This interview definitely made me look at lenses and optics in a new light. This interview was with Timo Mappes. Timo is the Senior Vice President Innovation at ZEISS Business Group Vision Care. ZEISS is a German manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices. They are in a number of different areas from microscopes, semiconductors, medical devices and planetariums to camera lenses and eyeglass lenses. Anything with optics, ZEISS might be manufacturing. After the interview I noticed my Logitech web cam has a ZEISS lens.
Timo is in charge of innovating across the eyeglass lenses. I invited Timo on the show to talk more about his background and his current role at ZEISS.
Here are some other things we talked about:
– Can you tell us about some of your new lenses, how did you develop them? What they can do is pretty amazing.
– What new tech are you most excited about?
– How do you come up with new ideas to test?
– How do you partner with academia to find innovative solutions for the consumers?
Dave Kruse: Today we are lucky enough to have Dr. Timo Mappes with us. Timo is the Senor Vice President of Innovation at Carl Zeiss Vision International. And Zeiss is a huge German manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices and there are a number of different areas from semiconductors, virtual reality, cameras and eye glass lenses. So anything with optics and Zeiss might be manufacturing it, it seems like. So Timo is in charge of innovating across eye care, which sounds like a tall order. So I invited Timo on the show to talk more about his background and his current role at Zeiss and I’m excited to learn more. So Timo, thanks for coming on the show today.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Well, thank you Dave.
Dave Kruse: And so first of all, let’s get to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up at innovation at Zeiss?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Well sure. Well myself, I’ve got a background in Mechanical Engineering, had a PhD there and at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which is one of the large German technical universities. I had a group with eight PhD students and the post doctoral researchers. Had a bit of also a visit in professor at the University in Denmark and France, and well at one point in time I was 35. I was thinking, okay, do I want to stay in academia or as an engineer it’s more or less that would have a, want to really impact. So I decided okay, I want to go to industry and then I was thinking, okay, which is the, well most interesting company and if you think about optics it truly is Zeiss in particular. Also it’s a business foundation. So we’re not stock listed, but just a very minor part of us is stock listed. So yes, there’s a possibility to go for very sustainable projects there and also sustainable research and that’s what interested me most and so I joined actually corporate R&D about four years ago and then there I was managing two labs and all on next generation imaging and about a year ago I took over the R&D and IT for Zeiss Vision Care with teams based in Germany, Jana, Australia, Mexico and USA.
Dave Kruse: Wow, okay. So, when you joined Zeiss right away you started managing two labs. Is that because of all of your academic experience?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Right, so that was in Adam. Pretty interesting cross functional team also in the academic world before and so I had a kind of a jump start there. And it was quite successful, because otherwise I would have taken that position in Vision Care.
Dave Kruse: No, I guess not. And what was the example of some projects you were working on in academia?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Oh, in academia it was working on different projects than what I am doing now for Zeiss. There at academia it was on a so called work on chip systems. So what we’re doing, we are processing all different kind of polymer and all polymer devices where you would want to, for example examine blood or teardrops or whatever for biological markets and we are doing their entire systems out of organic material and integrating optical light sources.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. That is quite cutting edge, especially in the medical space.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Right, so that’s where you had the connection, the medical space and then processing in polymer.
