That was GameCHANGE – People between a Hyped Future and Technology
- Created by Michael Thomas, Andreas Wanda
Disability: Not a “bleeding-heart issue for the Christmas season” but rather a key economic factor
Gregor Demblin, who has been a paraplegic since a swimming accident more than 20 years ago, sets new standards in the fields of accessibility and dealing with disabilities with his companies myAbility and tech2people. Following societal changes in the perception of disability, Demblin is also driven by technological opportunities. “We are not only working on making wheelchair users mobile again with walking aids, but also on enabling blind people to see with implants as well as deaf people to hear. We must make our contribution to ensuring that these developments are developed with European know-how, in a spirit of research and development, and with appropriate investments.”
Research: The capital market is the “best driving force for innovation”
Andreas Kern, founder and CEO of wikifolio.com, follows his vision of democratizing the investment market and financial investment. According to Kern, the capital market is the best driving force for innovation: “The pharmaceutical industry is focused on shareholder value but invests billions in innovation.” Somebody may invent something altruistically, but a true innovation has to bring about benefits, the trained stock exchange trader explained, casting a suspicious eye at the e-mobility boom: “With electric cars we drive five times more to make use of the low mileage costs. In economic terms, enough people will presumably profit from them. “With regard to true innovations, Andreas Kern is optimistic in his summary regarding Europe: “Investors are all going to Europe, the world’s largest economy. There’s no better place in the world”, but an exaggerated safety-and-security mindset as well as regulations often stand in the way of innovative developments, he reported.
Safety: The measure of a society’s state of development
Over-regulation is not needed but certain rules of the game are, explained CEO Stefan Haas, who wants Europe to learn to deal with innovations more quickly: “Do we really believe that manufacturers would have voluntarily committed themselves to comply with ever lower emission limits or to introducing safety devices such a seat belts, ABS, airbags, crash tests and the like, or even to safe elevators? Over-regulation is not needed but rather uniform rules of the game: “Only if changes are as safe and secure as possible will they find the acceptance they require,” concluded Stefan Haas, who rejects markets that only seek the best possible function at the best price: “Consumers play an important role: What do we accept and what do we demand?”
Drive: Money does not motivate anyone to make great achievements
The market is accepting products from SONNENTOR, whose CEO is Johannes Gutmann. Launched in 1988 as a one-man operation in the Lower Austria’s Waldviertel region, the lateral thinker now employs around 330 people and exports products to over 50 countries. People have priority, not shareholder value: “In America everything revolves solely around shareholder value. I think to myself: “It’s nice to know I haven’t financed one single office chair over there!” Gutmann does not chase trends: “I don’t have the feeling of missing anything,” but he does see changes in technology and business as opportunities for further development, especially with his free-thinking approach. But money motivates no one: “Our search for meaning is what drives us. Finding partnerships, taking care of the environment – those are actually the things that technology forgets.”
Change: Sustainability and profit are not a contradiction in terms
One thing crystallized out during GameCHANGE at the TÜV AUSTRIA Campus: As different as their paths of life, fields of activity and approaches to change may be, the panelists agreed on one point: sustainability and profit do not contradict each other at all. On the contrary, only added value and profit create jobs and spaces for innovation and new technologies.