Today’s Top Inventions Emerging from Europe
Europe has always been an inventive place.
From the Rubiks Cube and the catalytic converter, to Concord and Dolly the Sheep, Europe has been a source of intriguing, useful and game-changing inventions for many generations.
Inventiveness is still highly prized, and with the newest European inventor Award winner, Chris Toumazou, being recently crowned, now is a good time to take stock of other recent European inventions and their potential impact.
What are some other recent European inventions and how do they show what inventions can do for the world and for business in Europe and beyond?
Offering a more streamlined approach
Toumazou's invention, a DNA test that can analyze an individual's genetic makeup within minutes without the need for lab work, has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and make delivering care quicker and more streamlined for healthcare providers.
As the following article shows, the quick DNA test is a great demonstration of what "How to Become a Successful Inventor" cites as the heart of every great invention: The need to solve a problem.
Toumazou has solved the problem of lengthy lab work and long waits for test results for a quicker, simpler DNA test that is more useful than its predecessors.
Healthcare providers can look forward to a quicker turn-around of patients for testing and more accurate patient mapping, which in turn means a more efficient use of their time and resources.
Giving consumers what they want
With cycling increasing in popularity yet only 20 percent or less of European cyclists wearing a helmet, inventors Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt saw the potential to make something to satisfy a gap in the market: Consumers who said they wanted to wear a helmet for safety, but were looking for something stylish and unobtrusive.
Alstin and Haupt invented an "invisible" cycle helmet.
Their see-through helmet is worn like a scarf and is triggered by the movement of the wearer during a fall or crash to inflate and cover their head. Tests show that it absorbs shock better than traditional helmets, proving that new inventions can find new ways to give consumers what they want and improve on what has come before.
Improving the environment
Inventor Luigi Cassar's unique self-cleaning concrete has wide-ranging implications for everything from business premises to the teams employed to keep cities clean and help combat pollution.
Cassar's specially constructed sunlight-activated concrete binds electrons in the building material and transforms them to nitrates, which are easily washed away by rainwater.
On top of that, the material actually reduces air pollution in the immediate vicinity by as much as 70 percent, and has now been incorporated into materials such as mortar and paint.
The concrete has the potential not only to make for more pleasant working environments with less toxins, but to help businesses offset their carbon footprint by reducing the air pollution their premises produces.
For contemporary European inventors, the combination of great ideas with the determination to see them through has led to innovations that have positive implications for businesses and consumers around the world.
If you have a great idea, don't dismiss it - you never know where the next big invention will come from.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, European inventions and big ideas.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”