Influence of Digitalization on Innovation and Business

As our last presentation in the theme of technological innovation, the delegation could welcome Valentin Naegeli and Michael Schranz from Apps with love. This was a special honor, as Michael Schranz is one of the founding members of the connectUS project. When Michael was a student himself, he felt that he kept hearing how important networking is but could never gather any real experience. Therefore, he had the idea to create the project Networking New York. Before Valentin took over and told the delegation more about digitalization and innovation, Michael gave us one important advice for networking: “Give a lot, don’t expect to get much back”.

The following presentation was structured in three parts. Firstly, we took a quick look at how innovation and digitalization are influencing us today. Now, as we covered several topics during the week, Valentin just summarized the core points: The age of information has massively disrupted the way we conduct business. By showing us the most important companies, which only consist of tech companies, this point was made very clear to us. We also learned about the so-called network effect. This effect means that the more people use it, the more value it creates. If for example only a few people would use Facebook, the value for the people using it would be much smaller. The topics of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, innovation and transformation where only covered shortly, as aforementioned, these topics were already covered.

The second part of the presentation was about the Tomorrow. Interesting fields include AI, Smartness, the power of a company like Google (Alphabet), real-time communication and the Singularity. The discussion of these topics was very interesting, as Valentin added a critical view on the technologies. What are the social impacts of digital transformation? Will we always be recorded and all our data in the internet forever stored? What will happen if an AI that has a similar intelligence as a human will be created? With such questions and more, he gave us some food for thought.

In the third part, he talked about how to get from the today to the tomorrow. This can be summarized in a very short sentence: Innovate or die. Businesses cannot use the same business idea, same model etc. for decades, but have the need to constantly innovate.

Before ending the presentation, Valentin asked us to brainstorm some ideas, how we could innovate important Swiss business sectors like watches, banking, tourism or the chocolate industry and the delegation presented their ideas in groups.

The presentation of Valentin was very interesting, especially by bringing light to some of the ethical and social challenges we, as humankind, will have to face in the future.

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