According to Eileen Burbidge, partner in the venture capital company Passion Capital and, according to Forbes, one of the “World’s Top 50 Women in Tech”, European economic players need very specific qualities in order to shape the future successfully. “We need more courage and more private venture capital to boost the power of European innovation”, she says. But for Eileen, it is even more important that “We also need to be greedier to want to achieve more”. According to Eileen, this is much more pronounced in the United States as well as in Asia. The companies and the people there are driven by positive greed, and because they want to achieve more, they are also more courageous and innovative.
For the internationally known futurologist Matthias Horx, what we are currently experiencing is clearly a catharsis out of which new things will arise on many levels. He emphasizes: “The Covid-19 crisis is a PROFOUND CRISIS that affects all areas of our life: everyday life, family, organizations, politics, economy, our VALUE system ... But such crises also create new AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY. They allow us to look at the world in a new way”. For Matthias, new opportunities arise initially through a process of disillusionment and through the elimination of some illusions in our society. “Covid-19 has made us aware that we are still part of nature – viruses and bacteria will not be disappearing anytime soon. Issues of climate change and greening will continue to come to the fore in a major way.”
Prof. Lars Feld, Chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, sees the crisis as providing opportunities to create new, innovative business models: “Crises transform an economy, some business models become obsolete, new ideas gain ground”. In his opinion, however, the economic power of Europe must not be overburdened. He says: “Climate protection, for example, must not become the responsibility of companies alone. In this instance, politicians are called upon to provide realistic frameworks”. As Lars says, this would support innovation in the corporate sector.
Christoph Keese, CEO of hy – the Axel Springer Consulting Group, also sees the pandemic as a kind of accelerator, especially in the digital sector: “The fact that the future is digital isn’t something we’ve just realized since the world, our society and the economy have been afflicted and devastated by a global virus. The pandemic is acting as a catalyst. If you don’t want to be left behind, you have to work with it. If you want to shape the future, you have to invest in it!”
In the workplace too, the world will change dramatically. Involving employees is one of the main tasks – it’s all about trust. For Insa Klasing, CEO of TheNextWe and former General Manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken Germany, employee management in the future will no longer be about control: “Autonomy is the key to motivation, creativity and further development”. Brain researcher and bestselling author Prof. Gerald Hüther agrees: “A controlling style of management is obsolete. Anyone who is in a managerial role today has to discuss the way forward with employees and give them a commitment. Otherwise they will fail”. Gerald adds that is essential to allow employees to experience personal responsibility and optimism because the brain does not react to the duration of an experience but rather to its intensity.
Innovation Day offered an intensive positive experience – that was the aim of the Serviceplan Group – and that took courage and the spirit of innovation. The pandemic made it impossible to welcome guests to Munich’s “House of Communication”, as in previous years, so we developed a purely digital format for the event. This was not without its challenges. How do you maintain the strengths of the popular event format while making the most of the opportunities and innovative possibilities offered by digital technology? Our solution was to invent the “House of Rethinkers”, a futuristic building in the clouds, accessible only by a floating lift. In “rooms” corresponding to their respective topics and which underpinned their content with impressive visuals – from the Google Digital Garage to the FC Bayern Munich changing room – our speakers awaited their guests. Around 300 participants from all over Europe came together without having to make a long journey. And even the interactive aspect of exchanging ideas was not forgotten, as shown in the lively participation in the moderated chats and opportunities for debate. Here, too, the courage to undertake new things and the strength to trust innovation were rewarded.