Dave Kruse: Got you, okay, interesting. And so can you – before we get too far, can you just provide a brief overview on Zeiss or folks especially here in the United States, had a little. I mean you guys are all over the place, of course across the world, but yes if you could provide a brief overview that would be awesome.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Yes, sure, sure. So the company was founded actually 1846 in a small university town Jena in Germany and well it was established by [inaudible] optician and soon after – his name was Carl Zeiss and he was then shortly joined by Ernst Abbe, who was a teacher, a university teacher and professor at Jena University and he said okay, you want to make microscopy or the entire designs of microscopes to approach in a scientific manner and that’s exactly what we was doing and revolutionizing the entire microscopy. If you go to what you call today White Filed Microscopy more of less every law you touch was introduced by Ernst Abbe and so there are those two important people around. So that’s the foundation, and today we are, well an international company with 4.5 billion euro revenue and giving you a feeling we’ve got more than one patent per day. We are filing and 11% of the work force goes to R&D, so its lot on just this research. And well, a lot of the products we do you will not be very first one aware that they are from Zeiss. Just to give you a few examples or example, we’ve got three technical Oscars or academic awards for the lenses we do for the Hollywood movie shooting, or there are more than 40 noble laureates here working with our microscopes and something as well. We all of us at the moment while we are also doing this kind of interview we are relying on integrated circuits and if you go there to the high end integrated circuits on your mobile phone, your computer whatever, you might be sure that we build 80% of them have been produced with Zeiss Optics.
Dave Kruse: Really.
Dr. Timo Mappes: That’s what those people are not aware of, where we get one customer there and we are the only supplier and doing the optics there.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. So how do optics play or integrate with integrate circuits?
Dr. Timo Mappes: In order to define those structures for the integrated circuits, you need to project a pattern on to a photosensitive material, it’s called resist. And this projection, you need optics for and that’s exactly what we are doing. We are doing all the optical training there in order to be able to define those verifying searches.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, I did not know that. Okay.
Dr. Timo Mappes: So what a lot of people may know is beside spectacles that’s exactly where I’m going towards making sure that I’m also giving you their feeling about every two seconds a person in the world decides to go for Zeiss spectacles.
Dave Kruse: Wow, okay. And what falls under kind of the eye care division within Zeiss Vision?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Sure, also there may be a bit on the background. The division was founded in 1912. So that’s also more than 100 years ago and again there was from the very beginning it was the head of the optics department there together with other group funds who got a noble price after goods for the physiognomy of the human eye. So from the beginning – that’s what you can see with the very beginning till today always, very, very close to academia. And today we are the venture of the modern precession lenses, so the entire industry is paying license to us and well, surely also the pioneer for modern vision care and one of the three major leading eye glass lens manufacturers that we are also doing and that’s one of the distinguishing parts, the dispensing tools. So when you go to your Optometrist and your examined, there are machines that are taken all the parameters from your eye and that’s also what we are doing and as we have also the division on medical technology, we are doing also the microscope that you get in the operation theater. So all this high end equipment we are doing as well. And so like this we have kept the possibility also to much more holistically understand what does it mean to examine the eye and thus to the best spectacles for the eye.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, okay. And how is your innovation team set up and is innovation essentially R&D or do you have other – how do you think about innovation within Zeiss?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Well, if we look at innovation itself, I’m always trying to fight Sean Peter, the Harvard University professor. He had a very nice citation once. It was this innovation. It’s the implementation on a technical organizational novelty, not just its invention. What does that mean? It’s not enough to just have a great idea. The idea you have has to hit the market, so it has to be successful in the market and that’s exactly how we try to address that. So with teams on the one side to understand, okay, what does our customer want? So that would be the application push, but also the so called technology pull, so where you would want to understand okay what are their new technologies coming up that we wouldn’t want to make into new products, that maybe the customer isn’t aware at this moment yet that there might be something completely new available. So we are doing both and we are then developing the processes to make those lenses, but also quite a lot of the special equipments or the machines, both characterize what we have been manufacturing and to manufacture this lens as well. So some stuff you can buy and quite a lot we have to make ourselves.
Dave Kruse: Got you. And do you have an example of something you are working on now and how you came up with the idea and how you kind of take it through its process from idea to commercialization or how that works?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Sure. I think one very recent topic that was just introduced this year, so 2016 to the recent few and a few months later to also related to other parts is the so called drive segments. It was our approach to say, okay. When you are driving in the night, it’s great when you have got these new LED headlights. It’s not that great when the other have that, in particular when they are not properly adjusted. So maybe you know that from your own experience.
Dave Kruse: Yes.
