Dr. Otter, what are the decisive factors in the process of developing a new product?
In product development, we have to be flexible and open to new ideas. I enjoy thinking out of the box and exploring new ways of doing things – how else could I develop a new product? In the beginning, we start off with just a vague idea about what we might produce. Then we consider the steps necessary to turn the idea into a product. Our team is very diverse and we benefit from the new ideas young employees bring with them and the knowledge of our more experienced team members.
What do you particularly enjoy about your work?
Again the answer is flexibility. We can focus our work in our current areas or more broadly across the company. For example, I wanted to get to know a new area and move from traditional product development to business development and was able to do that. In the lab, we work on specific problems, conduct experiments and look at things through a microscope. In business development, we tend to look at the overall picture: What is the market situation? Which products have long-term prospects? To be successful, we have to look beyond our own horizons.
It sounds as though Heraeus values an entrepreneurial spirit among employees.
Good ideas are always given a chance. Nobody stops you from pursuing them. Projects can take shape very quickly. I started my current project with a colleague about a year ago and now the project team has 20 members from a variety of areas. If the company believes in a project, it will give it the necessary support.