Hauser’s 2021 Innovators’ Meeting took place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 500 inventors gathered virtually for Endress+Hauser’s 21st Innovators’ Meeting. Because last year’s anniversary event had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, two innovator cohorts were invited in 2021 to honor the creativity and inventive spirit of the Group of companies.
Endress+Hauser filed 276 new developments for patent for the first time in 2020, 42 less than the previous year. Nevertheless, the overall balance is impressive: The number of patents granted worldwide reached a new high of 738, which is 61 more than in 2019. The intellectual property portfolio is also more extensive than ever. More than 8,900 patents and patent applications protect the intellectual property behind Endress+Hauser’s products, solutions and services.
Innovation as a success factor
“The fact that all this was achieved during the coronavirus pandemic, despite particular strain and additional tasks, is a huge achievement,” underlined Angelika Andres, Corporate Director of Intellectual Property Rights and head of the Group’s intellectual property division. Department head Dr Christine Koslowski added: “There was tinkering and testing with and without masks, while working from home and in the workshop, with team spirit and digital tools.”
“Innovations drive Endress+Hauser’s growth,” emphasized CEO Matthias Altendorf. If nothing else, digital tools helped bridge the physical distance during the pandemic, he said. “But people need other people.” Virtual exchange cannot replace face-to-face encounters in the long run; relationships and trust are only built through direct contact. That’s why the CEO is convinced that “cooperation, collaboration and creativity need physical proximity.”
Progress in many areas
For 20 years, Endress+Hauser has been promoting the protection of intellectual property with its Patent Rights Incentive Program. In this context, the annual Innovators’ Meeting offers the global Group’s inventors a platform for meeting and exchanging ideas. Economically significant patents and particularly creative inventors are awarded prizes. Around 50 employees stood virtually on the winners’ podium for this event.
“At its heart, innovation is always about customer benefit,” explained Chief Operating Officer Dr Andreas Mayr. This benefit can be created by new products and technologies, but also by smoother cooperation or accelerated development projects. For this reason, Endress+Hauser has also been presenting awards for the improvement of processes and the reuse of previously developed solutions for a number of years. Dozens of employees were honored for this at the 2021 Innovators’ Meeting.