Dr. Timo Mappes: You could see that glare and we know okay, we know okay there is this need to do something against that glare and on the other hand we also said, okay when you are driving in the night, your pupil is wider than it is when you are driving or when you are walking in the bright sunlight and this defines in the end what is the depth of focus, so this means how well can you estimate distances. It’s something you also might know from driving yourself that you know okay, in the night it’s much more difficult to say okay, which distance is this other car or so it’s a nature thing that you can’t do anything against, but you can optimize the spectacle lenses in the manner that it is not disturbing, that’s even more but helping you to have the distance that’s better and surely when you skipped then also a progressive lenses. You like to understand, okay where are people looking at when they are driving with the car. So maybe question to you Dave, I know with the interview it’s the other way around.
Dave Kruse: I like it.
Dr. Timo Mappes: How much do you think, which you are looking at the dashboard while you are driving. Not many times, but much of the time would you estimate.
Dave Kruse: Okay, like what percentage of the time. I would say 5%.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Very good its 3%.
Dave Kruse: Oh! Really okay.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Yes, its 3% and most people say okay it’s often and it’s true as often.
Dave Kruse: It’s a lot.
Dr. Timo Mappes: But okay, very quick. It’s a lot, but you have to be in focus on spot. So we developed also then this design of the lenses a feature that you are just in the proper distance to that dashboard, and well you need at least two areas the dashboard and the road but this as we call that channel in-between. It can be a bit steeper than when you have to get something for reading for example, because that will be just the hood of your car that might be interesting to look at but not that much when you are driving. So we combined all of this, so to have with an eye tracking systems so we joined. We teamed up with an institute that is working for the leading German car manufactures towards doing the dashboards. So we teamed up with them and said okay, we are doing that in the same ladder first, but then also really in real time environment. So we had people driving with our cars and to have in so called eye tracking systems with them, so we could see where, how their eyes were moving and which part of the special they were using. Because ideally you would want to make it very comfortable that you’ve got the entire designer for lenses should be in a manner that you’re as much relaxed anyhow possible to drive safe. So that was the one part. Then also I was mentioning to take this larger pupil size into account because if you do an optical design, you can whether take a so called chief ray, so just one ray or you can take a bundle of rays and in the night you have to take a large bundle because you’ve got a large pupil. That makes it all a bit more difficult, but okay we got the knowhow to do that and eventually I like to say this glare that you are perceiving, could you block – that’s completely blocking this particular this blue light, because you kept this cold headlights. So it’s a lot of blue in there, but if you would do that, the headlights wouldn’t work anymore. So that’s not the means, but more to say okay, you would like to reduce it only to how we found 18% and we reduced it to 18% in this short wave length and like this, it’s a combination of these three factors that we made into a product and shipped out in the market.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. And that’s just fits within a normal eye glass lens. [Cross Talk] Go ahead.
Dr. Timo Mappes: And the idea then was also to say, okay we would renew from our customers – well, ideally we as a manufacturer, we would like to sell as many lenses as possible. But we know that there were quite a lot of customers, consumers out there that say okay they want to have only part pair of glasses. So they were designed in a manner that they can still be an all purpose glass. So optimize for driving, but if you buy only one, that’s the one.
Dave Kruse: Interesting.
Dr. Timo Mappes: So that’s also to the price point in a way that it’s not the most expense one, it’s a very good one, so it’s not cheap, that’s not the case, but its good and good for all day purpose.
