Mercedes-Benz at Web Summit 2017.
Stuttgart/Lisbon. Mercedes-Benz is taking part in the Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon with numerous activities, well-known speakers and the networking format "EQ Nights". The company is one of the main sponsors, emphasising the relevance of the digital transformation. At the same time Mercedes-Benz is presenting itself as an attractive employer for digital talents, and organising co-creations with startups and established players. More than 60,000 visitors from over 160 countries are expected to attendthe world's most important tech conference in the Portuguese capital from 6 to 9 November.
The PITCH competition is powered by Mercedes-Benz: this is where 200 startup companies on four stages do their best to convince a jury of their business idea, and win the prize money put up by Mercedes-Benz plus a mentoring programme. Up-to-date information about the presence of Mercedes?Benz at the Web Summit may be found under the hashtag #MBwebsummit.
Meeting point for the digital world: Lisbon is the place to be
Those in search of the future are in just the right place in the Portuguese capital: "Lisbon is currently developing into the "place to be" in the digital world. We are represented here accordingly with a Digital Delivery Hub, and are using the Web Summit to drive the digital transformation of Mercedes forward," says Wilko Stark, Head of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars Strategy and CASE. In early May Mercedes-Benz opened the world's first digital hub as a centre for the global realisation of digital products in Lisbon. And in just a few days, the Web Summit as the world's most important tech conference will be held in the maritime city for the second time. Founders, startups and established companies come together in Lisbon to exchange ideas and discuss digital trends in different business sectors. The dynamic development in digitisation is shown by the growth in visitor numbers to the Web Summit: the first conference in Dublin in 2010 was attended by around 400 visitors, and now 60,000 participants are expected.
Talents and ideas welcome: on the way to the Digital Champion
In 2017 Mercedes-Benz is one of the main sponsors. "We are currently transforming ourselves from an automobile manufacturer into the leading provider of premium mobility sevices," says Sabine Scheunert, Head of Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Innovative ideas and young talents will help us during this transformation."
Mercedes-Benz with its CASE strategy is on the way to becoming the digital champion of the automobile industry with new business models and digital products. CASE comprises the four future areas of Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric Drive. The main focus of the Web Summit activities by Mercedes-Benz is on the three pillars of Connected, Shared & Services and Electric Drive. Mercedes-Benz is organising more than 25 keynotes, workshops and discussion rounds. In addition to Sabine Scheunert, the main speakers are Dr Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, CEO of the moovel Group, Andrew Pinnington, CEO of mytaxi and Conrad Fritzsch, Director of Digitisation Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars. Speakers at one me future talk event each will be Simon Becker, architect and founder of Cabin Spacey, Ryan Evans, CEO and co-founder of Inboard Technology, and Wolfgang Gruel, mobility researcher. Also expected to attend: the professional surfer Garret McNamara.
/developers: Open software interfaces for programmers
With a ground area of 100 square metres, the two-storey stand of Mercedes?Benz is one of the largest in the auto-tech area of the show. A visit to the Coders' Lounge is particularly interesting for programmers: this is where Mercedes-Benz is presenting "/developers". For the first time this platform enables external programmers to use formerly internal "digital assets" via open software interfaces (APIs: application programming interfaces). Here developers can programme new, automobile-related applications and exchange views on the fascination of API with in-house expert.
Another highlight on the Mercedes-Benz stand is an exciting espionage game in which prizes can be won. The user can help to stop a terrorist organisation which seeks to gain control over all cars and therefore mastery over the world.
Founder PITCH: co-creation and 50,000 euros from Mercedes-Benz
The grand PITCH founder competition is powered by Mercedes-Benz: in several rounds, 200 startup companies will try to convince a jury of their business idea. The jury is made up of eleven experts from Mercedes-Benz. The contestants will compete for a main prize of 50,000 euros put up by Mercedes?Benz plus a mentoring programme. This means that Mercedes-Benz will not only support the winner in successfully following his own business idea. The aim is to develop a new product or a new service together as a co-creation.
On 7 and 8 November, the new technology and product brand EQ is inviting visitors to the "EQ Nights", a new networking format. The events which up to 500 people are expected to attend will take place in the central square "Praça Luís de Camões" in Lisbon's inner city area. Also on view will be the Concept EQ as a foretaste of a new generation of vehicles with electric, battery-powered drive systems.
On 7 November Mercedes-Benz is one of the hosts at Deutsches Haus (in the Academia das Ciências). One of the celebrities appearing at this event organised by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) will be the world-class Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara. He has been working together with Mercedes-Benz Design since as early as 2013.
"Attractive meeting point for young talent"
Four questions for Sabine Scheunert, who has been Head of Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars since July 2016. The 42 year-old studied business mathematics and has many years of experience in digital marketing and sales.
Ms Scheunert, The Geneva Motor Show or the IAA in Frankfurt are traditionally the key shows for a car-maker like Mercedes-Benz. How come the company is now one of the main sponsors of the Web Summit?
Scheunert: Mercedes-Benz is right in the middle of a transformation from an automobile manufacturer to a provider of mobility services for the society of tomorrow. Our goal is to occupy the leading role among automobile manufacturers with respect to digitisation. Achieving this means taking new approaches. And we need a discourse about future topics with a wide, progressive and creative public. Such a dialogue about the digital transformation can be found on new and inspiring platforms such as the me Convention or the Web Summit, the world's most important tech conference.
What are the specific aims of Mercedes-Benz in participating in the Web Summit?
Scheunert: For us it is about credibility, recruiting and co-creation. Let's take 'recruiting' as a particular example – we are engaged in a worldwide search for 'digital natives' and young business founders. Because we want to ally the strengths of a global corporation even more closely with the strengths of a startup. With this realignment we create an attractive working environment that is conducive to creativity and innovation, and appeals to digital talents and young people with an inventive spirit.
But your activities to attract digital talents are not retricted to the Web Summit alone?
Scheunert: No, of course not. For example, on 16 November 2017 we are organising an online job forum. This is where interested parties can get in touch with our employees on a virtual stand, and find out about the opportunities for working at Daimler in the four future fields of Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric Drive.
Let's return to the cultural transformation. How specifically is Mercedes-Benz approaching this – away from hierarchical structures and towards a startup feeling?
Scheunert: In July 2016 we called the "digitalONE" programme into being. This programme is a new departure in terms of organisation and processes: The focus here is on self-organisation, end-to-end product responsibility and a working environment according to the 'new work' approach. It means breaking down silos and establishing trailblazing working models that require completely new forms of flexibility, agility and innovative strength. We work in small, non-hierarchical teams known as "swarms". The focus of these is always on "customer-centricity". This means that our thinking and actions are determined by our drivers, the potential customers – and all the people of the world. For us it is important to make innovative and digital products tangible for the customers.