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The best is when you see progress

Bogdan Božac, assistant director at InnoRenew CoE

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I spent my childhood in a village in Slovenske gorice, in Štajerska region, and I still live about 10 kilometres away from my childhood home.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I studied law at the University of Maribor. My choice of study was partly a coincidence, as I had to choose between two study programmes after finishing high school and finally chose the one from where I received the first acceptance letter. But partly I was interested in studying law because traditional values such as justice and fairness are deeply rooted in me. I assessed that as a lawyer I would be able to live and practise these values.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

In fact, I don’t work as a lawyer, or only work as a lawyer for a small part of my working hours. My previous work environment drew me into the world of business, so that my work is primarily focused on the economic and sustainable operation of the institute. Above all, I am a great practitioner who tries to put common sense into practice in my working environment.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

If I work in the InnoRenew building, I’m at work before 08:00. I’m usually there until around 18.00. Then there is time for a walk, catching up on the day’s news and a short TV or book reading session.

If I work from home, the day also starts early and after other members leave to do their business, I sit down at the computer at about 7.30 am, and I usually work until about 16.00. Then there is more time to spend with my family, do chores around the house, walk my dog and socialise with friends and family members.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

Solving problems using logic and common sense. I can only see the point of my work if it contributes to the progress and improvement of the institution. At the same time, I am aware that there is also work to be done that does not have an immediate and direct impact on the business, but I am definitely more passionate about work that shows tangible results quickly.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

Understanding how a scientific research environment works, which is quite different from the environment in the manufacturing company where I previously worked. I am trying to understand where the optimal field is where scientific research should meet with concrete positive effects on the business of the institution. The fact is that the fundamental mission the institute is scientific research, which also requires the economic stability of the institute’s operations.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

I am not a scientist myself, nor am I narrowly focused on a particular industry or scientific discipline. However, as a social scientist, I have special appreciation for people who have not only achieved scientific breakthroughs, but who have also brought profound social change, or who, at a particular moment in time, thought outside the box and came up with insights that have forever changed all previously known human beliefs. Galileo Galilei is certainly one such example, who worked in many scientific fields, but also proved to be an inventor who risked his life for his knowledge, beliefs and writings and changed our understanding of the world and the universe forever. His work and his beliefs also meant for him the loss of his human freedom. For me, therefore, he is an example of a scientist who, in addition to his extraordinary achievements in science, also encouraged tectonic changes in our understanding of existence, sacrificing the highest ideal of a free-thinking human being – his own freedom.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

During my studies, I followed films very closely and deeply. Everything from the beginning of the development of film to the current cinema production. Later on, I simply ran out of time for such follow-up. But I could go on for hours about the films that are special to me, so it is difficult for me to single out just a few. But if I had to, I would say Godfather, The Wild Bunch, La Jetee, Rashomon, C’era una volta il West, Casablanca, Modern times …

I also like to read. As I am very interested in history, especially of the regions where I live, one of my favourite authors is Drago Jančar, who, in my opinion, can be ranked alongside the European giants of modern literature. His novels, such as To noč sem jo videl; In ljubezen tudi; Galjot; Katarina, pav in jezuit, and plays such as Veliki briljantni valček in Zvenenje v glavi, are a fictional treasure trove of the different historical periods of the landscape where I live, and a sharp critique of totalitarianism, which is why I value them in particular.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

Considering that I spend my days on the Slovenian coast almost entirely working, I don’t have one yet 😊

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

When I see progress. Personal, business, any kind of progress. It’s the best when you see progress on something you love. It could be progress in a child, progress in a relationship, progress in business. It gives you the energy and the will to work even harder and to succeed.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

In the warmth and familiarity we feel when we see and touch it.