Dave Kruse: Wow. So how did you come up with the idea? And so you came up with the idea, but then the next step, how did you start testing it out if this was a good idea or not. Because you don’t know necessarily until you are kind of talking to the people and customers and yes, so how did you go through that process?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Yes, that’s a quite interesting process. So you can say it’s like a step process that you’ve got like a brain storming. For example in the beginning, okay what could be the idea, so where are their needs, are needs that you can see coming up. And then we evaluate first the principals, okay what do we do then? We do simulations, if that would work with the spectacle lens. So if it is possible to do this at all and then surely we have to get first samples, we have to get wearer trials, and so many other trials really jut to know, okay, how does that work with the people, how it is perceived, what we could optimize. And only when it’s perfect, we bring it to the factories and thus to the market.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, and how many – these type of projects do you have going on at any one time that you kind of – you know they are all different, probably in different processes, they are in different points in the process, but yes, how many projects do you have.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Right. So surely, we get some that are on product, others that are on processes. The tricky part is those that you have given product, so that will be future product. That’s where I have to be, well sorry, that I can’t disclose them, each ones they are working on.
Dave Kruse: Fair enough, fair enough.
Dr. Timo Mappes: But yes, I do ask. So there are more in the pipeline, sure. But I think for this specific one I just mentioned for driving that we are getting a pretty good solution out there. So we are receiving extraordinary feedback there. For example, we also team up then with Mercedes for the car manufacturer, for the introduction of a new E class, because they said they are doing the best cars and we are doing the best spectacles and so we teamed up there also for the introduction.
Dave Kruse: And how much of your time and your labs time or innovation team’s time do you spend on thinking about new ideas versus improving existing products.
Dr. Timo Mappes: It’s a very fair question. Based like an ongoing process to say okay, to think about those new ideas that you wouldn’t say okay and like on Friday morning you have to be creative, it doesn’t work. You can’t say okay that’s, you just can’t, well you just can’t order them. I think what’s very important that you got this team spirit and that it’s not again of what you have for a long time in a lot of companies, the spiral thinking. So that you have the different divisions very strictly separated for organizatorial – we just have to have this strict reporting line for sure, but the creative parts are done in a lot of cases just in-between. That when you get the people together and you get there, an environment that they want to talk about stuff. And that’s what we try to foster as much as possible.
Dave Kruse: And these are people on your team or would they be outside, like potential customers.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Both.
Dave Kruse: Both okay.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Both. So surely those in the teams, they got defined focus, but also everybody else is invited and we do get quite some ideas and then also discussions from outside, and that’s exactly what I meant, what is very important that you have to do this across the company and not just in one defined area like R&D.
Dave Kruse: And who…
Dr. Timo Mappes: To get two of those at least.
Dave Kruse: Yes, yes and who is on you team and how many people are approximately on your team
Dr. Timo Mappes: Okay, there are, well everything, physicist, engineers, chemist; it’s an international team in each of the location. So I mentioned earlier, apart from the U.S. we have got Australia, China, Mexico, Germany and all together these are about 150 people and what’s very important there to have just those team players that I was mentioning. So this team is sort of extraordinary important and we are also quite selective on how to take on board there, this team playing essentially and then to have really very good people and I think we got the environment that its then and when you got good people they attract very good people, so that’s really fun.
Dave Kruse: I bet. And is there any certain, I’m curious – any sort of skill set or that’s in high demand that’s hard to find that if they come along you automatically hire them because they are just so rare.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Got your point. Well the challenge is surely that what we are doing this entire lens design, that’s something if you think about spectacle lenses, that’s something very special, that’s something that you don’t, are not trained at the university. So that’s always what we have to train our staff, ourselves so we are hiring somebody with a good and solid background for example in optics simulation and then we train them on particular our topic, to say okay that’s where we want to go with them.
Dave Kruse: That makes sense. Okay, and…
Dr. Timo Mappes: Yes, and then its process engineering. If you think about the spectacle lens today, it has a polymer body and then you get this so called hard coat on top, so to make it scratch resistant. And then on top there is a so called AR coatings, so an entry reflection coating and this anti reflection coating, then it’s inorganic material and well, its sounds very, well simple but the accuracy and in particular the stability, that they have to withstand those spectacles no matter if you leave them in your car when you are somewhere in Mamie and that your care in standing in the sun or if you go skiing with them, and then you’re having them drop into the snow and there is quite a temperature difference and they truly have to withstand that. So before anything comes to the market, we give them quite extensive testing that will withstand all of this different environments or if people are going to a holiday to every parts of the world. So to be stable in any climate and surely also be scratch resistant that – but as part it’s technically possibly that you can clean them easily and that they last long time.
