Innovations, trends, and predicting and shaping the future are common for Artur Wala and the Divante Innovation Lab. Technology is just part of the story.
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From studying full-time to the Head of Innovation Lab
Artur’s story in Divante is quite unusual. It all started in 2016. The then 22-year-old Artur studied daily at the Wrocław University of Technology and ran with a friend a small company. He wasn’t looking for a job, rather for more clients.
“My journey with Divante started at a conference where Tom Karwatka had a lecture entitled “Sales in startups”. I was looking for some improvements to the sales process in a company, which was at an early stage of development. After the conference, I met Tom and we talked for about an hour about various problems. Soon after, I landed an interview at Divante and started working here in January 2017. After a few months, I decided to study over the weekends. I believed it was a waste of time for me not to take full advantage of working in such a vibrant ecosystem surrounded by new technologies.”Artur Wala
At the beginning, Artur worked as a New Business Developer; he was supporting the sales department in acquiring new customers. He also liked to be involved in innovative projects and soon got engaged in promoting Open Loyalty and Vue Storefront, Divante’s flagship products. Throughout 3 years, his role evolved to eCommerce Business Consultant and, finally, to Digital Transformation Consultant.
“Despite being in the Sales Department, I managed to find some spare time to create a concept of a new product which will (hopefully) redefine a customer’s engagement after a purchase. The first proof of concept was done with the help of technical leaders, product designers, and business analysts and led to us visiting Google I/O in Mountain View to verify the idea. Due to the fact that people from the best tech companies around the globe liked our prototype and we have a first client on-board, I can definitely say that I have the area in which I want to develop myself in a non-standard way. My way.”Artur Wala, back in 2019
At the beginning of 2020, this development continued when Artur became the Head of Divante Innovation Lab.
A laboratory of eCommerce innovations
The Divante Innovation Lab, is where our experts bring their passion for experimentation and development together to deliver brave concepts and world-winning solutions.
It’s a laboratory of innovations—an environment for the discovery, design, and development of breakthrough eCommerce products. It is based on the experiences and values developed in-house during the creation of Divante’s own products and solutions for global leaders like Bosch, SAP or Staples (be sure to check out our eCommerce case studies). DVNT connects bold ideas with experienced teams to deliver groundbreaking solutions for early adopters.
Divante Innovation Lab is a conglomerate of specialists in various fields: people who want to do more, go beyond what is written in their contracts. It is a team consisting of different competences. The basis is Product Design and UX Research, augmented by people from content and social media marketing. There is also a business analyst and technical leader to make sure that the concepts is down-to-earth and doable, as well as strong support and involvement from the management board.
“With a very good knowledge of eCommerce and technology, and the ability to communicate it in visual form, we want to create solutions that will make the world more accessible to the user. With the partnership of people from different industries and systems (startups, large corporations, NGOs), we want to respond to the needs of a business and end-users. We strive to give them a better experience, better impressions. A good example is our client from a chain of pharmacies, with whom we are discussing how we can provide patients with a complex digital healthcare ecosystem.”Artur Wala
The Divante Innovation Lab is a central hub; it’s a place where Artur and his team collect information about how the eCommerce of the future might look.
“We’re very good at technology but that doesn’t mean we instinctively understand the nuances and unique challenges of every different sector of business. That’s why we are very keen to cooperate with various clients, their corporate entities, as well as seasoned consultants from certain industries, which are able to indicate where the problems really are.
In the FMCG industry for instance, we want to work on the sustainability of the entire supply chain – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became really important. In the automotive industry, we want digitize the purchasing process which is now at offline dealers. One previous project looked at how to relieve the load on the call center so that users can have information on the most important things like booking visits or checking the results.”Artur Wala
The Innovation Lab was created from years of working on the culture in Divante. It is not something that suddenly came into existence because of some wild ideas or current fashion. It has always been in Divante but it did not have a formal name. Sharing knowledge, adhering to open-source principles, looking for new ecosystems, building Open Loyalty and Vue Storefront, creating a product design that makes great concepts: these are all stepping stones and activities that have been happening for years.
