We need to get out of our comfort zone and go out and experience new things.

Bert Depiere
Director, Digital Innovations, At GROHE since 2000

LET BERT TELL YOU ABOUT HIMSELF

When you look back on the past week, what was your most interesting experience at work?

I wouldn’t limit it to last week only, because so many things have happened. But I guess the highlight and the outcome of all our hard work was being invited to give a speech at the Amazon Web Services congress in front of 3,000 people.

Which aspect of working at GROHE means the most to you?

The fact that I can do things on my own initiative. I think GROHE has the advantage that if you have a good idea, you can place it and people pick up on it. In my case, I have always taken every opportunity I could since starting at GROHE in Belgium and when I was asked for something I always said – let’s do it. If you see everything as an opportunity, then you can go and go and go. This is also how I would describe my career.

What is your vision for GROHE’s future and where do you see the biggest challenges in the years to come?

Technology is changing so rapidly that I think we have to keep up as a company. We also need to change people´s behaviour internally. We need them to get out of their comfort zone and go out and experience new things. Not just let them be dictated to by their superiors. So I think we need much more initiative from people. I am currently working on a plan to move us into the field of "big data" and system algorithms. I see that as a big challenge because it is completely different from what we do right now.

At GROHE you never stop learning. In what ways has working at GROHE helped you develop?

I am someone who always does things on their own initiative. I got my NBA and came here from Belgium and shifted my career; originally I worked in IT. You can really move your career here if you make use of the capabilities that you have and show that you want to learn. I am always saying "I want to learn: here, here and here!" And the company has given me this opportunity. They have invested a lot of time in my development.

What was it like for you to work on one of the most recent innovations, GROHE SENSE and GROHE SENSE GUARD?

Very challenging, especially in the beginning because it meant additional work on top, again due to my own initiative. But I look on the bright side: now we are building a whole new team from scratch, one that works cross-functionally. I also find it very important for the company to learn the modern way of making products.

How can GROHE constantly come up with new innovations?

An important aspect is that we need to get closer to the customer. I think that’s an important role for GROHE’s future. Due to our three-tier business model, I would say at the moment we are too distant from them and miss out on a lot of information. We need to change and shift to a bottom-up approach, which means we have to react to every little thing the customer says and wants. This is not easy but also creates a lot of opportunities and ideas.

Everyone needs inspiration to build a career. Where do you find yours?

From reading books and getting information from the internet like everybody else. But inspiration is more about being with the family. At 40 you really start to see the importance of the family. Having kids inspires and challenges you all the time.

What is your favourite GROHE product and why?

I would probably name two things that I’m most proud of. GROHE Sense and GROHE Sense Guard of course, because these two products can really change the company and they will. The second thing I’m very proud of is GROHE SmartControl.

What advice would you give someone who wants to apply to GROHE?

As I said, I think that the people who want to come here should actively take responsibility. They shouldn’t work with an archaic top-down German approach too much but instead with a cooperative approach.

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