Konica Minolta constantly seeks new exciting technologies. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Czech has recently opened the first Client Briefing Centre of European Business Innovation Centrum (BIC) in Brno. The BIC concept is part of the global strategy transforming Konica Minolta from supplier of hardware to provider of new services. Based on that, Konica Minolta concludes partnership with accelerator JIC STARCUBE.

The person who manages and drives technical projects and provides technical strategic leadership in Business Innovation in Konica Minolta is Christian Mastrodonato. He is Chief Technologist for Business Innovation in Europe. Mastrodonato reveals his strategy when seeking an interesting technology.

How do you usually spot new technology?

  • Participation at technology conferences usually allows to be up-to-date on many different fields and to easily create new contacts
  • Workshop/event with universities and incubators/accelerators are more useful to get to know interesting startups or entrepreneurs with brilliant incubating technologies and business models
  • Monitoring of specialised (but sometimes also generalist) publications and websites enables to have a broader perspective on what is going on
  • Last but not least, discussion with friends and colleagues, who usually informally report to me every time they meet some interesting technology and people, knowing my interest in spotting another cool idea

When you spot an interesting new solution, what are the ways of assessing its potential?

  • There are many angles to assess a new solution, and it is very important that in the assessment process all of them are taken into account. Just to mention some of them: maturity of technology, technology sector, potential market segment(s), potential business model(s), competitive landscape, IP, development methodology.
  • It is very important to understand not only the solution by itself but also how and who is delivering it. For example it happened to me a couple of times that, while attracted by a specific solutions talking to a particular provider, I ended up working with another provider because in the assessment process they resulted much more advanced.
  • It is also very useful to test and play with the solution as much as possible in our labs. In many cases solutions apparently perfect “on paper”, were not working as expected inserted into our specific application scenario

What are the most important criteria to be met for Konica to buy new technology or to partner with a tech startup?

  • Alignment with our technology strategy
  • Integration with our future portfolio
  • Clear added value for our customers
  • Strong business and technical team

What usually breaks the deal?  

  • Following my last point above, “people buy people”, usually a strong team brings together strong IP and great ideas for Konica Minolta vision

What are the most interesting and promising tech trends recently?

Within Konica Minolta landscape

  • Digital Workplace
  • Intelligence and prediction API
  • Autonomous Process Automation (I read recently an article from a start up that developed “for fun” a so-called "CEO App" and it actually performed better than a human in managing a specific and real business activity for the company itself)
  • 3D printing
  • Internet of Everything

Outside Konica Minolta landscape

  • Smart Cities
  • Financial Technologies (in particular applications of block chain concept outside cryptocurrency)