“Now we’ve put it together and given it a name. The goal is to release new concepts regularly, by creating an environment for everyone in Divante, who’s eager to try something new.”Artur Wala
Trends, technologies, and concepts as a tool to achieve business goals
The Divante Innovation Lab develops concepts based on the latest technologies and trends in the eCommerce world. The shining star that navigates them is the eCommerce Trends 2020 report. It’s the most comprehensive guide through emerging technologies in the world of online sales. It is based on extensive research run by Divante and Kantar, taking in the answers of 250 eCommerce experts representing 8 countries. The report is complemented with trend rankings, implementation examples, and in-depth opinions from 20 independent experts.
Demo of PIMSTAR, an Augmented Reality solution for B2B companies developed in the Divante Innovation Lab.
There are many important trends in 2020 to follow. The future of eCommerce lies in Artificial Intelligence: natural language processing, machine learning, and big data. Going mobile is also important and user demand for mobile-first solutions is high. Brands are using modern mobile apps, social media, and payments to improve conversation rates. We can’t forget about augmented reality and corporate/social responsibility or sustainability, to mention but a few.
“When deciding what to do with a concept, we look at many factors. We want to be the best eCommerce company in the world, so it’s important to us whether the concept will be implemented with the leader of a given industry and whether it fits our mindset or DNA. We examine whether it contains any innovation based on our trends report. We wonder if we have enough competence to create such an idea or a large network of technology partners that will help us. We look at whether we have the enthusiasm of the whole team. When the answer to all the components of this matrix is positive, then we recognize that it is worth doing.”Artur Wala
Concepts, trends, and new technologies are important; however, they are not an end in themselves. They are a tool to achieve business goals.
The technology is intended to help solve a specific business problem. Artur and his team do not choose technology and try to connect it to something. They work the other way around – look for technologies that will help to achieve clients’ goals and needs.
“Recently, we have been working on the concept of augmented reality in a Product Information Management system. We noticed that manufacturers have a problem with showing large equipment to their customers: either online or at fairs. Many products need an extraordinary feeling before purchase decision, as they have many industry-related, non standardized parameters. Distributors also have little space in shops, so the storage space increases with new tools in an offer – that’s extra cost. We then set out to solve the problem and choose the technology for the specific issue, not vice versa. Another example is the call center where a lot of simple-to-solve calls block lines. How can we help it? We will use machine learning, voice recognition or natural language processing. We use these technologies which can help us relieve the burden on consultants.”Artur Wala
Divante Innovation Lab is even more important during the COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has changed many aspects of our life overnight. Many companies have had to start a remote-only approach, and significantly speed up their digital transformations.
“During this crisis, we see an even bigger interest in our DVNT Innovation Lab. Going digital is a no-brainer now.”Tomasz Karwatka
Research firm IDC told its attendees at its annual Directions conference recently that “The Digital Economy is no longer just a concept; it’s an operational reality for more and more firms”. IDC also predicts “digitally transformed” firms will account for more than half of the global economy by 2023.
“As we are aware that the digital economy is growing rapidly due to the coronavirus crisis, I feel even more obligated to create an environment where we can respond to people in need while staying home. Habits will stick, there’s no turning back. We need to act fast in order to help the economy thrive & save people well-being.”Artur Wala
Developing the future of eCommerce and people careers
The Divante Innovation Lab is designed to provide the best environment for discovery, design, and development of breakthrough eCommerce products. It’s also a great place for people to develop their careers.
I’m very grateful I was able to get the chance to develop the Lab. I have support from the management board who understand what we do and how important it is. They accept that we should get a little distracted from everyday projects and involve ourselves in innovations. I’m grateful I could gather people who are fascinated by the subject. This is a great opportunity to develop my career.”Artur Wala
Artur’s example is just one of many stories of successful careers in Divante. They all have common threads: true passion, following personal interests, and making the best use of talent and growth by Divante. Follow our blog for more stories.