Steffi Czerny and Dominik Wichmann opened the first DLD conference in Brussels together with Burda CEO and DLD chairman Paul-Bernhard Kallen as well as the Bavarian State Minister Beate Merk.
"What are you adding...to the future of Europe?" - The global corona crisis has rapidly accelerated the digital transformation. Never before has the world been so dependent on innovation. What does all of this mean for Europe? What are the challenges to overcome? What are the opportunities to ensure Europe's future success in the world? These central questions are addressed by the current DLD Europe Lunch Breaks. For one week, speakers from the DLD Europe Community will share their ideas, suggestions, and demands for a better Europe.
Innovation through business and science
EU-Commissioner Mariya Gabriel held the opening keynote of the DLD Europe Lunch Breaks last Monday (7.9.). The Commissioner responsible for Innovation, Research, Education, and Youth called for a European Innovation Area. "The EU is well-positioned to lead in purpose driven innovation", said Gabriel. Among other initiatives, a European Innovation Area could help the economy recover more quickly after the pandemic and increase Europe's competitiveness. "We can do better in turning our scientific power into economic gains," she said.
Günther H. Oettinger reinforced that Europe can do better than remaining in a "sandwich position" between the USA and China. The former Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg has been a member of the EU Commission for nine years and was also Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. He asks everyone to participate in shaping Europe’s future: "There are a lot of people who are happy to get input," the former politician said.
Europe needs unity
Andres Sutt, Member of the Parliament of Estonia, sees unity, alongside freedom and democracy, as key assets for Europe's future: "Europe together has the scale, the size, the capital, and the skills to become a global leader in innovation and technology. But we can only archieve it if we act together and not separate.” Sutt added, that the current situation offers a lot of opportunities to increase Europe’s strength. The politican also mentioned, that this time should be leveraged to make the whole economic system more sustainable. Leaders should act as role models and drive change in this space.
More Start-Up Spirit
Elisabeth Löwenbourg-Brzezinski from growth investor Acton Capital pointed out that Europe could be much better positioned in the digital space. In her opinion, the EU should incorporate much more of a start-up mentality: "The start-up method is to try out new things, pilot, test, take effective feedback early on and, if it works, to expand and, if it doesn't work, amend quickly.” (Private) investors could lead the way in this space, because: "We need more growth capital for digital business models and digital transformation in Europe.”
In the coming days, exciting speakers will continue to explore the question of how Europe should shape the future. The full program and videos of the previous DLD Europe Lunch Breaks are available here.