Topics and trends that move businesses and societies all over the world.
Dr. Andreas Kleinschmidt hosts events and offers keynote speeches for companies and public sector agencies, globally. As MC he has moderated panels with Heads of States and CEOs, often on innovation topics and the social impact of technology. He also supports senior executives as a business coach.
Companies used to do research and development behind closed doors. This is changing: over the past few years many have opened their doors to universities and students, private and government research labs, as well as start-up companies – and, up to a point, even to big competitors. What are the benefits of ever deeper cooperation? How do successful companies pull it off? And what are the red lines they currently draw to protect intellectual property?
Imagine a World where you can trust any stranger. With your money. With your data. With your identity. That’s the promise behind block chain. Most of us know it through Bitcoin, a digital currency. While Bitcoin had its ups and downs, including wild swings in its valuation, the underlying technology, Blockchain, may be on the cusp of changing whole industries. And potentially the way we live.
Using cryptography and distributed computing power, Blockchain enables secure transactions: with anyone, anywhere and most importantly, without a middleman. What does this mean for the future of financial service providers? What does it mean for any form of proof of identity or data integrity? And how will this change, break or promote old and new business models?
Predicting crime and consumer choices. Knowing in advance when a train will break down. Granting or declining insurance based on correlating information from social media profiles. Deducing sexual identity from online posts. Big data has big impact on business, government, science and society by changing the way we understand the world around us.
It has also become a thriving – and growing – industry in its own right, with several thousand start-ups in this space in the US alone. But who can benefit from big data applications today? And how? How do the opportunities differ between small and big business? Between private sector and government? What are the risks? And who will lose out?
Cyber hacks cause losses of approximately $500 billion a year, globally. Some larger businesses experience thousands of attacks every year. The number of cyber attacks is on the rise, and so is their sophistication. The most professional hackers combine brute force attacks with more targeted approaches, often involving social engineering: gaining trust, passwords and access by schmoozing and conning. The weakest link is usually not the machine or its code; it’s human. What are the greatest threats for large and small companies today, and what do successful companies do to stay safe?
Robots have conquered our factories. Now, on to the world! As they gain more everyday skills – opening doors, recognizing people, leading simple, but meaningful conversations – they will also gain greater access to our lives. Robots taking care of children and the elderly no longer appear like utopia (or dystopia). But while their growing mechanical abilities catch our attention, it is the robot brains that make the biggest difference.
Self-learning machines, drawing on artificial intelligence, are changing the way we produce, consume, govern, police, live and – think, for instance, of robot soldiers – even the way we die. What are the greatest opportunities artificial intelligence brings to business? And how dangerous could the smart machines turn out to be?
Who owns ideas? Intellectual property as a legal concept enabled unprecedented economic growth by incentivizing entrepreneurs: whatever your big idea, no one shall steal it from you or copy it for free. In the digital age of almost free and unlimited reproduction, however, this proposition has come under attack. Illegal filesharing has changed the music industry beyond recognition; online media has hit traditional publishers, just to give two examples.
So what keeps ideas safe today, especially in the fast moving technology space? Many of the nimble disruptors who undermine existing business models, face the same challenges here as the large incumbents they attack. Part of the solution: securing the ability to deliver an exclusive customer benefit, rather than patenting mere inventions.
Successful companies do this by ring-fencing the customer benefit through numerous strategic patents, rather than just one. And by adding trademarks, design rights and non-disclosure. Finally, they make smart investments in training their staff on how to keep a secret.
How can companies create social value alongside financial value? How can they do so through the core of their operations rather than with flashy Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives? And how can they keep delivering healthy financial returns at the same time? Maintaining a social licence to operate is becoming a crucial aspect of successful business leadership – and failing to do so can break even companies in rude financial health.
Finance and tech companies have recently come into the crosshairs of activists. Some UK companies have started redesigning executive pay as a response to criticism of growing inequality in rich countries. What do companies need to do to keep their license to operate?
The fourth industrial revolution is in full swing, drawing on big data, artificial intelligence and self-learning systems. When will a machine take over your job? You can check for your own occupation using a calculator based on research from Oxford University. Bad luck, if your job relies on repetitive tasks, like those of an accounting assistant. Better chances, if you have to deal a lot with people and the emotional side of things, like occupational therapists.
What is the big picture, though, for companies and whole economies? In the past, when automation reached a new level, employment usually broke down, just to rebound later, once the workforce had learnt the new ways of working, collaborating with those new and more powerful machines.
As ever fewer tasks rely exclusively on human capabilities: will societies and economies be creative enough to come up with worthwhile occupations for those who are able and willing to work? And how can companies redesign Human Resource policies and functions?
Imagine a world where spare parts are printed on-site, whenever and wherever they are needed – rather than being sent from remote warehouses. 3D-printing – also known as additive manufacturing – has much wider applications, though. It is already speeding up prototyping, for example. And it allows for more filigree designs than traditional methods of production. This is not alone a big advantage for makers of complex machines. It is increasingly benefitting medicine. Researchers have begun printing body tissue and organs. Which industries will benefit most? And what are the limitations of this groundbreaking production process?
It weighs approximately 1.4 kilos, has the consistency of set yoghurt and it uses 60 percent of your daily intake of glucose and 30 percent of calories. Our brain is the least understood organ in our body. And it is the most important one when it comes to effectiveness at the workplace. Modern neuroscience has over the last years made fantastic progress, building on imaging techniques like f-MRI and a better ability to crunch the data.
We are closer than ever to finding answers to questions like these: What motivates employees? What drives entrepreneurs? How and when does learning happen? Where do ageing brains perform better and where do they perform worse? How should rewards be structured and given out? And why is the annual appraisal the least effective way to do it?
Dr. Andreas Kleinschmidt is co-founder and Member of the Board of a Venture Capital seed fund. Andreas has published extensively on innovation topics and worked as a journalist as well as a spokesperson for Siemens AG at their global Headquarters. He delivers keynotes on some of the most relevant innovation topics of our time and their social and business impact, tailoring them to the specific needs of each client and audience.
Drawing on careful research and real world examples, he has built a reputation as an original and engaging speaker who interacts easily with audiences. His keynotes bridge high-level ideas with actionable insight. For clients who want to focus in on individual topics, Andreas organizes expert workshops to which he likes to invite friends from his extended network in the tech community.
Andreas understands well the interactions between traditional business and the startup world. Through his activities in the venture capital field, Andreas works closely with startup entrepreneurs in Europe and the US, providing him with a strong understanding of their challenges and trends in this sector. His previous work for Siemens gives him a practical perspective on innovation management within large, global corporations and the challenges involved in turning new ideas into products.
He also spent seven years in journalism, as a print and broadcast reporter, receiving the CNN journalist award for his international work. He contributed to the business sections of Germany’s most popular news magazine DER SPIEGEL and the public radio broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. He worked on communications for financial transactions with a total value of US$16bn. Former employers include JPMorgan Chase and Ogilvy & Mather in London and New York.
One of his passions is modern and classical theatre. He enjoys travelling and hiking, in particular in Patagonia and the Colombian Andes. He crossed the Alps by mountain bike – cycling from Munich to Venice – and enjoys racing bike rides in Bavaria. Andreas lives in London.
He studied at Munich University and at the London School of Economics; in his dissertation in International Political Economy he analyzed the effects of national shareholder rights on cross-border M&A situations. Furthermore, he graduated from Journalism School in Munich. Andreas grew up in Germany but had opportunities to spend time abroad from a young age, including some schooling in France, Italy and China. He is fluent in six languages.