Dave Kruse: Yes. I never thought that you have so many external factors you have to consider. I’ve worn glasses probably for 20 years now and so maybe I have Zeiss in my face, I don’t know I’d have to figure that out if. I probably do. Do you know?
Dr. Timo Mappes: If they are good, you have.
Dave Kruse: Yes it’s right, they’ve lasted a long time, I bet I do. What – kind of a side question, do you know what percentage of the market of eye glasses you have in the United States?
Dr. Timo Mappes: If you go to the top tier, so you always distinguish okay do we have just those very low cost, spectacles that you can more or less throw it away or if you just get them highly individualized, if those highly individualized ones we’ve got a very significant share. In particular as I was mentioning, that this so called free form technology. So when you individualize the spectacle really to both, to the shape of your eye but also the share of your cornier, so that just the outmost part of your eye. If you do this, highly individualized, the entire technology there is coming from us. So the completion also licenses this. But so you could say even if you are our buying completion, a lot of the technology in there is by Zeiss.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. Okay, that makes sense. I’m guessing there is a higher percentage of employees at Zeiss wear glasses than the rest of the world, you guys have to test your own product or is it like contact lenses. And so – and you might not be able to disclose much, because if it’s an R&D. But I am curious, what technologies you are most excited about that you could incorporate into your lenses or maybe even use for testing?, You mentioned the eye tracking to better develop you lenses. If it’s anything like, anything that’s online reality or computer vision or what are your. Is there anything you can share, that’s not confidential.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Sure. So well, they are confidential, no I can’t, but I can give you a bit of the framework. Also to make you understand they are a bit more of the background. So I mentioned we’ve got this or you mentioned in the introduction already, we’ve got this individual parts of Zeiss individual divisions and then we are benefiting from the other divisions. For example, if you think about industrial metrology, where we are doing this extraordinary high position measuring devices and they are also they are benefiting from their knowledge to control this free from surfaces. So to make, our products, not only fitting, ideal to the customer need, but also to control that it is stable like this, always the same. And given you a feeling there is a lot of talk about this, Industry 4.0. In the end that’s what we are doing for more than 15 years now, because we are taking the parameters of the highest, individual person who wants to have this high end spectacle glasses, optimized to his or her personal needs and this is then calculated. So each of them is calculated individually and then individually fixed to the machine where it is surfaced, polished, and then also to that parameter is polished and then going through the process is whatever you wanted as heart quote or AR quote or whatever. But you have good really, highly individual life pair. Its giving you the feeling also, it’s about 200 parameters, so variable that you are using to define such a free form glass and then I think it’s easy to calculate. So, the one that is made for you, is make for you once and that’s it. Never the same again, because if you are measured two or three years later your eye is just well as your entire body is developing. So after two years or so you will have different parameters and thus a different glass would be made.
Dave Kruse: Interesting, what’s one of those parameters that would surprise us. I mean that’s a lot of parameters. Can you give an example of some of the parameters?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Sure, one thing for example, it’s what we are calling, it’s a white front measurement that we are doing. So we are really taking into account the entire optical surfaces. So not only the power that your lens, the natural lens has but also how is the share of the lenses. And that’s exactly what I meant earlier. When you think about your pupil size, you can imagine when your pupil size is small there is another part of your lenses that is used. That when your pupil size is large and you get the larger portion of the lenses. And truly when your lens is not shaped like, like a bow lens which is never the case, this will have a large influence and this always rise from human, from one human being to the next human being. So even if you got your part of having twins, there it’s the same. If they see the same environmental parameters, there it would be identical, buy otherwise it’s not identical, and that will be some of the parameters just to take into account. So all those shapes, the thicknesses, whatever you want and that’s where we benefit from medical technology, because if you go to ophthalmology so the entire science of vision, you need also this based on measurements and that as I mentioned earlier. So we have got this medical technology that we are applying there and we are transferring to the spectacle world.
