Polish Innovators Rock!




European Summit of MIT Innovators Under 35 was more vivid and exciting thanks to Polish innovators. There was a Dream Team from Poland in Barcelona last week — Innovators Under 35 from 2015 and 2016. They are bold, experienced, open minded and successful. Their projects range from devices supporting health control through innovative drugs, smart clothes and social entrepreneurs’ platform — in short, they solve important problems of today’s world.

All the projects presented at the European Summit were very ambitious and forward-looking. Although, innovators came from 5 different countries, you could not tell the difference in terms of technology advancement or excitement generated among spectators.

Innovators, investors and participants were discussing how to disrupt healthcare systems, create an efficient financial ecosystem, as well as what are the challenges that innovators face. Exciting vibrations were flowing during workshops on commercializing, investing in future trends or scaling up. Focus on customer needs and constant validation are undoubtedly key success factors on the market side. At the organizational level — crucial thing seems to be a great team — engaged and responsible, as well as simple tools supporting delegation and execution. At the personal level — it is good to have a “thick skin”.

The Most Impactful Innovator

There were ten gifted people on the stage, each of them with a great potential of making the real impact to the world. And the mention of the most Impactful Innovator in Europe was awarded to Katarzyna Kamińska from Poland, who works on the drug that will fight the flu. No more vaccines needed. Each year since its creation in 1999, MIT Technology Review reveals the new generation of Innovators Under 35. They develop solutions for major global challenges through a variety of approaches that are changing the way that we live. Poland was invited to take part in this initiative in 2015 and since then I have a pleasure to be a judge in Polish and Spanish editions. Having an opportunity and privilege to look at the projects in more detail, I am convinced Europe is on the right path to become the new Silicon Valley of the world and Poland is well equipped to become a secret weapon of Europe in that battle.

What Is Needed To Make It Happen?

1. Bold entrepreneurs undertaking important challenges of the future world, which translates to the need for more advanced and experiment-driven education of entrepreneurial skills among students and teenagers.

2. Products designed for users and business models designed for sustainable growth. As many inventors have learned — it is not enough to have a great technology. It has to be combined with a value proposition that results in a great customer experience so that the product becomes a desired one. At the same time, a nice product will not sell if it is not surrounded by a business model that combines best sales channels, pricing scheme or partnerships.

3. Strengthening cooperation between startups and corporations. The power of innovation comes with the scale. Corporations can benefit from a close cooperation with startups to make their own innovation pipeline grow and they can help startups to stabilize their businesses through a long-term and win-win contracts.

We know what should be done. It is time to act.