I just got back from a great week in Germany. For someone travelling from Qatar, the German weather was lovely at this time of year. It was a privilege to attend the CeBit Conference and Exhibition, and also to meet so many inspiring people in Berlin. Since it was my first visit to CeBit, and Berlin, I was truly amazed. From the cutting edge technology showcased, to the epitome of country marketing of China, which as partner country brought in over 600 tech companies to Hannover. CeBit was truly mind blowing. If I thought CeBit captured my imagination, then I was in for a bigger surprise when I went to Berlin. If one could paint a picture of a perfect ecosystem for startups to flourish in, and innovation to grow, that would be Berlin. From its coffee shops and co-working spaces to unique looking incubators and accelerators filled with cutting edge tech startups, Berlin was truly inspiring.
I would like to summarize some of the great things I learned and experienced for the first time during this visit.
- Bernard Charles, President & CEO of Dassault Systems, stressed that “Customers no longer buy products. They buy experiences”. We need to rethink innovation! We are in the ‘Experience Economy’.
- At CeBIT Global Conferences, leaders from the industry and media gathered to talk about the influence of digitization: Dr. Vishal Sikka, Kai Diekmann, Prof. Dr. Hennig Kagermann and Dr. Christoph Kollatz were just some of those who contributed to the discussions. In that context, Dr. Sikka said “Physical spaces as an aggregator point will never go away. It can, however, be amplified by digital experiences. There is great opportunity in taking advantage of redesigning of physical spaces in order to enhance human behavior.”
- Internet of Things (IoT)is not the future, it’s the present! Seeing some of the startups in the CodeN pavilion at CeBit does not take you to the future, but gives you a wake-up call to reality.
Industry 4.0 – I have never knew this before I visited CeBit. Essentially, it’s intelligent, interconnected systems now seamlessly connecting to support activities along the entire value chain. What does this mean? It means greater reduction in costs and improved efficiency to take the manufacturing industry and other businesses to the next level. Are we ready for all this? From what I saw, we better be.
- Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey: “Finding the Voice in Big Data“. There are two types of data, namely implicit data and explicit data. Implicit data is stuff that you are not actively involved in, such as surfing the net, activity on a mobile phone, listening to a song and buying things. Having more implicit data does not always lead to good insights. Explicit data is what is fully revealed or something that is specifically stated, it’s not what we guess or assume about something or someone. This is the kind of data that makes a difference.
- President and CMO of Samsung, Dr. Won Pyo Hong said “IoT is going to make a bigger revolution than the internet and telecom did, and its impact is going to be much more profound. According to CISCO’s connection counter, about 15 billion things are connected to the internet. However, this is only 2% of those things that could one day potentially join the network.” Wow!!
- An evolution in automobile engineering. TESLA Model S is an all-electric car and does 500 km on one charge.
- “Look for someone who has FAILED, SUCCEEDED and has PASSION. Then hire him!” This is what a Senior Executive from a multinational tech company had to say about hiring a head for a startup program, incubation center or an accelerator. The person has got to have all three of these critical aspects. The rest is mere detail.
- Coworking Spaces – The new Gen office: Good coffee; Strong WiFi; and being among like-minded people is all that it takes to spur creativity. St. Oberholz is one of many other such coworking coffee shops in Berlin.
- KEEP THINGS SIMPLE and HAVE FUN. WHAT MATTERS IS WHAT YOU PRODUCE. When visiting a few incubation centers and startup-related entities, the positive energy was evident. The following images are of some startup related entities in Berlin, which I visited. I wish I could work in a place like this!
- Here comes the Digital Eatery by Microsoft. An Xbox corner, Tech Support, latest Microsoft solutions to experience and to top it off good coffee and awesome chocolate cake. An amazing concept, Microsoft Berlin!
I hope these have inspired you, as much as they inspired me! I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts.