New thinking in world-class

When the world’s most innovative products are evaluated, Cadpeople will help choose the year’s winners. Thomas Juel, who is a partner and the CSO at Cadpeople A/S, has become part of the jury for the prestigious Edison Awards, which will give prizes to the world’s most innovative products in New York in January.

More than 100 years ago, it was a gigantic steam boiler that put the gear wheels into motion in the red brick building that is now the headquarters of the visual communications company Cadpeople. At that time, a steam boiler was one of the most innovative things that could be found, and, even though more-modern energy sources are found today, innovation still flourishes in the building located in central Aarhus.

Today, though, it’s not wood but, instead, raw quantities of data that are processed when Cadpeople’s employees come in through the front door. This core competency in visualizing data in innovative ways has resonated far beyond the country’s borders and it has brought the visual communications company into the limelight. Cadpeople partner and CSO Thomas Juel has been invited to be part of the jury for the world’s most prestigious innovation prize, The Edison Awards.

 - It is a huge pat on the shoulder, and I am quite unashamedly proud that the world’s largest innovation competition based in the USA is aware of a, in a global context, a small company in little Denmark, and, underneath that, little me. I think that some of the innovative and, at times, award-winning solutions we have developed for large, global companies in recent years have been instrumental in their finding their way to us and that they have assessed us as competent to judge in the competition, says Thomas Juel.

The Edison Awards are handed out in a wide range of categories. A quick look at the statistics speaks clearly to the fact that it’s an award the largest companies in the world seek to win. Among the winners in recent years are company names such as IBM, LG Electronics and Unilever. The award has been handed out since 1987 and is, of course, named for the renowned inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who during his lifetime obtained more than 1,000 patents and was co-creator of such important discoveries as the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph (precursor of the gramophone), the telephone, the film camera and the battery.

 - Good innovation is something that really moves something; People, attitudes, companies –and preferably all at once. I am not much for innovation that is only about process and that does not have a tangible result in view. Innovation that both have a commercial purpose and, at the same time, benefits our society or planet additionally has a special place in my heart, says Thomas Juel.

The Edison Awards will be given out at the beginning of 2020, and it’s unknown so far whether any Danish companies are among the nominees. Among others, MHI Vestas has previously won a silver award in the category Renewable Energy.

The work of assessing the various projects takes place via an online platform, and the evaluations will take place until December. Thomas Juel has pulled on the digital work clothes and has begun to look through the nominated projects.

 
 - I emphasize the importance of understanding the project and the solution based on the companies’ pitches and descriptions. At the same time, I attach great importance to assessing whether the project and solution make a real difference for the target group they were intended for and developed for and that this precisely is innovation and new thinking and not just old wine in new bottles. At the same time, if I come across a project that has both brain and heart in it, I will not at all deny that it yields an extra good set of marks, says Thomas Juel.