I'm just back from a trip to Gdansk and Warsaw Poland, among other places and I had an eye-opening experience here. I provide a keynote talk at Innovative Europe in Gdansk on Oct. 28. Organized by the Coalition for Polish Innovation along with Startup Poland and other organizations, this was a great conference that brought together economic development, government, corporate and startup organizations to highlight the innovation ecosystem here and working sessions to go further in supporting the Polish innovation ecosystem.
I was so impressed by the level of passion and enthusiasm I felt among these attendees and my experiences in Gdansk, Warsaw and elsewhere during my visit. Poland has a very strong base of highly educated young technology workers and innovators, within a low-cost market. I found there to be a nice balance of both digital and science-based innovation and innovators. Given the region's legacy of industrial manufacturing alongside its burgeoning digital chops in such areas as beacons (see Beacon Valley) and sensors, the opportunity for this region to carve out a unique position in IOT, 3D-printing and related areas seems to me an opportunity worth pursuing with more fervor!
In this same trip, I was invited by my friends at D-Raft to provide a keynote at their Corporate Demo Day Oct. 31 in Warsaw. Here I saw an awakening by Polish companies present (among them Polish Post, the meeting host), and a desire by the multi-nationals (P&G et al) to access the Polish startup ecosystem. D-Raft is pioneering and quickly becoming a leader in Poland and all of Europe for connecting corporates and startups for digital innovation. Beyond connections, their focus on moving quickly into pilots aligns well with my own belief that successful collaborations are born of doing things together, not just talking and exploring.
I'm excited about the opportunities for co-creation in Poland and will definitely be focusing more on leveraging its unique strengths in my own work and with my clients!