Today, more than ever, companies need to be innovative to succeed. That requires managers and entrepreneurs to be inquisitive, learn and share their findings in ways that are conducive to generating ideas and sparking imagination. Sure, the internet can now provide almost all the answers they need, but the most effective and enjoyable way to learn about innovation is from one another.
That’s why we decided to host the Moonshots LIVE from Bucharest. As an encouragement to broad exposure that everyone can learn from. This engaging interview show on innovation, thought leadership, productivity and life harmony brings together four leading innovators from Romania.
Date and Time: March 15th, 5PM EET
Live: QUALITANCE Headquarters
Facebook Live: Moonshots Podcast LIVE on Facebook
The show is part of the energizing Moonshots – Adventures in Innovation podcast program created by QUALITANCE Chief of Innovation Mike Parsons and documentary storyteller Chad Owen. You can learn more about the Moonshots podcast in this article.
In eager anticipation for the Moonshots LIVE from Bucharest event, here are some insights on our guests.
Sebastian Burduja – the thriving dichotomy
Join Sebastian at Moonshots LIVE on Facebook to learn about:
- Balancing economic and civic projects
- His Harvard and UN experiences
- His vision of innovation in Romania
For 12 years, Sebastian lived the American experience at full scale. He earned his degree in political sciences from Stanford and a dual MBA from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. By 2016, when he returned to Romania, Sebastian had already acquired extensive experience with highly respected organizations such as the World Bank, the UN, McKinsey & Company, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington D.C. and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
In the context of the talent migration phenomenon that Romania is currently facing, Sebastian’s choice to return to a country that many choose to leave behind might seem paradoxical. Yet, Sebastian is determined “to reshape the economic geography of Romania” and to inspire highly-skilled Romanians to resist the global talent exodus and contribute to the national economy and political system. Looking at Sebastian’s career path and lifetime commitment to put his expertise to the service of his country, one cannot ignore a sense of dichotomy: he could have left for good, yet he returned; he is a civic entrepreneur, but also an independent politician.
What makes this dichotomy thriving is not just Sebastian’s pragmatic idealism and patriotism, which naysayers might question, but also a simple, undeniable truth – his actions speak as loud as his words. Sebastian is many things and many people: managing partner at RISE Consortium, the largest Romanian network of investment experts; founding president of PACT for Romania, the new civic action party; honorary president and founder of LSRS – the League of Romanian Students Abroad; co-founder of the CAESAR Foundation, a global research, educational, and civic action think tank; published author in Romania (Between Hope and Disillusion. Democracy and Anticorruption in Post-Communist Romania) and in specialty publications in the United States.
Magda Ropotan – innovation as a calling
Join Magda at Moonshots LIVE on Facebook to learn about:
- The switch from inside corporates to outside, as an advisor
- The challenges of creating the Design Thinking Society
- Her outlook on innovation in Romania
Magda holds a B.Sc. from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, an MBA from the Maastricht School of Management and certifications in FORTH innovation methodology, design thinking and service design, Foresight practitioner training and future-driven innovation. For 13 years, Magda managed Human Resources for corporations like Honeywell, Genpact and IKEA in Bucharest, Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, Egypt and Russia. Her comprehensive experience in Human Resources and her in-born willingness to help people discover and reach their full potential paved the way for a true calling and passion: design thinking and innovation. A passion to which she has fully dedicated herself since 2015.
2015 was a turning point in Magda’s career. A shift of perspective – from inside to outside organizations, yet quite close to them. A human-centered design enthusiast, Magda became their advisor, their guardian, an inspiration – she facilitates, coaches and trains them to bring ideas to life and create solutions, products and services that enhance the human experience for teams and customers alike. Two years later, after leading many teams throughout innovation journeys in retail, commercial real-estate, services, logistics, telecom and IT, she co-founded The Design Thinking Society – a boutique consultancy firm for design thinking.
Often in her blog posts or lectures on design thinking and innovation at The Entrepreneurship Academy and Romanian Business Leaders, Magda talks about the role of empathy. Unsurprisingly, empathy also lies at the heart of her latest generous initiatives: The Design Thinking Forum, the first conference in Romania dedicated entirely to design thinking, addressing business leaders and professionals, and Made by Teens – an incubator of talent and ideas aimed at inspiring teenagers to build entrepreneurial skills and learn about innovation and design thinking at an early age.
Ioan Iacob – the path from reinvention to innovation
Join Ioan at Moonshots LIVE on Facebook to learn about:
- The greatest challenges of starting his company 10 years ago
- The lessons learned from working with companies abroad
- His vision of innovation in Romania
Ioan earned his B.Sc. from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest and continued his education at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. For 10 years, Ioan tested all the waters of Quality Assurance, working as a software developer, QA engineer, consultant and manager with Ubisoft, Blazent, Adobe and IBM. In 2007, together with childhood friend and business partner Radu Constantinescu, he founded QUALITANCE – a company they reinvented several times before doing what it does today – innovation. There’s no coincidence in the company name. It’s a trademark attribute for superior quality and guidance in building revolutionary products and creating 10x WOW user experiences.
Ioan’s journey to innovation, however, was a sinuous one. Not so much in the sense of difficulties, but rather in the untiring search for an identity that fully embodies the company’s truest calling and purpose. QUALITANCE took off by providing QA services to large companies like Adobe, then switched to offering IT consultancy to giants like IBM and doing software development for Silicon Valley companies.
For the past two years, Ioan and his team have been hooked on innovation. Constantly breaking the precedent and setting a new one – a capacity that requires more than talent and WOW ideas. It also takes resilience and a proven method that should constantly look into the future, be customer-focused and results-oriented. That method, the QUALITANCE way, thrives on rapid prototyping, design thinking, emerging technologies and Skunk Works principles. And it results in breakthrough solutions that leverage emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, challenging the status quo of customers from healthcare, business management, community ecology and hospitality.
Elena Cârstoiu – taking business communication higher and higher
Join Elena at Moonshots LIVE on Facebook to learn about:
- The greatest challenges of building her companies
- How she improved organizational processes and people
- Her thoughts on innovation in Romania
Elena holds a B.Sc in Business Management from the German Business Department of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies and an MBA from the same academic institution. She has been in the world of business communication software for the past 16 years. In 2002, together with her partner Bogdan Cârstoiu, she founded 4PSA – a 100% Romanian software company that launched the first cloud PBX platform in the world in 2006. Even after 12 years, VoipNow is still the most technically advanced Unified Communications platform for service providers worldwide. In 2011, Elena co-founded Hubgets, a company that built an instant team communication and collaboration platform under the same name, designed to meet the needs of the digital workplace and increase business productivity for SMBs and enterprises.
Creating two companies from scratch and expanding their reach on 5 continents was no walk in the park. Neither was building two business communication platforms, changing business models and maintaining a competitive edge over the course of 16 years. The talent of her teams of engineers, designers and business people was clearly a valuable asset along the way. And so was the co-founders’ power to anticipate and understand the evolution of technology and the changes in customer needs and behaviors. This allowed them to adapt rapidly to changes like the Cloud technology or the age of remote working & “everything connected,” and keep up the pace with a blazing-fast competition.
From the early days of the Cloud era until the age of the digital workplace that has now taken over, Elena has lived the startup life in all its colors, and has a lot to share with aspiring entrepreneurs.
Certainly there is more to our guests’ stories, which is one more reason to mark your calendar and save the date! March 15, 5PM EET on Facebook LIVE is your chance to learn about innovation from leaders who have been fostering it through all their business endeavors.