1 . What are the most important issues/drivers of business today?
By far the most important contributing factor to Germany remaining a technology hub is staying up to date and not lagging behind other countries. We are seeing positive developments in our industry and a growing shift in thinking toward new technologies, which I believe is very welcome. It is crucial that we pick up precisely where we left off and take advantage of the momentum. We have started to shake up the market with our automation software for electronic development, and that is the direction we need to continue in.
2. ... and what are the biggest challenges?
Recognizing the need to use automation and artificial intelligence in the engineering industry. Automation is not replacing jobs here; we are filling an ever-growing skills gap. We have fewer and fewer university graduates coming into this field. Instead, they prefer to go into IT, because the career opportunities are attractive and IT is simply cool right now. In addition, the electronics industry is feeling the effects of demographic change. The engineers who retire are taking all their know-how with them. We have to counter this with digital solutions and use foresight to shape the future.
3. Which innovations and tech trends do you find particularly exciting?
Technologies that create added value for society are particularly appealing. There are many trends and applications that entertain us or function as gadgets. Sure, it's great that we've proven we can do that as a society, but it’s even more important to provide answers to global problems. That's why I find automation solutions and AI applications so exciting. There is enormous leverage here. We can initiate reforms and change entire industries for the better.
4. What idea/product/thought leader has excited/inspired you lately?
One stand-out project is Hyperloop. It answers two important questions of our time: Firstly, how can we transform transport in a way that distances us from the archaic idea of having to own a car and promotes climate protection? Secondly, how can we use innovative technology made in Germany to produce comfortable and fast travel?
Hyperloop is working on a vision that has the potential to turn the transport industry on its head.
5. Why do cultural change and digital transformation go together in your opinion?
To kickstart digital transformation in a company, technological resources are a basic prerequisite, but without the people who are set to drive the change rethinking their role, the transformation will be unsuccessful. Cultural change is a condition for sustainable and successful transformation projects. It may be about bringing together people and machines, but people always remain the focus.
6. In one sentence, what is one topic we shouldn't be discussing in five years?
Climate change - because it is integral to our individual social responsibility as economic activity is to being a good businessman.
7. What makes companies or leadership successful in the long term?
The awareness that leadership only works if you respond to the needs of your employees, show them appreciation and enable them to realize their full potential.