Is there any case you could share of an initiative that did not turn out as expected, but has produced lessons and ideas that helped your institution to innovate?

foto_CamillaSchahinCamilla Schahin
Lawyer and advertising, publishing and communication entrepreneur

When I created the SAX magazine in 2006, I wanted to fill the gap in the Brazilian luxury publishing market with a product that remains unique: something of superior finishing compared to what was previously known and with an agenda not exclusively turned to lifestyle, but mainly to creativity, art and culture; no shallowness, top journalism, and not so serious, with a sense of humour. The quality of the proposal attracted some of the greatest Brazilian writers. The magazine was awarded for its graphic excellence, I was awarded as “revelation editor”, and our series of artistic covers were invited to exhibitions. SAX was born as an authorial magazine, but the creation of a short name, with a universal pronunciation, brought a major aspiration: to create an international brand and license it to other business.  What happened next, however, no one could ever imagine.

The logo SAX (Style. Arts. Xtras), which I made all the legal registrations required for intellectual property, was being used at a luxury mall in Paraguay. I only got to know it through a massive advertisement operation in Brazil, which included large ads in magazines and campaigns in airports in the South of the country. At that point, many people were asking me about “my” new business.

The responsible for the initiative and register of the brand in Paraguay was someone close to the family and the first advertiser to trust my magazine. In the occasion, I was also recovering from another thud: I was broken for having trusted the financial management of my company to malicious company managers. I just wanted to sue them. But in Paraguay? The recommendation from the lawyers was different: sale and immediate disconnection of the brand, which for me represented my own identity. In that surreal situation, I thought of my father’s advice: “if life gives you lemons, make lemonades”. It was sour, but I negotiated the sale of the brand and the magazine to the owner of the mall. It was necessary to reorganize the finances and the solution came in good timing.

The magazine continued in Brazil under a new management. It was very different, even though the staff was maintained. For a long time I felt the emotional loss. My publishing company followed focused on the corporate market – a more profitable segment – in customized projects with the originality I value and with more competitive budgets. Failure teaches more than Harvard. On the menu, I added to the print the new formats that are changing the way people consume content: tablets, mobile, web TVs, mobile TVs on demand. But I was missing a flagship magazine. I like papers for its tactility and aesthetic possibilities. I just could not afford a new printed magazine by myself, and it would not be easy to find an investor.

Years later, I became aware that the SAX magazine was going to end and I saw it as an opportunity. I decided to introduce myself to the Brazilian partner of the company, who accepted a proposal that would meet mutual interests: if he hired me, I could reposition the product. I found out that it was him, the one in control of the operations in Brazil, the one responsible for the up to date payments of the purchase – a sign of seriousness that caught my attention at the time. Negotiations made, I received the ‘carte blanche’ to reinvent the magazine. With the first edition ready in a hard ‘restart up’ process, I heard from him: “You should never have left”. Once again, SAX was an immediate success. And my lemonade became sweeter.

foto_JorgeFutoshiYamamotoJorge Futoshi Yamamoto
Manager of Connectivity at NETI – Specialized Unit of Information Technology at Hospital das Clínicas

A simple case I can remember was the installation of a new security system at Hospital das Clínicas. We hired a company, defined the rules for the settings, and after 10 hours of work, we did not achieve our goals. We had to start the entire process again.

Since we had a system that has been there for 10 years, we did not think that an upgrade could cause so many problems. We verified that we did not know the network properly; there were failed areas not identified in the first studies. It took us a month to solve the problem.

From that moment the diagnostic became more precise. In the following month, the same process took only 15 minutes. Currently, there is still a lot to improve in this system, but it is now functional and meeting our needs.

I believe innovation always offers risk, since you are trying something that has never been tried before. You have to manage the risk in many ways, but not everything can be predicted. Thus, if something goes wrong, one must find the reasons and keep trying.

Whoever wants to innovate must accept that s/he makes mistakes and that nothing is infallible. Thomas Alva Edison is a good example of this: to create the lamp as we know today, the scientist made 3000 attempts!

foto_BrunoRondaniBruno Rondani
Former engineer in R&D, currently innovation consultant in Allagi

While I was in my last year of university, studying electrical engineering in Unicamp – University of Campinas –, I had the opportunity to assist a company where I used to work to raise funds from the São Paulo Research Foundation – Fapesp. I was the one responsible for writing the research project of three very creative and experienced engineers.  

With the resources approved for the research, and already graduated, I became part of the development team of this company, while also pursuing a master’s degree. As soon as we concluded the projects and I finished my masters, I decide to invest in my own company. I submitted a project for the same funding programme, where my idea was to continue developing products – taking advantage of the acquired knowledge during the masters – but applying to other industries. The results we received from Fapesp could not be more demotivating.

I was disqualified and considered as someone incapable of doing the proposed R&D project. At the same time, I submitted a proposal to start my PhD with the same advisor of my Masters. I ended up not being accepted. The double rejection was very sorrowful. Nevertheless, I created my own enterprise with some colleagues and we were approved at Unicamp’s incubator.

At the time, our company was engaged and hopeful to obtain financing for our technological research projects. Since we had some spare time, while waiting for the financial resources for our own projects, we worked as consultants to companies and other researchers to develop research projects, generally as a university-company partnership.

Whenever we submitted projects for another company, we were approved. Whenever we tried to raise funds for our own company, our proposal was declined. Eventually, we became so good at raising resources for R&D projects for any kind of company and to manage university-company partnerships that our small team of R&D engineers became a consulting company. Our engineers started to delve into issues related to innovation management, entrepreneurship, venture capital, intellectual property and, after 10 years, we are now part of one of the major companies providing open innovation services in the world.

We helped more than 10 multinational centres to settle in Brazil, we set up more than 300 R&D collaborative projects, we assisted companies in raising more than R$ 1 billion in financial resources, we invested in seven start-ups with our own resources and created an enterprise to manage venture capital.

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