Leading with An Open mindset & Empathy | Ioanna Fergadiotou

Ioanna Fergadiotou

Head of Athens Lab

Leadership with a sense of responsibility is a valuable trait. It is often associated with individuals who are accountable, reliable, and committed to their roles and the people they lead. Such leaders prioritize the well-being of their team members and strive to create a positive work environment that fosters growth, collaboration, and innovation. What motivated Ioanna Fergadiotou, Head of Athens Lab, Inlecom, to become a pioneering leader was a sense of responsibility to positively impact her country during the recession by creating new job opportunities and combating brain drain. Additionally, she was driven by a strong desire to lead a dynamic team towards excellence in applied research and innovation.

Two crucial elements are required to drive innovation: an open mindset and empathy. The latter emphasizes the importance of merging diverse perspectives, knowledge, and skills. Ioanna is fully committed to fostering a dynamic, high velocity yet nurturing and inclusive atmosphere. This empowers her colleagues to evolve into innovation leaders by recognizing and valuing every team member’s contribution. Ioanna’s approach is grounded in transparency and a steadfast commitment to lifelong

learning. At the heart of Inlecom lies a culture deeply rooted in collaborative efforts, an outlook Ioanna actively cultivates in all their research projects, especially those they coordinate.

Ioanna believes that leadership transcends gender, and everyone brings their unique approach. In her case, she initially emphasizes providing guidance and support, allowing team members the autonomy to excel in their respective domains. According to Ioanna, this approach fosters a culture of empowerment and enables individuals to realize their full potential. “I prioritize discussing the impact of my work over emphasizing personal traits. I see myself not as a traditional leader but as a proactive team member dedicated to collaboratively bringing innovative ideas to fruition,” she explains. “We leverage cutting-edge technologies to create new products and services that benefit society and prioritize sustainability.”

Focused on Pushing Boundaries

Currently, Ioanna is focused on several key objectives. Primarily, she is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of innovation by developing cutting-edge solutions and ensuring a smooth transition from prototypes to real-world applications, particularly in Digital Twins, IoT, and AI applications. Additionally, Ioanna is committed to spearheading research and innovation projects that deliver tangible and enduring outcomes, contributing significantly to our organization’s growth and impact. “Moreover, I aim to create new employment opportunities through the successful commercialization of our innovations while actively addressing critical societal and environmental challenges. Lastly, I am steadfast in my pursuit of deepening our team’s knowledge and expertise, with the ultimate aspiration of being recognized as a distinguished organization in our field,” she adds.

Ioanna fosters a strong sense of teamwork, encouraging individuals to proactively seek guidance and solutions from their colleagues before resorting to escalation. The company provides abundant training opportunities, complemented by a continuous cycle of constructive feedback sessions. These sessions occur during regular stand-up meetings, project debriefs, and informal discussions. Additionally, Inlecom facilitates bi-weekly knowledge transfer sessions, and every three months, they come together as a team to celebrate achievements, brainstorm future initiatives, and actively encourage attendance at conferences and webinars to ensure the team remains at the forefront of technological advancements and other areas of interest.

Building A Great Organization

Armed with this unique mindset, Ioanna has been taking the company to new heights. Ioanna holds a degree in Physics from Athens University, master’s degrees in information technology and management (National Technical University of Athens) and Educational Technology (Athens University). She has over twenty years of work experience in research and development. She has participated in over 40 National, European, and International -research and commercial- projects in applied ICT across several domains.

Building a team of exceptionally talented individuals, from its inception to a formidable force of 60 members, has been her proudest accomplishment for Ioanna. Though demanding and requiring substantial effort, this journey is a testament to the potency of collaborative effort and the cultivation of talent. It underscores the impact of dedicated teamwork and strategic development in achieving remarkable milestones. Moreover, spearheading groundbreaking research initiatives and lighthouse projects that push the boundaries of innovation and knowledge has been an equally gratifying achievement for the pioneering leader. “These projects have not only expanded our horizons but have also reinforced the importance of fostering a culture of inventive thinking within the team,” elucidates Ioanna. “It’s a privilege to witness how this dedication to growth and excellence has propelled our organization to new heights.”

Inlecom is a European SME with offices and consultants in Brussels, London, Athens, and Dublin. Established in 1996 with the seminal charter of promoting innovative Information Learning and Communication Solutions, Inlecom has expanded upon these foundational competencies over the last 20 years. The company is dedicated to embracing and actualizing fresh ideas, and its most significant asset is the team – a diverse group comprising project managers, domain experts, ICT scientists, research engineers, and software developers. Together, they synergize their expertise to design and execute value-driven projects.

“Our forte lies in crafting and refining cutting-edge technical prototypes across various domains. We rigorously test and iterate in tandem with business stakeholders, ensuring optimal improvements. This process demonstrates feasibility and propels concepts into tangible, market-ready products,” says Ioanna. “Our active involvement in working groups and influential associations drives our commitment to advancing the EU’s innovation agenda. We also contribute to standardization initiatives, channeling our efforts towards extracting exploitable R&D outcomes. This strategic approach maximizes uptake and amplifies the potential for successful commercialization.”

" Our active involvement in collaborative research projects and influential associations drives our commitment to advancing the EU’s innovation agenda. We also contribute to standardization initiatives, channeling our efforts towards extracting exploitable R&D outcomes. "

Ioanna Fergadiotou

Head of Athens Lab

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