Exploring Innovation and Human Connection: A Journey to Denmark

By Andy Hamilton and Molly Summerfield

In late November head of marketing for the UK and Ireland, Andy Hamilton and marketing manager, Molly Summerfield travelled over to the Qufora global headquarters in Denmark to learn more about the design and innovation process and collaborate on upcoming projects. They sat down to discuss their key takeaways and impressions of their time: 

Andy: This was the first chance either of us have had to travel to headquarters and meet the whole team face to face. Plans had been made previously, but with COVID and other events getting in the way, it was never able to happen. It’s an important part of understanding our global business and to see innovation in its infancy and how it all comes together. As marketers with a combined experience of over 30 years, this was a new experience for us to meet mechanical engineers and talk about how they go about breaking the limits of conventional thinking. 

So, let’s be honest here. We both thought this was going to be about technology. Maybe even AI and looking at new materials. But it wasn’t. We spent the majority of our time talking about you, the healthcare professionals and the teachers of our systems to patients – and the importance of understanding their needs and patient needs and how that’s done. 

Molly: It was exciting to have the opportunity to travel to see the headquarters and learn more about how the Qufora products are developed and designed. While our trip didn’t start out quite the way we expected, with changes to our travel plans – including an unexpected visit to Frankfurt! But thankfully the detours didn’t impact our getting to meet with Egon and Henrik in the R and D team. 

I think the travel being front of mind, and the question about going in a direction and potentially finding yourself going in a different direction is an interesting parallel to our time with Egon and Henrik. They shared how feedback, check ins, and change of direction are welcomed and that time is allowed for all of them in the innovation process at Qufora. I got the impression that they feel that’s the only way it works, and part of why we have such success with our designs. Yes, there can be out-there ideas, but they are whittled down by the robustness of the process and having the proverbial tyres kicked with the all-important human feedback and testing by the healthcare providers. A real sense of trust the process and trust in the feedback. 

And relating back to our travel – lives take a detour like our travel and the ideas can take a detour, but you ultimately end up at where you need to be. 

Andy: And the travel curse struck again as we headed home. Our flight was delayed from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, and we needed to make a connecting flight to get home. It was all starting to feel a bit planes, trains and automobiles. We looked at the app, the departure screens, our watches and the gate – it’s always unnerving when you don’t see the incoming plane waiting to be boarded. Luckily, once we made the flight, the cabin crew called out all the individual flights that had been impacted by missed or short connections and we were thankfully fine. Which also made me reflect back on meeting Egon and Henrik. 

We’re constantly being told about the amount and value of data in an ever-increasing technology driven world. The data sources we studied in understanding whether we would make our connecting flight from the app to the departure screens was only validated when we had that human interaction from the cabin crew to let us know we were going to make it home. The human feedback Egon and Henrik were so passionate about is really about validating. 

So, when I look back, the value is not just in the human feedback or interaction itself but also when you get that feedback and how it augments all the other data sources to make decisions along the process. Egon and Henrik were passionate about the validation or invalidation of pre-conceived ideas with emotional and rational feedback. 

I’ve been party to lots of face-to-face research interviews and I always thanked those respondents I spoke to as more often than not they would appear on a spreadsheet as a line or piece of data. That personal interaction and hearing the feeling behind what is being said is much more powerful, richer and full. 

Molly: Absolutely, I think while innovation and technology are a huge part of what we do at Qufora, it was inspiring and humbling to be reminded that humans are not just at the core of why we do what we do, but also what allows us to continue to improve and break outside of the norm. Safe to say we both took away much more than we were expecting from our trip to Denmark!