On 17 June at the Sheraton Grand Warsaw Hotel the 9th edition of Executive Club – Executive Innovation Forum took place. The substantive part of the event included three panel discussions and six speeches, and in the evening, during the Gala, the results of two competitions “Diamonds of Innovation” and “Sustainable Economy Awards” were announced. The announcement of winners was followed by an evening banquet.
The conference was inaugurated by the speech of the Guest of Honour, Marek Niedużak, PhD, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology. The speaker pointed out that the economy should be opened to new solutions, emphasizing that an estimated 2/3 of economic growth in developed countries is associated with the implementation of innovations. The Undersecretary of State also drew attention to the fact that Polish entrepreneurs must reckon with the risk and acquire the ability to draw appropriate conclusions after a failure. The speaker pointed out that the European Union formatted the funds for rebuilding economies after the pandemic with the assumption of two transformations: green and digital. In both areas, innovation is the foundation, and the key to the desired outcome in innovation are innovators who boldly and openly take risks.
Next on the agenda was the speech of Special Guest, Magnus Penker – a world-renowned expert in innovation, digitalization and business transformation. Magnus Penker pointed out the most important factors of organization success, emphasizing that innovations are within the reach of every entrepreneur and every leader can become an innovator. The speaker encouraged people to make bold decisions and take more control over their lives. Magnus Penker, based on his experience, gave the audience tips and advice on how to take care of the organization and introduce innovations. He considered the most important aspects to be cooperation and openness to others, setting a goal and persistence in achieving it.
Another guest speaker at the conference was Professor Witold Orłowski, economist and lecturer at the Warsaw University of Technology Business School. In his speech entitled “Economic Outlook 2021” he discussed the most important economic issues of the country. The professor pointed out the volatility of the condition of the country, noting that despite the elimination of one problem and a theoretical return to the state before the pandemic, new problems await us – rising inflation, or problems with finding workers. The economist also warned against too much certainty and conviction that the pandemic is over, urging to observe the development of the situation. According to the Professor, we should first of all keep in mind the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution and the upcoming changes.
After the first speeches there was time for a panel discussion on digital transformation of business, which was moderated by Professor Grzegorz Mazurek, DSc – Rector of Kozminski University. Among the panelists were: Sylwia Bilska – General Director, Edenred Polska, Ireneusz Borowski – Country Manager, Dassault Systèmes, Dariusz Kwieciński – President of the Board, Fujitsu Poland, Jerzy Kwieciński, PhD – Vice President of the Board, Bank Pekao SA, Mariusz Pełechaty – President of the Board, Koda Bots and Grzegorz Słomkowski – Member of the Board, Polish Investment and Trade Agency. The discussion focused on the transformation and all its challenges. The discussion covered the issues of persisting trends and remote work in Poland. The speakers pointed out the complexity of the digital transformation process and emphasized that it does not consist only of the implementation of instant messaging. At the same time it was pointed out that in addition to all the implemented solutions, it is necessary to ensure the correctness of communication and creativity, because along with the dynamics of change, people’s sensitivity to the way of communication is deepening. The panelists agreed that the era of cheap costs is coming to an end in Poland and the only way to compete is through innovation and employee qualifications. The panel ended with a series of expert advice for all entrepreneurs on the path of digitalization development in organizations.
After the first panel discussion Dariusz Kwiecinski, President of the Board, Fujitsu Poland conducted a case study entitled “Digital transformation is not IT transformation” in which he convinced the audience that transformation should not be treated as changes in technology. Emphasizing the role of technological solutions, he pointed out that they do not belong to the leading element in the whole process. The most important thing is business growth, and it is growth that determines a successful transformation. The recommendation from the speech is to be open and ready to cooperate with outsiders – this is the way to avoid failure and surprises. The CEO also discussed the use of hybrid cloud, emphasizing that it does not have universal application and depends on the nature and culture of the company.
