21 January 2020

The World Belongs to the Brave

How we Add Value through Sponsoring, or: A B2B-Company at the CES 2020? Absolutely!

To Gryffindor belong the brave. To Ravenclaw the clever. To Slytherin the ambitious, slightly evil, even.

And to Hufflepuff the righteous.

Which of these corresponds to your character?

Maybe, the talking hat can help.

There’s a pretty popular personality test in the internet these days. Ordered by “Time“ magazine. Millions of people have already answered the 21 self-assessing questions and were assigned to one of the four Hogwarts houses from “Harry Potter“.

The whole procedure only takes a couple of minutes.

It was cooked up at Cambridge University. The response actually surprised the developers. More than 1.3 million participants gave the young scientists permission to use their data for the research. Most of the answers came from the US: more than 400.000.

And with their data from the Hogwarts houses test, the students constructed a study of how the courage of people in a region affects business launches. So, “Harry Potter and the start-ups“… Or, in other words, do brave people, who consider themselves a Gryffindor, establish more companies than Hufflepuffs? And do business start-ups of the brave ones have better chances to survive in a region full of Gryffindors?

The Zollhof-Tech Incubator

In our sponsoring department, we look for ideas of today and tomorrow that bring value to the Siemens brand. Even we ourselves often think like a start-up. And we also ask ourselves: How can we, as a sponsoring partner, add more value with start-ups? Why do we use a sponsoring approach to support start-ups anyway? The Zollhof-Tech Incubator located in Nuremberg and sponsored by Siemens is one of our homes for tech start-ups and digital innovators in Germany. There we provide in-house services tailored to them. They can focus on growing and making the difference. We are looking for game changers and rebels! We regularly organize Hackathons there and elsewhere. We respect the needs of the innovators: Those who gain our support are our partners, not beggars. We offer chances to blossom that they would not find in the everyday work-life.

Then and now

It takes courage to start a business. But courage is not enough. Over the last 170 years, Siemens has continuously invented new things. We are likely to be the world’s oldest start-up-garage. “Made in Berlin“. In the past, our value chain ran from inventing to producing. Today you have to think about where you invent. Inside the company? Or can start-ups do that for us?

Because of the age of our company, there are both weaknesses and strengths. We have production in railway business, and we offer integrated solutions in smart infrastructure – only to mention two areas. Our product portfolio is gigantic. We have the old and the very new.

Our modern headquarters at Wittelsbacherplatz is the spearhead of the company. But out in the production facilities at the gates of Munich, it looks different. There it pops. Sparks are flying. It’s booming. We are talking about craft. Getting that together is not easy. Staying agile in the company is part of being – and staying – a big, successful company. We must offer creative space. Placing beanbags in the corridors and offering eight different sorts of coffee? That’s not enough. Employees want to work unlimited and flexible. We need to lead them towards goals and not focus on hours worked.

What the founders are searching for

Founders of companies are overloaded by bureaucracy. They don’t want to administer. They want to develop their products. They would like it best to have sponsors who let them do their thing without interfering at all. It’s not that easy. But we don’t choke them with our rules. We leave them outside the complex structures – but we don’t leave them alone. Our 100% daughter “Next 47“ is searching for smaller start-ups. We give them access to our facilities, engineers, and scientists.

The mobility of the future

How can external impulses be integrated? We must identify and install disruptive technologies. Through disruptive technologies, companies with few resources have the chance to challenge established businesses. We are familiar with that because the market demands it. Who doesn’t participate, gets left behind. Once, building a high-speed train used to be like rocket science. We were the only ones capable of doing it. Now, China is building and offering high-speed trains. Image-wise, it is very important for a western technology company to be awake, future oriented – and to act.

Understanding the power of data

Pure manufacturing will bring us less and less differentiation potential. The workbench of the world is in Asia. Being able to survive as a large company is limited to being a technology leader. That’s another reason why we need start-ups. It’s not about new hardware anymore. It’s about understanding what data can achieve. To, for example, optimize locomotives so that they run smoothly and deliver spare parts automatically, we need data we can evaluate with our experts and AI. That is exemplary for the change in our business model. Because new business replaces old business.

Shaping perception at CES 2020

Siemens doesn’t want to and also can’t keep up with classic VCs. Of course, we visit start-up conventions as well and check what could be relevant for us. We are interested in the connection to their portfolio while also trying to position ourselves in areas where we are relatively unknown. Inspiring capable minds for us is crucial as we find ourselves in competition with Google and eBay to get the best programmer and data analysts.

With the above in mind, we will be at the CES in Las Vegas in January 2020. The Consumer Electronics Show is the world’s biggest fair for Consumer Electronics and has evolved into a window for future trends and technologies as well as related opportunities and challenges. It attracts pioneer thinkers and business leaders. At CES 2020, we are not only able to show parts of our portfolio but also be part of the Research Summit. Our topic: “Connecting the dots for mobility solutions.” We offer touchpoints for creative and bright minds to connect with us and at the same time shape the perception of the brand as one of the global leaders in digitalization. We are empowering a new generation of thinkers to unlock the potential of their ideas.

Where do they belong?

Whether that new generation of thinkers belongs to Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff? Pretty likely to Gryffindor, like Harry Potter. The world belongs to the brave. That has also been the outcome of the aforementioned study: when the people in a region become more courageous, more companies are founded. At the same time though, there are companies being founded that should have left their plans in the drawer in the first place. Trial and error. This is also part of the deal. With our partnerships we aim to open up new routes for Siemens and its employees, and as the world belongs to the brave especially at places where we as Siemens might not be expected to be, like the CES 2020 or start-up accelerators.

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