How Ecosystems Power Progress
There’s never been a better time to look beyond Silicon Valley: innovation is happening at an astounding pace all around the world – often in places that don’t get all the attention that they deserve. But what are the ingredients needed to build future champions?
Here are some key takeaways from expert talks about the power of ecosystems, how to attract founders, talent and investors, and what it takes to build future unicorns. For more talks about across a wide spectrum of topics, please visit our DLD Munich 2023 page and take a look at our Youtube channel.
A Microscope for Human Advancement
How do you measure human progress? And how can insights gained from these measurements help advance human progress even further? These questions drove McKinsey’s work on a report named Pixels of Progress that the consultancy’s Senior Partner Solveigh Hieronimus presents in her talk. The findings, she explains, offer a “much more granular view of the world” by looking not just at countries but regions and cities. The results can be surprising – and highly illuminating, as you’ll see.
Israel: Engine of Innovation
Israel has pulled off a remarkable feat: In many fields of technology, the nation is a driver of innovation as Amiram Appelbaum illustrates in his talk. One key to success? Israel spends more than 5 percent of its GDP on research and development. In this respect, “Israel is number one” worldwide, Appelbaum points out. The head of the country’s Innovation Authority also explains why so many international companies have R&D centers in Israel and how the country managed to built an ecosystem of startups and partners around the globe.
Unicorns on the Move
You could fill an entire library with books describing the success of Silicon Valley. But lately, things have been changing: more and more companies grow up elsewhere in the world and become big enough to earn the coveted unicorn status – meaning their valuation exceeds one billion US dollars. “What would you guess is the percentage of unicorns bred outside the US today?”, investor Linda Rottenberg asks in her presentation. The answer might surprise you. And her deck of slides is full of insights that illustrate how far the spirit of Silicon Valley has traveled – and how “the global ambitions of founders are growing”, as Rottenberg observes.
Africa’s Big Leap Ahead
Africa is an continent rich with opportunities – especially when it comes to digital transformation, as the example of M-PESA shows. When telecom provider Safaricom conceived the mobile payment system in 2007, it was a way for its customers in Kenya to send money via SMS. Today, M-PESA is widely used across Africa and has inspired similar services on other continents.
“It’s a payment system we can only dream of in Germany”, moderator Ludwig von Bayern admits in the session African Leapfrogging, which highlights how the combination of technology and a fast-growing, young population can make Africa the focus of innovation in the near future.
Nigeria is already a star among African nations when it comes to technology startups. “Last year alone, more than 2 billion US dollars were invested in the Nigerian tech ecosystem”, Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, head of the country’s IT development agency emphasizes. His talk also shows what Nigeria is doing to attract even more capital and how the country wants to become a “global talent factory” for the tech industry.
Where Science Meets Entrepreneurship
In Germany, Munich has become a hotspot of innovation through strategic networking. Two renowned universities, LMU and TUM, provide both startups and established companies with top talent, while organizations like UnternehmerTUM foster a spirit of entrepreneurship. The result are success stories like air taxi pioneer Lilium and innovative startups like Point 12 Energy, which aims to automate the process of carbon credit certification. Watch the video to find out how Munich often manages to outshine Berlin when it comes to building future unicorns.