Innovation Diaries: Dealing with an Uncertain Future

As we are going through tumultuous times, people working in the field of innovation or who are tasked with shaping their company’s future are trying to answer one key question: “How do paradigm shifts change the way companies innovate?” To find answers and guidance for one’s own challenges, we cannot only rely on analysing what has worked in the past. The field of innovation with all its touchpoints and dependencies is constantly changing. Instead, we have to talk to the people who are facing these kinds of transformations right now. We have to learn from their current successes and – above all – listen to their predictions and plans for the future. That’s exactly what we did over the past couple of months. The “we” in this case are Bente Zerrahn, Innovation Catalyst at Axel Springer, and I, Catharina van Delden, Co-Founder of innosabi. We did in-depth interviews with innovators across several industries and the public sector to really find out, how innovation is shifting and transforming at this very moment. We published the result as Innovation Diaries, a series of articles on LinkedIn. To give you an easy overview and central starting point to dive into the individual interviews, here’s a list and short description of all of them:

Franziska Mair, HARTMANN GROUP

How can you get your entire company on board the digital transformation train and make change a positive thing so no one gets left behind? This is a question that many companies with non-digital business models are facing. Franziska Mair, Senior Manager Digital Innovation at Hartmann, shared with us how she tackles this challenge to drive digital innovation in a traditional healthcare business! Read the full interview with Franziska on LinkedIn.

Jochen Werne, PROSEGUR

Prosegur’s Chief Visionary Officer Jochen Werne joined us for a deep dive interview about transforming a security business in the age of digital and crypto. His appeal to business leaders in this continuously shifting environment: Take your time and try to at least get the gist of things. You should understand what technology can and cannot do, and not just follow your daily headlines. Read all of Jochen’s insights in the full article.


Innovation is not only about companies and startups. It’s also about politics and governance! Especially for cities, this means providing the right structures to foster innovation and at the same time innovate and transform themselves. A challenging task that we discussed with Julia Post, City Councillor of Munich. Our takeaway: clearly communicating a vision becomes even more important when working in a public context. You can find the full interview with Julia here.

Sabine Menzel, L’OREAL

L’Oréal doesn’t see beauty as its main business any more. Today, it’s all about beauty tech and reinventing the future of beauty at the intersection of science and technology. For Sabine Menzel, Market & Media Intelligence Director at L’Oréal, this comes down to a lot of data and research that respect the individuality of regions and support the sustainability goals of the company. Read our whole conversation with Sabine on LinkedIn.

Sepp Maier, AGCO

Feeding the world’s growing population in a sustainable and ecologically responsible way is one of our greatest challenges. This will only be possible with innovative technologies and new solutions in agriculture and farming. With the possibilities provided by digitalization and data analytics, AGCO is doing exactly that. For Sepp Maier, Global Product Manager at AGCO, evolving the company from a traditional machinery manufacturer to a leader in smart, sustainable agriculture solutions is a matter of making innovation everyone’s business – not just a dedicated department. Read more about AGCO and their innovation culture in the full interview.

Sarah Wittlieb, LAB CAMPUS

The most recent years have brought one of the most drastic changes in the way we work and – as a direct result – how workplaces adapt to the employees’ needs. While this can be a great challenge for companies, it also offers a tremendous opportunity: rethink the role of our offices and bring the focus back on creativity, innovation, and humans. That’s how Sarah Wittlieb, VP Sales & Innovation at LabCampus, sees the bigger picture of the cross-industry innovation center that they are building at Munich Airport. The full interview with Sarah is available here.

Tom Koniordos, YARA MARINE

Few industries are affected by recent paradigm shifts as much as the shipping and maritime industries: Ship technologies are at the core of climate change discussions, harbors closing during the pandemic, changing supply chains, geopolitical instability, resource shortages, rising fuel prices — you name it. Dr. Thomas Koniordos, the CEO of Yara Marine Technologies, is “sailing his ship in the midst of this storm” and turns these challenges into an opportunity to build a greener maritime industry. We have talked with him in detail about this mission.

Thomas Kropf, BOSCH

When you are willing to describe your successful corporate research as an “unfair competitive advantage”, you are definitely doing something right. For Thomas Kropf, Head of Research at Bosch, this is only possible when you are continuously striving for excellence, valuing expert opinions (not just the highest-paid individuals), and embracing the “We innovate for life”-Spirit of Bosch. Read more about how this works in practice in our interview.

Christoph Krois, SIEMENS

Siemens has been on top of the innovation game for close to two centuries now – consistently. How are they able to do that? That’s what we wanted to find out when interviewing Christoph Krois, founder of the Siemens Innovation Ecosystem. The short answer: spotting the underlying opportunities whenever there’s a paradigm shift and understanding that humans are your most valuable asset. The long answer: is here in the full-length interview.