The INSEAD Alumni Association Germany (IAAG) was the proud organiser of the recent 18th Entrepreneurship Forum in Munich. The theme for this year was “digital transformation”, the record-breaking 85 attendees were treated to a series of dynamic discussions led by high-profile speakers , they also had the opportunity to network with fellow alumni and business leaders.
To kick off the day, Loïc Sadoulet, INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Economics, led an interactive session on how to build 21st century companies with 20th century management, highlighting the necessity for autonomy, trust, and clear goals to achieve a productive and innovative workforce.
Next, INSEAD alumnus Dr. Markus Scheuermann MBA’04J gave an insightful presentation on Digital Transformation in Media. As Managing Director and CFO of leading digital publisher BurdaForward, Markus shared his view on the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation both within his organisation and the entire media industry. While the decline of traditional magazine publishing does not come as a surprise, there is a challenge in transferring to digital. Markus concluded that to be successful, publishers need to separate online and offline as early as possible. This will allow development of the online business while establishing different use cases for both the offline and online offerings of shared brands.
Nils Herzberg MBA’91D, Senior Vice President and Global Co-Lead of Internet of Things at SAP, then spoke about digital disruption. Nils outlined how the Internet of Things (IoT) will change many industries by connecting devices. Nils used examples from companies across a range of industries, including hygiene company Hagleitner, air systems supplier Kaeser Compressors, Italian train operator Trenitalia and Siemens to underscore his argument. He also touched on the topic of data ownership, an issue triggered following the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines 370.
This was followed by Healthcare Consultant Dr. Dominik Pförringer MBA’09, who provided insights on the challenges and hurdles of digital transformation faced in the healthcare industry. Given the human element and complex nature of the industry, Dominick outlined how convenience is the key driver for digitisation. Examples of upcoming startups include ZocDoc, which matches physicians with patients, and Ottonova, Germany’s first online health insurance provider, founded by INSEAD alumnus Dr. Roman Rittweger MBA’94J.
Organisers Lutz Finger MBA’04J and Stefanie Peters MBA’98D then interviewed Dr. Jörg Überla MBA’ 98J, Managing Director of Gruner + Jahr Shop GmbH (previously Donato), on his experiences with digital transformation since joining the venture capital world in 1999. Jörg sold his eCommerce platform Danato to publishing house G+J, which will be used to launch their online platform.
Ashutosh Kumar EMBA‘05D then moderated “INSEAD Inspires” a session presenting four young startups:
- Anna Rojahn, Founder & Managing Director of Fast Forward Imaging gave an insight into how her innovative business brings virtual reality to the online fashion world.
- Gunnar Berning, CEO of fromAtoB.de, explained how mobility apps will significantly enhance our convenience in searching and booking multimodal transportation in one click.
- Friedrich Rojahn MBA’04J, Founder & CEO of Solando, provided a highly analytic view on digital disruption in the energy industry and told how his startup contributes to more efficient matching of energy providers and users.
- Dr. Oliver Trinchera, Managing Director and Co-Founder of KINEXON, shared his knowledge on how precise position and motion data is captured, which in turn is a key driver of IoT.
The day was rounded off with a talk by Ludwig Fuchs MBA’96J, Founder and former owner of Realtime Technology AG, on “Digital Transformation via Virtual Reality”, sharing his personal experiences as an entrepreneur.
Congratulations to the dedicated group of volunteers who organised this amazing event – Mark Walther IEP’98Mar, Alex Metzler MBA’04J, Stefanie Peters MBA’98D, Lutz Finger MBA’04J and Ashutosh Kumar EMBA‘05D – which has received extremely positive feedback from attendees.
The 19th edition of the Entrepreneurship Forum will take place either on 23rd or 30th June 2017. For more information, please contact info@insead.