“Hi, I am Johanna, Head of Knowledge Innovation Lab at WhatAVenture. I have been with WhatAVenture since 2018, and I am excited to give you a little insight into the job of an Innovation Manager.“
Ever wondered what it means to work at WhatAVenture? Check out our interview with Johanna Zauner, Head of Knowledge Innovation Lab and discover her journey and main opportunities, learnings and challenges of working as an Innovation Manager.
Q: How did you become an Innovation Manager at WhatAVenture?
To become an Innovation Manager, you do not have to have the perfect CV or work experience in something explicit. It is more your passion that counts!
Q: What does it take to be an innovation manager?
For sure, you need to enjoy the fast pace and diversity – you don´t have just one project, you have a lot of different projects at the same time. This is why you need to ace your project management skills and have a structured mindset.
You need to be inspired and be able to inspire and drive WhatAVenture forward. So, innovation and inspiration are key skills, besides a good sense of humor, of course!
I think you need a good mixture out of:
- Creativity & Inspiration
- Innovative mindset
- Motivation to follow new trends and to develop new methods
- Ability to keep on track and innovate yourself
- A structured approach
- Getting things done
- Communication & Empathy are key
- Team Player skillset
Q: What does it mean to have passion for innovation?
For me, passion for innovation means:
- You enjoy exploring
- You question the status quo
- You try out new stuff
- You think outside the box
Q: What is your favorite part of being an Innovation Manager
Overall, I love the variety, as your day never gets boring. One role that I do like in particular, is the one of the coach as it is pretty challenging – both on the content-side as well as on the human-side: you are a sparring partner offering input on different innovation projects. You are a pacemaker and motivator when the team is lacking progress and from time to time, you also have to be the boo-man when the team is losing itself in detail or falls too much in love with a fixed idea and you have to get them back on track.
Q: How is WhatAVenture different than other companies you worked with?
The thing that stands out to me is that we are really hands-on people. I know, we say that a lot but it really is something that is quite unique and different to other consulting companies. We are really doing the work – when you are on a project, you are all-in and you need the hands-on mentality. Oh – and we are a bunch of awesome experts. We are very open-minded, eager to learn and discover and we are looking for new challenges and experiences ahead.
I am sure you can also see that in our 3 pillars.
We empower your organization by implementing sustainable innovation structures and programs for your success with innovation.
Q: How many projects are you currently working on?
To give you a little insight – I work in 4 projects at the moment, but I usually have around 3 projects at once. My projects are currently based in Austria, Italy and Germany. In addition, I have 2 internal topics to drive forward, for example the start-up validation box we are currently setting up.
Q: In which branches do you work in at WhatAVenture?
The companies we work with are quite different to each other. In the last year, I had projects in the following branches:
Q: How much time do you spend working on your own and how much time do you work in a team?
Q: How is the team at WhatAVenture?
Diversity is our key feature. Our team consists of entrepreneurs, consultants, designers, marketers, business developers, sales experts, UX-experts, psychologists, developers, legal advisers and other backgrounds.
What unites us is our can-do attitude and that we are eager for new challenges. What I love about our team culture is that everyone accepts the other and knows how to approach the different characters. You get to be you and you can learn from everybody.
Q: What are the roles you have as an Innovation Manager?
The job is really dynamic and fast-paced, so depending
on the project, there are many roles I can take:
Q: What was your biggest challenge so far at WhatAVenture?
Actually, I am not able to define the biggest challenge as there is a new challenge almost every week. This is what I love about my job here: that you are constantly challenged – this gives you the opportunity to grow and learn very quickly. And what really supports me is the team. My colleagues are always there to support and encourage me. That has helped me a lot. And Yoga, of course!
Q: My advice to newbies at WhatAVenture
As a starter you should use every opportunity you see. Ask to be part of projects, use every learning opportunity you can and ask if you can join workshops and sales meetings in order to learn our methodology and way of working very quickly. Try also to be in projects with different people, as everyone manages projects differently. Moreover, I would recommend you to find a topic you are burning for and move it forward to become the “go-to-person” and expert for this within your team.
Plus: Join our monthly team events to get to know your colleagues in a private setting as well.
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