Interview with Aurel Specker

"The search for innovation is like the search for gold"

31. July 2023
In this Sihl Faces interview, you will get to know Aurel Specker, who is responsible for Technology Management & Scouting at our company. So being innovative is part of his daily tasks. He talks about why moths and naggers are the starting point for his work and why the search for innovation is like the search for gold for him

You work in Technology Management – so you are not directly involved in Sihl’s day-to-day business. How do you find new approaches and ways of thinking for the innovative technology of the future?

Aurel Specker: We humans are masters at grumbling and nagging. That’s a great starting signal for my work with a view to innovation. I find problems that we can solve as a coating company. So, it also depends on finding the right grumblers.


And how does that work?

Aurel Specker: I succeed by searching for grumblers in the target market, for example at trade fairs.


Can you learn to always take the perspective of the grumbler? Do you sometimes even have to be a good grumbler yourself?

Aurel Specker: It’s not just about grumbling. It’s about grumbling from as many and above all new perspectives as possible. It helps me that I am always a newcomer in the target markets. So, I always think my way into the issues and question almost everything. When I then hear “We do it because we’ve always done it that way”, I’m particularly alert.

It’s helpful to be a nagger myself. I must never resign myself to the status quo. I am solution-oriented and look for improvement, constantly questioning my own opinion. One thing I have learned in my work: the first idea is never the best.


How do you find out what will be relevant for Sihl and its customers in the future?

Aurel Specker: I am not a clairvoyant either. I allow myself to imagine ONE future.  At the beginning, I test my idea of the future with two questions: Is my imagination relevant, is it useful to anyone? And: Is it feasible at all? In this phase of the process, most ideas die. I compare this process with the search for gold: you have to dig up a lot of dirt to find the nuggets in the end.