After the presentation and a short networking break a discussion began, which was moderated by Professor Tomasz Szapiro, DSc – Rector of Warsaw School of Economics in the term 2012-2016. The panelists included: Magdalena Burzyńska – Managing Director, Ayming Poland, Aleksander Jakubczak – Director for 5G solutions, Huawei Poland, Robert Kałuża – COO/Co-founder, Billon Group, Bartosz Sokoliński – Managing Director for Innovation and Technology, Industrial Development Agency (ARP), Prof. Janusz Lewandowski, DSc, Eng. – Professor at the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology and Dr. Tomasz Nasiłowski, Eng – President of the Board, InPhoTech. The discussion began with a summary of Poland’s place in the rankings of innovation and the opinions of Poles. The experts tried to indicate what could improve the country’s position and what are the threats and barriers associated with the involvement in the development of innovation. The speakers stated that the contracts between business and universities should be extended and strengthened, and stressed the importance of cooperation, openness, and the protection of intellectual property.
After a short break, it was time for the case study “Use of artificial intelligence in cervical prevention”, prepared by Jakub Barbasz, DSc, co-founder of Digitmed. The speaker pointed out the need to improve interpersonal communication skills and highlighted the problem of women in Poland skipping screening tests, which is the result of many years of neglect of the system, especially the prevention program. We need a system that will influence women’s decision-making and the performance of examinations. Artificial intelligence is a solution that will improve the quality of the process. The professor emphasized that the system must be appropriate for everyone who is affected by the system – both the doctor and the patient and intermediate persons. The development and implementation of an appropriate system will increase the detection rate, save time waiting for the result and reduce the number of ambiguous results and increase the availability of prophylactic cytology.
The moderator of the third panel discussion “Innovative power industry” was Waldemar Szulc, PhD, Eng. director of the Polish Power Plants Association. The panelists included: Dariusz Bliźniak – Vice President of the Management Board, Respect Energy, Adam Kostrzewa – Managing Director, Environmental Projects Division, Bank Ochrony Środowiska SA, Krzysztof Ławrywjaniec – Director of the RES Department, MAAT4, Adam Pantkowski – Member of the Management Board of VH Invest AG, Artur Pollak – President of the Management Board, APA Group and Paweł Urbański, PhD, Eng. – Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Columbus Energy, Director of the Warsaw University of Technology Business School. The panelists focused on the future of the energy sector, engaging in a conversation about the necessary means to improve innovation. Awareness of the society is growing and in parallel the number of pro-environmental choices is increasing. The experts admitted that a transformation for which the Polish power industry is ready is inevitable. The panel discussion was summed up by the statement that Poles expect clean and cheap energy.
After the content-related part of the conference the Evening Gala began, during which “Innovation Diamonds” and “Sustainable Economy Awards” were handed out. During the first ceremony, companies that have achieved success in implementing innovations were awarded, while the “Sustainable Economy Awards” went to the most deserving companies in the field of sustainable development. Nominations for each category were indicated by members of the Competition Chapter, who, after deliberations, selected the winners. After the awards ceremony, a presentation entitled “For Good. Movement – Time for Change” was delivered by Sylwia Bilska, General Director, Edenred Polska. The evening ended with a concert of “Cookies Band” and a networking banquet.
“Innovation Diamonds” Winners:
Innovation of the Year: Finance – BNP Paribas Bank Polska
Innovation of the Year: Industry – Grupa Tubądzin
Innovation of the Year: Industry – APA Group – distinction
Innovation of the Year: Logistics – Panattoni Development Europe
Innovation of the Year: Energy – Ekoenergetyka-Polska
Innovation of the Year: Pharmacy – AFLOFARM Farmacja Polska
Innovation of the Year: Chemistry – BASF Poland
CEO of the Year: Rafał Michalski, CEO of Blachotrapez
“Sustainable Economy Awards” Winners:
Sustainable Construction Leader – Spółka biurowa Skanska w CEE
Sustainable Production Leader – Unilever Polska
Green Power Engineering Leader – Schneider Electric Poland
Ecology Leader in Power Generation – Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG)
Technology Leader in Sustainable Development – Robert Bosch
Business Ethics Leader – Kompania Piwowarska
Sustainable Financing Leader – Bank Ochrony Środowiska
Leader in Consulting for Sustainable Development – EY Polska
Social Responsibility Leader – Jeronimo Martins Polska
Visionary of Responsible Business – Piotr Miroslaw – CEO of Lyreco Poland