Dave Kruse: No, that makes sense. My wife used to do some work with eye researchers so she was defiantly familiar. The retina in particular, so she is defiantly familiar with your equipment for imaging.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Yes, surely, surely. Like for example the so called OCT, so Optical Coherence Tomography that’s also something we introduced. So that’s a lot that most people are not aware in the first instance, that’s this size but it has a large impact. Of course, well when your wife has been working in this filed your – I think you are well aware of that the eye can be seen as an external part of the brain and that’s for example also why we introduced and owned Zeiss Vision Science Lab at the University of Tübingen, which is among the top there universities in Europe on Ophthalmology, because we wanted to understand that they are also more holistically. So not only the optical operators, but also what is the brain doing to that information. So in particular if you think about pathologies, so when there are some kinds of disorders, how can we address that best. So to always have it – the entire understanding it does have the possibility to have the best solution.
Dave Kruse: Got you, okay, that makes sense. And we are running out time here and I still have a couple of questions. One is, how – yes, when you are thinking about a new idea, how do you balance like let say evolutionary kind of a technology versus like revolutionary, because revolutionary of course takes a lot longer. Like do you look at the capability of your team and how you can increment the technology to make it better or are you more focused on kind of incremental improvements versus like completely paradigm shifts. What’s your thought process?
Dr. Timo Mappes: Thank you. In the end we have to do this in the portfolio. There is no way around that. So some part of your workforce has to go to optimizing the process here you get anyway. So that would be the evolutionary that we are just mentioning. But on the other hand what I personally think is extraordinarily important and what we have very much addressing also is what you call disruptive. So something that might completely change an entire field or film. This means that high risk, this means that all of them would really hit the ground. So you have to carefully decide, okay which – follow which step and also to have to defined milestones when to say okay, now this technology won’t make it. Are we going to focus on another one? That’s also why I’m with any high tech company that working always feels that to have it followed for a while, but then discontinued, because you realize okay they have something else that’s even more interesting. So it’s a portfolio, it’s a mix. We are doing both.
Dave Kruse: Got you, and at what point, when you are testing an idea or researching one do you shut it down. Do you have an example where, those were something that were really promising, but then at some point like oh! This isn’t going to work. It’s going to cost too much money and it’s going to take too long or how do you when to shut down a project?
Dr. Timo Mappes: I’ll give you an example from another field, because I think that is a very good example. If you look also at Ernst Abbe that I mentioned earlier [inaudible] microscopy, there is a famous equation that when we said okay, the resolution is – the resolution minimum is half of the wave length. Now the visual goes down to 480 nanometers, and if you go to the again to the semiconductor technology, at the moment you are using 193 nanometers and there was lot of discussion, okay how could you make this better, but at one point you just don’t have any light source any more or you would say, okay I’ll put all material that there is in the world will be absorbing for this wavelength not refracting anymore. So we sat with some other industry players okay, let’s go for soft x-rays. So 13.5 nanometers or extreme UV, you can call it in both directions, but you cannot use lenses anymore, you’ve got mirrors only, and given you ultimately a feeling of what does that mean. So this 13.5 nanometers that’s about what grass – the speed, grass is growing in half a minute. So this distance that’s the wave length that we are using. And there a lot of competitors who discontinued this technology, because they said you have to invest just too much money to go in this direction and that’s in particular something which is very understandable if you are a stock listed company, because then you have to show the short term success. That’s I think another very benefit that we have that we are owned by a foundation. So we are run like any other company, but we are owned by foundations. So the money that we are earning is to a major part just going back to the R&D, and that’s how we are able to follow this and now we are at the breakthrough to say okay, this will be possible and that will make a major change to the entire semiconductor manufacturing technologies, but all others discontinued. So that will put also in a pretty favorable position, but it’s one of those typical things where technologies otherwise were discontinued because the risk was rather estimated too high or the money you would have to put in there.
