All posts tagged: Innovation


(Translated from an account by Gian Berger, master’s student at HWZ University Zurich* and Head of Digital & Channel Marketing at Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer) June 2022. San Francisco – A clear blue sky above and a sensational view of the Golden Gate Bridge below – finally possible again after two years of the pandemic. * HWZ University Zurich is Switzerland’s largest part-time business university. Its Center for Digital Business pioneered academic educational programs for a digitalized business world. DIGIRAM editor Gert Christen is an alumnus of HWZ and founded their entrepreneurship department before returning to California. Students of the HWZ University master study program “Digital Leadership” were once again able to travel to the capital of technology and startups to experience the famous Silicon Valley spirit up close and personal. Gert Christen, head of the HWZ University Silicon Valley Outpost, created an exciting program. Many conversations with startup entrepreneurs, pitches of digital business models, insights into Amazon’s corporate culture, amazing networking events, and reserved time for reflection sessions opened space for discussions and exchanges between students and actors of the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Together …

The coming of transhumanism

Doctors have used technology to repair or improve human bodies for decades, and this has been uncontroversial. However, soon the technology will be available to be stronger, to better resist illnesses, and to live longer. This voluntary transhumanism is different – and it will become controversial. Should we do everything that we technically could? Is it right? Will it be only for the rich? Are we playing god? These are questions that we need to start exploring. Rena Seiler recently tackled the topic in a paper entitled “Transhumanism – the vision of the technological evolution of humans” at the Institute for Digital Business of HWZ University Zurich. You can read the English version here, or her original article in German here. Rena argues that this technology is being developed no matter what and that we as a society must seize the opportunity of the early stage to discuss the use of transhumanism. Otherwise, there is a risk that the technology will be exploited for selfish personal and strictly commercial reasons, which will exclude many from …

The State of the Corporate Startup

Video and presentations for download from the “Corporate Venturing” event on October 28, 2020. The event was organized by the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco and was sponsored by the Swiss Business Hub. Experts from Swisscom, the Swiss Railways SBB and Paul Holland from Mach49 and Foundation Capital shared their approaches to corporate innovation (more about the speakers at the end of this post). Here are the recording of the event and the speaker presentations: Zoom video recording Swisscom presentation Swiss Railways SBB presentation Mach49 innovation consultants presentation Thank you to the Chamber for organizing the event and to the three speakers for sharing their work and their inputs. Feel free to download the slides and the event video. If you have an opinion on corporate innovation let me know and let’s start a dialog. The panelists were: Swisscom (Lukas Peter, Head of Silicon Valley Outpost): Swisscom started an outpost in Silicon Valley 20 years ago and are one of the most visible and present partners and investors in the Swiss innovation scene. …

XaaS – Everything as a Service – The backend is a BIG business opportunity

Using an app to order your dinner delivered from your favorite restaurant? You just Xaas’d your food, a business that is growing at 25% per year, according to McKinsey. They predict that online deliveries could eventually make up as much as 65% of all food deliveries. Can your favorite restaurant even cook this volume? And does it make sense to cook a meal at a restaurant when the meal ist to be delivered? Apart from the kitchen, the infrastructure to prepare food for delivery is different than the one in a dine-in restaurant. What if – the kitchen could become a service? Some prominent entrepreneurs work on precisely this: Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former CEO, is buying up industrial kitchens and renting them out (per hour? per stove? per meal cooked? I don’t know). His customers are those who need to use a kitchen for a couple of hours to deliver ordered meals: Only pay for what you need; the kitchen as a service, the XaaS of food. You don’t think this will be big? Apparently, …

Digigram Newsletter of December 2019!

The bi-monthly newsletter of December 2019. Covering TikTok, the next hot trend, Xaas – Everything as a Service – and the backend business opportunity. Top of the month: 26 Swiss managers & HWZ master students in Silicon Valley, and one of my teams reached 4th place in the startup competition at UC Berkeley.
Meet me here: At UC Berkeley’s “Deplastifying the Planet” course starting in Jan 2020
On my table: Thanks are on my table. Wish all happy holidays and happiness & success for 2020

Hot Trend: XaaS – Everything as a Service is how we work and live today

In my last Digigram, I wrote about XaaS and wondered what would be next for this trend. Since then, I have concluded that XaaS includes much more than only technology platforms that virtualize assets in value chains: XaaS covers how we work and conduct business today, and how we consume modern products and services. New work = Gig economy = Work as a Service We all agree that companies such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Upwork, and WeWork disrupted the value chains and asset distribution in many industries. Like it or loathe it – the fact is that these models fit the way many people live their lives today. Both as consumers of services (e.g., getting even small items delivered by Amazon or bike couriers instead of going to a store) or as a provider of services (e.g., teaching via the internet or contracting via Upwork). The megatrends of changes in life- and work styles are what enabled the XaaS phenomenon in the first place. Especially Gen Ys love both sides of XaaS! It provides them …

7 Takeaways of what constitutes Leadership in a digitalized business world

(The full article was first published in German by André Meister for HWZ University’s Institute for Digital Business. The full article in English is posted on my website.) #1 Digital leaders are able to lead experts and teams in virtual organizations, recognizing the potential of diversity such as gender, cultural background, personality, age, skills, and experience. #2 Digital leaders have these traits: Vision, clear values, being role models, being present, developing employees, being communicative and just, having some expert knowledge, and being self-reflective. #3 Digital leaders shape agile, flexible, and efficient organizations capable of succeeding in VUCA environments. #4 Digital leaders transform both the core business for optimization inside of the existing organization and create new businesses fit for tomorrow outside of the core organization while connecting today’s capabilities with tomorrow’s. #5 Digital leaders understand that “10% better” is not good enough an objective anymore and they aim for 10x better. #6 Digital leaders understand the success factors of digital businesses: Global platforms, the fusion of new and old functionalities, open organizations, disruptive hypothesis, testing …

What Constitutes Leadership in a Digitalized Business World?

7 personal takeaways by André Meister, Partner at NOVO Business Consultants after completing HWZ University’s graduate certificate (CAS) in “Digital Leadership” and a study tour to Silicon Valley:
1. A fundamental shift of power in organizations: From hierarchical to networked
2. Traits of a good leader: Vision, clear values, role model, be present, develop employees, communication, justness & due process, expert knowledge, self-reflection
3. Fast, agile & flexible organizations
4. Dual transformation

“Cracking the Code of Public Sector Innovation” included in Yea(h)rbook

The Institute of Digital Business at HWZ University in Zurich, Switzerland, included my article about how to create a method to innovate in the public sector in their yearbook 2018. Very happy and proud to make a contribution and to see my learnings being shared and used! The full article can be read here. The yearbook can be ordered here. My thanks to the team who worked with me on this project at City Innovate Foundation, namely Garrett Brinker, Katy Podbielski, Luke Kim, and Carlos Cruz-Casas of Miami-Dade County as well as all the experts, researchers, writers, advisors and supporters. It was a pleasure and together we created something unique!