Employee story

From ideas to game changers - Converting and idea into reality is a rollercoaster of emotions, frustrations and hope. Accept this fact and push for it.

Ideas are just ideas until someone turns them into something real. You could be the next one to do so.

Today’s technology stacks provide opportunities for dreamers. We are being given the chance to influence big companies and make a true impact.

In the ebullient technological environment that surrounds us, opportunities for change and improvement are endless if we pay attention and are flexible. Here is a story about how small ideas were transformed into great opportunities. It is the story of a learning process that highlights the realities of the software-related industry.
My name is Javier Jiménez Roda. I joined Roche back in 2010 and my current position is Lead Software Architect for Analyzers in Roche Molecular Diagnostics. I’m based in Rotkreuz, Switzerland, and I’m originally from Spain. I joined Roche Spain in Sant Cugat and moved to Switzerland in 2015. I’m a geek, a techie. Someone who loves technology and likes to try out new things. I have a restless mind, to say the least.
I'm the kind of person that reads an article and immediately thinks about how to apply it in my environment. At the end of the day I have hundreds of ideas. At the end of the week there are a handful of them left and at the end of month only a couple have survived.

That’s also the starting point of this story. You have something in your hands (maybe only in your head) that looks really like a ‘great’ idea. You are in a company which facilitates an environment conducive to ideas, so you think you have it easy, right?
Three of my ideas turned into patents and two into formal projects. What’s more, I still have some ideas that have the ‘flying at the higher levels’ momentum – and I’m hoping they will materialize.
Unfortunately, things are never like that. Converting an idea into a reality (in big or small companies) is a rollercoaster of emotions, frustrations and hope. Because ‘good’ ideas are not enough to convince business and/or management to go ahead and invest. Only ‘great’ ideas do so. Ideas will be challenged by the organization, and only by surviving the challenging process will a great idea turn into a successful one. Because great ideas will make their way.

When I started evaluating how to transform my C#, mixed reality-based idea into a reality within Roche, I did it by simply demonstrating a prototype I had built in my spare time. I showed it here and there, collected feedback, improved the idea and showed it again. That was almost a mantra. I repeated the same process with another idea which involved cloud, edge computing and AI. After I built the prototype, I started knocking on doors to show it. And you know what? Nothing happened. A lot of people told me: ‘that’s cool, what a good idea!’ But then nothing more. That’s it. A ‘good’ idea.

I learned that to make an idea become reality it requires two fundamental ingredients: persuasion and energy. Without persuasion, it does not matter how much energy you invest: don’t underestimate the power of words and feelings to convince your audience. If you are convinced that you have a great idea, the only missing piece is energy. And you still need energy to survive the rollercoaster: sometimes you feel like a meeting was successful but you’ll never hear anything back. You present your idea to a wider audience but again, no follow-up actions.

But magic happens when you put in a little bit more energy exactly at the moment when your hopes have all but vanished. The opportunity arises, the need is there and your idea hits the target. And why now? Because you made people listen, care and remember your idea, even though nothing comes back to you immediately. The reason? Your idea is flying at much higher levels than you are, and was going through the challenging process at company level. That was my experience with an AI-based idea that can radically change the way we service our systems and take it to another level. When senior management gets to know about a great idea, they have to challenge it – it’s their job to do so.

And if the idea survives this challenging process you’ll finally make it: you’ll get a formal project to realize your idea. The organization counts on you. The outcome of the project will change the rules of the game both medium and long term. React, Angular, Azure, AWS, C#, Javascript, C++, Go, Docker, MongoDb are some of the technologies we are using today. Any new cutting-edge technology is always considered and tried out. This is now our (the geeks’) realm. You’ve got the green light and now you have to make it happen. Change people’s lives.
This is my personal story at Roche. Three of my ideas turned into patents and two into formal projects. What’s more, I still have some ideas that have the ‘flying at the higher levels’ momentum – and I’m hoping they will materialize. I want to change the game. I want our systems to make the difference. I have an idea, I’m convinced about it and I push for it. And as a techie, I can make it happen – because great ideas will make their way.
What about you? What’s your great idea? Be brave and make it happen.
Published: 2023.11.23.