Interview with Levent Alatli, General Manager of Koza Yönetim, winner of the International IMP³rove Award 2014.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

IMP³rove Academy:  Mr. Alatli, one year after the award ceremony in the historical Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, how does it feel to be General Manager of the company that won the International IMP³rove Award 2014?

Levent Alatli: As you know, Koza Yönetim is a facility management and service company. The nature of facility management may be seen as an ordinary business but we have proven that innovation management is essential in every business and independent of company size. Beyond the personal pride and happiness I felt and still feel as a leader, the International IMP³rove Award 2014 really gave all of us great motivation and visibility in front of the public, the industry as well as our customers and shareholders.

IMP³rove Academy: Reflecting on your participation from last year, how were you made aware of the International IMP³rove Award and what were the factors that convinced you to take part in the competition?

Levent Alatli: A few years ago, we hired a management consultant to review our business and management processes. During the project, the consultant, a certified IMP³rove Guide, offered to analyze and evaluate Koza Yönetim´s innovation management capabilities and performances based on the IMP³rove Assessment and Benchmarking tool. Generally, as an engineer, I like to use new technologies and methods in our own business in order to make a difference, so the approach readily caught my attention. Yet, it was the opportunity to better understand our innovation management strengths and weaknesses based on detailed, customized and anonymized comparisons with our competitors which convinced me to try it out.

Last year, the consultant informed me about the International IMP³rove Award contest, which encompasses the use of the same assessment tool. Based on the great experiences we made analyzing our innovation management performance the first time and given the fact that our previous assessment report was already a few years old, we decided to take the opportunity to repeat the assessment and take part in the contest.

IMP³rove Academy: Apart from having won the award and having received the coaching session from one of our innovation management experts, would you say it was worth participating in the competition?

Levent Alatli: Yes, I can honestly say that it was worth it. Given that the participation in the competition was free of charge, I just needed to invest some time to fill out the IMP³rove Assessment tool online and write a short rationale for taking part in it. The IMP³rove Assessment, with its almost 50 questions in 5 innovation management dimensions, encompassed questions related to very interesting subjects and KPIs that I haven´t thought of before, which was in itself extremely valuable for me – even if it was the second time that I have gone through the questionnaire! I would like to highlight that it was very important to me that all information provided by us were kept under the complete trust and confidentiality of the European Commission and the IMP³rove Academy. In fact, no company wants to share strategic information with its competitors or third parties.

After having gone through the assessment, I downloaded a new, automatically generated benchmarking report which compared our company´s innovation management capabilities and performances against those of a selected set of competitors according to their provided answers. Comparing the new benchmarking report with our previous one uncovered not only where we improved in the meantime but also demonstrated where improvements could still be made in terms of innovation management – which was another reason for me to repeat the assessment and participate in the contest.

IMP³rove Academy: Even though your company won last year´s competition – which underlines Koza Yönetim’s impressive innovation management capabilities and performances – you mention that you identified areas for improvement based on the IMP³rove Benchmarking report. Did you take action on these innovation management issues in the meantime?

Levent Alatli: Our motto is “fark yarat, farklı yap” which means that we always strive to create a difference by doing things differently. We may have impressive innovation management capabilities and performances according to our overall innovation management performance but this doesn’t mean that we are perfect. We know very well that nobody is perfect. Even after having won the International IMP³rove Award, we focused on areas for improvement identified based on the benchmarking report. For instance, after preparing the forecast and company strategy for 2015-2025, we organized some workshops to define our innovation strategy. We also performed brainstorming sessions in order to create new ideas that allow us to reach our strategic targets. We obtained many ideas ranging from small improvements to radical improvements. Now, we are working on feasibility studies to further evaluate these ideas, select the best ones and make those reality.

IMP³rove Academy: Mr. Alatli, to conclude, could you briefly explain how you would advise managers considering to take part in the contest for the International IMP³rove Award 2015 with their company?

Levent Alatli: In general, I highly recommend all companies that want to become more innovative in a more systematic way to use the IMP³rove methodology. In my opinion, every company needs to fight well for innovation. Using new techniques and approaches such as the IMP³rove methodology can help to do so. Joining the competition is an even better starting point because in taking part, there is nothing to lose but a lot to gain, even if one does not win the award. In that sense, I want to remind companies considering to take part in the contest of the famous quote by Baron Pierre de Coubertin “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

This interview was originally published on

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