15 colleagues from the Haniel divisions and the holding met in Lisbon at the beginning of November. The aim: gathering impressions, bringing ideas for the digital transformation of the companies and exchange views. Since large hotels are rather unsuitable for networking, the colleagues live in apartments this time. But there is no time for cosy afternoons at the large living room table, because the program is well filled:
On Sunday evening everyone got to know each other better. Some have applied for the trip at the Leadership Lab, others have been nominated as "Digital Talents". "I was very happy about the invitation. The direct exchange with colleagues from the other divisions is very valuable," says Laura Stiebitz from ELG. When everyone knew each other, the colleagues had to find out where they were going to spend the next few days.
Old city, new ideas
A ride on the historic tram took many of them through the narrow streets of the old town for the first time. Some of the buildings that survived the earthquake of 1755 are more than 500 years old. But Lisbon is not only historical, as the colleagues learned directly afterwards: During a visit to the translation platform Unbabel, they learned how a team of linguists and artificial intelligence combined their skills to translate texts into all languages in the shortest possible time. "I am impressed by the dynamic growth and high efficiency Unbabel can provide to solve language problems," says Dietmar Bochert, Senior Vice President at Haniel. After the visit we went to the Opening Night Festival of WebSummit, one of the largest technology conferences in the world. Paddy Cosgrave and Tim Berners-Lee, "Inventor of the World Wide Web", kicked off the event. They discussed the future of the Internet, the advantages and disadvantages of digitisation, risks and opportunities. There was a surprise for the participants on top: "Special Guest" Thomas Schmidt, CEO of CWS-boco and member of the Haniel board, also came to Lisbon – more exchange and networking followed in the evening and on the following day, which the colleagues spent completely on the exhibition grounds.
With 70,000 participants, over 1,200 speakers and countless exhibiting start-ups, the participants gathered many impressions and were inspired. After eight full hours on the exhibition grounds, despite smoking heads, there was still no end of work in sight: the colleagues met with Toon Bouten, CEO of tado. During a discussion round and dinner afterwards, he shared his experiences with his Haniel colleagues as head of a young digital company that can boast an annual growth rate of 100 percent. His explanation for the success: "Big changes have to be fast. Otherwise it does not work."
Back with a full suitcase
Wednesday started with another start-up visit. Aptoide is an alternative Android App Store with over 200 million users worldwide. Users can create their own App Store and share it with friends. Aptoide has also found its own solution for payment, which is still very complicated with many apps: Without further ado, they developed their own crypto currency. "The visits to the companies round off the program well," says Oliver Matten, Digital Project Manager at Schacht One. "The exchange enables a deeper introduction to the topics. The colleagues spent the rest of the day at the summit, before they broke down their tents the following day and returned with a suitcase full of impressions and new contacts.