Dave Kruse: Yes, you guys are in an ideal ownership structure for R&D, that’s nice. I can see why it’s an exciting place to work, because you have a little more long term vision than the quarter to quarter perspective of some other public companies, that’s nice.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Right.
Dave Kruse: And I was curious going back and you probably can’t, but you know you talked about disruptive technologies and is there an example that you can provide or is that – are all of them confidential?
Dr. Timo Mappes: There they are confidential, but I can give you another example, also a very recent one. You know Nike the sports company, they wanted to have sports glasses, so for athletics, for top, top athletics like for the Olympic Games. And now if you want to have those glasses, they have to be really distortion free and you have to have a maximum view. And they were then also approaching us and saying, okay can you make that? And it was quite interesting, because from a theoretical point of view you could say okay, you can calculate this and this has a – you could imagine the surface is not completely smooth, but you have to put an edge within this surface of the lens, so methodology. So everybody said okay, that’s something which in theory is the solution, but that’s impossible to manufacture. And there we had the chance to use the technologies we’ve developed in this other business sectors. Like for example in the industrial metrology and so on to do that solution and it’s just now, I think it was last week that it was introduced to the market.
Dave Kruse: Well, that’s exciting.
Dr. Timo Mappes: And so that’s for example also where we said okay, we want to go into this direction. It is a bit risky to go also there, to do these moulds with an extraordinary precession, because sure when you got those athletes in the Olympic Games, they have to perform to the max and they also wear their eye glasses and have to perform to the max. So that’s probably one field.
Dave Kruse: Yes, that’s a good example. Okay, and the last question, you think a lot about innovation and just how to bring technologies to the market. Do you have any advice for the audience, you know whether it’s finding the correct mentors or how do you get ideas, or yes, what are your thoughts on how innovation should work and how the people should think about it.
Dr. Timo Mappes: I think one thing I also mentioned earlier already is you can’t force to have these new ideas. But something that you develop, I think that’s really been intern interdisciplinary and took a lot of intercultural discussions, and I think also it helps a lot of if you got the kind of mentor’s idea. But maybe some of it is just a role model where you would say okay, there is the one or the other person who did that in a good manner. Well, that’s for me for example, this Abbe I was mentioning earlier, so it’s – because it was lot of, okay understanding something and then making the product out of it and being brave enough to also go really new paths, something that people have not tried yet. Still, you have to know okay, when to stop doing this, when it’s leading nowhere and that’s also trivial. I think that’s maybe the key parts there. So discussing and also explaining the ideas you have. When it’s a very good idea you first file it for patent and then you talk with more people about it. But sometimes it’s also the same between when you go the first idea, you say okay you have to narrow or discuss it with someone else and then it becomes a really great idea. Then you carry it together to the patent office and then you make a product out of it.
Dave Kruse: Its good and I like the world you use, brave, because I think that’s a good point, whether it’s you are in a small startup or if you are in a large company, you would have to brave enough to put an idea forward and stand behind it and be brave enough to close the project down or cancel it if it’s not going well.
Dr. Timo Mappes: Exactly
Dave Kruse: That’s good.
Dr. Timo Mappes: That’s a very good point, and that’s a critical point that you have to, then also say okay no now it’s enough. Yes.
Dave Kruse: Interesting okay. Well, this is great and it’s a good way to end the interview and Timo, definitely I appreciate your time and thoughts and I learnt a ton about lenses. So I’ll look at my glasses a lot differently and innovation too. So I definitely appreciate it.
Dr. Timo Mappes: You’re most welcome Dave and thank you also for giving me the opportunity to talk with you as well.
Dave Kruse: Definitely and thanks to everyone for listening to another episode of Flyover Labs. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and we’ll see you next time. Thanks everyone. Thanks Timo.