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"Leading through Innovation!"
This was the Alumni Day 2015

Alumni Club discussed recipes for innovation

Bh 107
Photo: Andrea Reischer ZOOM
Blue Hour

"Danube University Krems started as an “Innovation Project” and is now one of the leading universities of continuing education in Europe.” With these words, Friedrich Faulhammer, Rector of Danube University Krems, welcomed the large Blue Hour audience to the Alumni Day 2015, titled "Leading through Innovation," organized by the Danube University Krems. The following people were involved in discussing the best roads to innovation: Mag. Maive Rute, MBA, Director of the European Commission and in charge of research promotion and innovation; Professor Mag. Dr. Gerald Steiner, university professor of organizational communication & Innovation, Danube University Krems; Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Reinhard Willfort, Managing Director of ISN Innovation Service Network, founder of the crowd funding platform 1000x1000 and lecturer at Danube University Krems; Niki Ernst, MBA, Managing Director of planetsisa GmbH, founder of Silicon Valley Inspiration Tours and a graduate of the Danube Executive MBA.

Austria ranks 18 according to the latest AT Kearney innovation ranking. "Good is the worst enemy of excellence", said Rute, commenting on Austria’s good performance. In terms of innovation, however, she finds Austria lagging behind, particularly due to the lack of venture capital and some weaknesses in the education sector. Gerald Steiner, who himself worked for Harvard University and hence knows the American innovation system, sees Austria’s innovative strength in the strong SMEs that would be able to rely on innovative, skilled labor. “I can’t copy Silicon Valley, it’s about shaping,” says Steiner. Future solutions for Austria as a research and innovation location must be viewed in complex systems and thought through together. There is a particular need in Austria to improve collaboration between research and industry.

Reinhard Willfort sees one road to more innovation in stimulating and utilizing networks. In most companies there are usually two types of organization: the hierarchy pyramid on the one hand, and, in parallel, a network structure with the same people on the other, but one that is usually hidden. “The network structure must be cultivated, this is the creativity generator,” says Willfort. Niki Ernst speaks in favor of cultural change. In his Silicon Valley Tours, he mainly shows the participants a different approach to innovation and success. Austria has a culture of envy that tends to relativize success. In Silicon Valley, on the other hand, people actively share their ideas with others and can count on the others’ financial support, as the Pay Forward model shows. “Cynicism is toxic,” Ernst points out. However, a good recipe doesn’t make a good cook. In the field of innovation one cannot just swap recipes with other cultures.

The discussion was hosted by Andrea Lehky from the national newspaper ‘Die Presse’. About 180 graduates of Danube University Krems listened to the 90-minute discussion, including students from the year of 1995, the year in which the Danube University Krems began its teaching operations. Rector Faulhammer was delighted to welcome these students in the course of the Alumni Day.



Photos of the Alumni-Day