Think Big! Future Markets – and What Strategy Will Be Apt to Conquer Them

Friday, 11. May 2018

Think Big! Future Markets –
and What Strategy Will Be Apt to Conquer Them.

Follow-up Report on the 18th Annual Strategic Management Conference

At the end of April, strategy experts from diverse industries met up in Stuttgart, Germany, for the 18th Annual Strategic Management Conference. This year’s focus: future markets developing rapidly. SOLYP as a cooperation partner of the event participated with their own stand. We summarized the exciting talks for you in our follow-up report.

Focus Market: Automotive

The first one to present was Patrick Kück, Director Strategy & Innovation at Porsche: He revealed fascinating insights into the strategy of the premium brand and the future of the sports car. Within the next years, the automotive industry will, according to Kück, be facing huge challenges even the traditional brand from Stuttgart needs to meet. The vision: Moving away from a strategy of mere growth and moving towards more innovation in technology. The strategy 2025 therefore includes totally new aspects like smart mobility, sustainability, manufacturing 4.0 and lots of innovational power: “We want to take part in actively designing the future of the sports car – for this reason, we keep developing new business models and technologies and count on trendsetting partnerships, for example with promising start-ups”, said Kück.

Straße blog

Also Dr Stefan Niemand, Director of Electrification at AUDI, dared to take a look into the future of the automotive industry. The ambitious goal of the brand with the four rings: zero emission. “We need to do the splits between regulations, revenue and technological challenges – our conventional Audi models are encountering their limits at the moment”, Niemand admitted. However, a solution for the future didn’t exist, yet. “We have tried a lot in the past years – that’s why there is a mix of different drive variants now. Audi will also keep producing combustion engines – however cross-over types as electric or hybrid models.” What Niemand also revealed to the strategy experts in the audience was what strategists could learn from the development of the E-division at Audi: “I consider the stage of trying out things extremely important when it comes to new technologies – it’s the only way for enterprises to find the right way ahead. Courage is what it needs for that – and of course the willingness to invest, for starters.”

Focus Market: Energy

Energy is a wide subject you cannot avoid when talking visions for the future: In his presentation Philipp Schröder from sonnen GmbH described how the start-up from Hamburg has been revolutionizing the energy market since 2011: The young entrepreneur, who had worked for Tesla before, has got an ambitious objective: In the future, everyone should be able to produce their own electricity with the help of solar batteries. Schröder’s vision: “We would like to establish the first electricity sharing platform to deliver clean and affordable energy to everyone – this is the future of energy.” Its success proves his model right: In the last years, sonnen has drawn substantial profit and recently entered the Australian energy market. This is also a result of profound strategic work. “One of our formulas for success certainly is that we leave a great deal of creative space to our managers – this works because we have incorporated a culture of innovation from the beginning on at any level in our organization”, said Schröder. His tip for all strategists: “If you want to be audacious and  innovative, you need to channel innovational pressure into the operational area – however, this poses a challenge to old-established companies.”

Focus Market: Health Care

Gesundheit digital blog

Also the health care market is developing rapidly: Daniel Saur from Mc Kesson Europe granted the participants a peep behind the scenes of the successful pharma concern. The San Francisco based enterprise supplies pharmaceutical products to pharmacies, hospitals and surgeries around the world. The present area of conflict: Health expenditures are on the rise while governmental budgets are shrinking. “We are very dependent on governmental systems and regulations – this makes the health care market so interesting, but also so difficult”, Saur explained. Different regions and markets require individual strategic measures, which need to sum up in a harmonic enterprise strategy in the end: “For example, we identified seven megatrends for the European pharma-market that we consider in our planning process”, said Saur. “Especially digitalization is becoming a huge topic in the health care field now – things like electronic prescriptions or digital patient’s records provide for changes which will stir up the market”, Saur predicted. “Therefore, we need to concentrate on customers rsp. patients already today. This is also true for our strategic work – an approach which certainly can be applied to other industries as well.”

Focus Market: Manufacturing

How to be and stay successful within an extremely cyclic market environment? Isabel Hartung, head of corporate development at TRUMPF GmbH, attempted to answer this question in her presentation by casting a light on the engineering market. The approach of the Swabian family company: flexible reactions to disruptions. As an example for the continuous innovational power at TRUMPF, Hartung named laser technology as an example: “The perpetual optimization and development in this sector within the past years shows that we boldly put ourselves into question over and over again.” The highly competitive engineering market requires courage, entrepreneurial responsibility and enthusiasm to be innovative – this is also expressed within the enterprise strategy at TRUMPF. The “courage to change” of the Swabians is to be found throughout any sphere of activity – and also throughout the strategical work. Hartung summarized: “The century of technology has only just begun, and we for our part would like to play an active role in history.”

Focus Market: Technology

Digitalisierung blog

Which technologies to expect on the markets of the future is what Harald Neidhardt of the futur/io institute discussed in this presentation – new X-tech, smart contracts and blockchain were just a few technological innovations he mentioned in Stuttgart. “The development curve is ascending steeply from day to day: I assume that, within the next five to ten years, we will experience the impacts of new groundbreaking technological at shorter and shorter intervals – at least annually – which will put our daily lives upside down completely”, said Neidhardt. “The philosophical question we all need to ask is: How do we want to live after all?” Neidhardt emphasized that besides all the technological innovations, we shouldn’t neglect humanity and our needs – although technology opens up totally new opportunities: “Then only big concerns could manage certain projects. Now it’s often possible to do that with a small budget and just a little innovational spirit”, Neidhardt explained.

Knowledge as a Key Resource

Also the conference’s host, Horváth and Partners, showed how the consulting company wants to open up new markets. Speaker Sebastian Ley emphasized knowledge as the key resource: knowledge why, knowledge where and knowledge how to. “The boundaries between different branches will be blurred more and more in the future: Up until now, markets were defined with regard to products and branches. In the future, customer needs will be the center of attention. For example, the automotive market will become a market of mobility – and competition will become more complex as never before”, said Ley. Strategy was decisive for innovational work, though: “Future-oriented thinking, quick and agile action, sensitive for context or user focused – this is what it needs to identify ‘the next big thing’.” Therefore, organizations had to start thinking about the unthinkable and creating momentum for the visionary. According to Ley, balance and a global awareness were especially important – and of course, the right tools, which consultants are to develop together with their clients.

The Social Component

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The philosophy of innovation of the Hamburg-based agency Sturm und Drang: To study, envision, transform and to innovate culture. “In order to interpret behavior and experience of humans, we need to understand the context around them”, explained Stefan Baumann, owner and CEO. The presentation focused the question how to innovate people towards a better version of themselves – in short: human innovation. As digital transformation proceeds we are becoming more and more aware of our specifically human abilities – the social transformation follows the digital one”, said Baumann. “This leads us to three essential insights, which will also influence the way how strategists will work in the future: Transformation is human. Culture creates innovation. And client-centricity, collaboration and creativity are what makes organizations innovative in the first place.”

The Way Ahead

Our resume: Also the 18th issue of the annual Strategic Management Conference featured great presentations, which contained lots of ideas and food for thought – a compulsory event for any future-oriented strategy representative! Having been a cooperation partner of the organizers for many years now, we would like to thank everybody who discussed the topic of “digitalization of strategic management processes with SOLYP3” at our SOLYP stand. We are already looking forward to see you again in 2019 in Stuttgart!