April 08

How and why does Comtrade innovate like a startup?

Change of company culture, intense collaboration with startups, simultaneous investment in several new high-impact innovations and strengthened innovation in existing business fields. These are only a few of the measures that the Comtrade group, one of the biggest ICT companies in Southeast Europe, uses to proactively answer the global revolution caused by innovative startups with their disruptive digital products and services. As a tech company, Comtrade recognized an opportunity, not a threat, in this wave that many are simply calling a startup tsunami. Marko Javornik, general manager for mobility & travel in Comtrade, will talk about it at this year’s PODIM Conference, the biggest startup, innovation and entrepreneurship event in the Alps-Adriatic region.
Modern technologies and digital transformation
Big data, block chain, cloud computing, drones, mobile health or the internet of things. These are only a few of the buzzwords and modern technologies that established companies analyse as opportunities or threats, and plan for in their digital transformation strategies.
Corporate forces have awakened!
On the other hand, disruptive startups use them as the basis for lean development of their digital products and services, revolutionizing business in practically all industries. The Comtrade group recognized an opportunity in this global trend. Marko Javornik, vice president and general manager for mobility and travel in Comtrade, will be one of the key speakers at the PODIM Conference in a special “corpo” panel discussion entitled Startup Wars – The Corporate Force Awakens, and he will reveal how they transformed their basic business operations and remained competitive in the new world of digital economy.
Actively connecting with startup ecosystems
“We’ve strengthened our internal innovation activities and started to actively connect with external startup ecosystems, on the local as well as the global level,” lists Javornik as one of the key measures in this field.
Currently investing into five new high-impact innovations
Comtrade is currently investing into five completely new high-impact innovations, alongside many other innovations inside existing fields that the company covers otherwise. They’re expecting that their main business is going to increase linearly. “But we of course expect long-term exponential growth from the new innovations,” emphasizes Javornik.

Marko Javornik from Comtrade (on the upper photo during his TEDx LjubljanaSalon plane speech)
Successful corporate exit
Up to today, Comtrade successfully capitalized on two high-impact innovations, using their own technology to create two, for them completely new market segments.  “We’re also very proud of the successful exit where one of the biggest companies from Silicon Valley bought the technology that Comtrade System Software and Tools Business Unit developed. This technology is now being marketed as an important part of their own global tech solution,” explains Javornik.
Planning and strategies vs risky experimentation
When asked how to control the differences between stable corporate business operations with plans and strategies on the one hand, and risky startup experimentation on the other, Marko Javornik says this: “We realize that different types of business demand different approaches, and our business leaders also have enough autonomy and knowledge to adapt the management style to particular types of business operations.”
More concretely at the PODIM “corpo” panel discussion
Marko Javornik will reveal more concrete examples and best practices of rapid, lean and effective innovation at the PODIM “corpo” panel discussion, moderated by the leading Slovenian lean startup advisor and mentor Matej Golob from 30Lean.
Introduction from the queen of reinvention
The representative of the Comtrade group as well as speakers from companies Sportina Group, Danfoss, Petrol, Bonier Business Press and Manager Association will participate in the panel discussion. Before the panel, the renowned queen of reinvention, dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva, will explain why we have to reinvent ourselves and our company every 3.5 years.
PODIM PRO package for connecting, learning and collaborating with startups
As part of the special conference content that’s tailor-made for established innovative companies that wish to actively connect, learn and collaborate with startups, we’ve included the following into the special PODIM PRO package:
  • PODIM Big & Fast for organized one-on-one meetings of established companies and startups
  • simulation of lean product development as part of PODIM Playing Lean, and
  • PODIM Reflection by 30Lean, which is the free post-conference meeting with leading Slovenian lean startup advisors and mentors Matej Golob and Lojze Bertoncelj from 30Lean. 
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Representatives of established companies, join us at the PODIM Conference 2016, taking place in Maribor on 11 and 12 May in the Habakuk congress centre. If you need more information about the mentioned conference activities and buying the PODIM PRO package, write to us and we will gladly answer you.

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Together, we are trying to spread best practices of the lean startup way of developing new business models, and simultaneously connect established experienced managers with innovative startup entrepreneurs
  • The Managers' Association of Slovenia, helping managers deal with challenges of implementing digital changes whose tempo is dictated by rapid, lean and innovative startup companies with their disruptive digital products and services.
  • Initiative Start:up Slovenia as the provider of key national programmes for startups and connector of public and private stakeholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem, summarizing its activities every year at the PODIM Conference.
  • Business daily Finance with the media project Startupozavri or Startuposauruses, in which they highlight startup freshness in established Slovenian companies and thus contribute to healthy development of entrepreneurial spirit in the Slovenian society.
  • 30Lean as an established consultant and mentor of lean innovation in already established organizations, mentor of startup teams of the Slovene Enterprise Fund, ABC Accelerator and others, and the leading partner of the Slovenia Running Lean movement. 
Our first joint activities include gathering and sharing these types of good and bad experiences, and co-creating PODIM Conference content for established companies