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German Sacramento Carcia

german-alimakInterview with German Sacramento Carcia

Hello German, tell us a little about yourself?

German: I am almost 50 years old, married and have 2 children. I like spending my free time practicing or watching sports, listening to music and playing around with my camera.

You’ve been with Alimak Group for over 15 years and are considered a pioneer in the wind energy industry. You were one of the inventors of the Avanti technology for service lifts for wind turbine towers and have a lot of patented solutions in your portfolio. Can you walk us through the process of taking an idea from conception to patent?

German: Sure! In my experience, ideas that make it all the way to patent often come from a combination of three things: a real problem that needs solving, knowledge, experience, and hard work. So, first, you have to identify a problem. Then, you use your knowledge and experience to try to solve it. The outcome can be a concept or idea that’s innovative and potentially patentable. But before you apply for a patent, you have to make sure the idea is truly new and involves a real innovative step. Finally, the idea needs to be documented in a very specific way, which often requires the help of patent specialists.

So, German, what do you think are the key drivers for creating innovative solutions?

German: Well, in my opinion, team efforts and open minds are the most important factors. I truly believe that interactions between people fuel and inspire the generation of new ideas. Groundbreaking innovations are rare in our sector compared to basic research in other fields. Often, innovations result from step-by-step transformations or combining ideas from different contexts to fit our own customer situations. The more ideas and points of view are shared, the more likely something new will emerge.

That’s really interesting. And what do you enjoy most about the jobs you’ve had in your career?

German: I’d say the most satisfying part of my job is turning ideas into real products or customer solutions that serve a purpose. Solving problems or improving products is part of that. And being able to learn new things almost every day is also pretty great.

And what would you say is the most revolutionary innovation you’ve created in your career?

German: It’s difficult to say if an innovation is truly ‘revolutionary’ when compared to historical discoveries that changed our society. I like to see our innovations as revolutionary within our own context, related to our industry and customers. Given that context, I’d say the design of a damping system for our fall arrest device was the innovation that impacted me the most. We had very little time to solve a problem, but we managed to design a simple and cost-effective system that was developed and implemented as one of our products.

What is a fall arrest device?

Fall arrest systems are products or systems that are used to arrest (stop) and protect a worker to fall when working at heights.

So, German, as the Head of Machine Learning at Alimak Group, how do you see the future of innovation with new technologies like AI coming into play?

German: Well, I think generative AI has the potential to be a game-changer when it comes to boosting creativity. It can help us improve the number and quality of inputs, providing new forms of inspiration. AI can also save us time on many tasks, freeing us up to focus on more creative and value-added activities. But like any disruptive technology, there are risks as well as benefits. If AI isn’t used ethically, it could be harmful. That’s why it’s so important to work hard to create a responsible AI culture and minimize those risks.

What would you recommend to less experienced or young people that would like to follow your career path and work with innovation?

German: Be curious and don’t be afraid to try things that may fail. Failures are just one step closer to your next innovation. Disruptive innovations never come from a sudden and single idea. They are always part of a long research and reflection work even if you are not fully aware of it. So, keep your mind open, be willing to learn new things and be patient, results will come.