Christoph Schöndorfer is leading the new "Innovation, Technology and Digitalization” unit
A personal interview with Christoph Schöndorfer, leader of the new “Innovation, Technology and Digitalization” unit
Always being one step ahead of the future is firmly anchored in the DNA of FACC. In order to be well prepared for future megatrends, the innovation agendas are now being restructured and grouped in a new unit. Under the leadership of Christoph Schöndorfer, the new "Innovation, Technology & Digitalization" unit will focus on the screening of trends and technologies in order to further accelerate innovation at FACC, advance digitalization and expand networks comprising universities, start-ups and partners worldwide. In a personal interview, Christoph Schöndorfer recounted the experience he had gained thus far and outlined his plans for the future with regard to his new position.
Mr. Schöndorfer, you will be taking over management of the new Innovation unit at FACC. Can you first tell us something about yourself and your career to date?
I grew up in Brunnenthal near Schärding. I graduated from the Technical University of Vienna in technical physics and then obtained a doctorate in nanotechnology. After that, I worked in the photovoltaic field for several years and also founded my own start-up. In 2011, I decided to return to my "roots", where I have since been in charge of management of Techno-Z Ried. Since 2013, I have also been active as managing director of the FACC holding CoLT Prüf und Test GmbH.
You yourself have a background in the field of start-ups. How important do you think cooperating with start-ups is, also with regard to your new position?
Since its very beginning, FACC has stood out and made itself indispensable to customers by developing solutions to problems, the significance of which customers were sometimes not even aware of. FACC has thus always been able to assume the role of innovation driver. The question is: Which material know-how, which component concepts or, in broader terms, which mobility concepts are needed to actively shape the world in 2025 or 2030? In order to play a successful role here, we have to start thinking about these questions today. I believe that cooperating with start-ups positively impacts, and is conducive to, the further development of FACC in that it allows us to follow trends and technologies at an early stage and learn from their dynamics, even as a large and well-established company.
What role does innovation play at FACC, and why?
Historically, continuous innovation has been an integral part of FACC's corporate culture at all times. Technological innovations and their applicability have always been the driving force behind FACC's operations. How else could you possibly explain its transformation from a ski manufacturer to a Tier 1 supplier in the international aviation industry? Viewed in this light, innovation has always been the cornerstone of FACC.
What will the new Innovation unit look like and how will it be structured?
The unit will bring together the Research & Technology, Material & Process Engineering and Intellectual Property & Innovation departments. In addition, digitalization agendas will be bundled and dealt with in a separate department.
How significant do you think this new unit will be?
At present, FACC is a high-tech company operating in an exciting but highly competitive environment. In order to remain a technological leader, innovations must be able to uncover new potential. Materials, processes and the components of tomorrow are precisely what we wish to work on in the future.
What role will digitalization play in the new Innovation unit?
FACC - like many other companies - must constantly work on itself, learn and develop further when it comes to THE central topic of our time. Digitalization can significantly increase our efficiency - not only in the production environment, but also with regard to processes that affect Central Services, for example. Over the next few weeks, all stakeholders at FACC will be asked to share their views and thoughts in order to set up a suitable team for the implementation of digitalization agendas.