When Steffi Czerny introduced the motto "Reality rules" and announced the comeback of DLD Munich after the Corona break from 14-16 January 2022, she had no idea that the reality would soon catch up with her, too.
Fifteen months after Corona took over the world, Burda's innovation conference DLD welcomed 100 guests to DLD Summer at Munich Urban Colab and many more attendees at home in front of their screens for a hybrid conference format that offered a mix of on-site and virtual sessions.
"DLD Summer is an experiment - and you are part of it.It’s only the beginning so let’s make it a fresh new start. I’m hopeful and optimistic, that we will meet again in the near future".
Steffi Czerny, DLD's managing director
The first session of DLD Summer proved that not only Berlin is a hotspot for successful start-ups and young entrepreneurs, with the Munich-based start-up Flixmobility, which recently climbed to a $3 billion dollar valuation and is competing mightily with Deutsche Bahn with its train and bus services. What's the secret to the company's success story?
"In the end, it's really all about the team. It's about the mindset, the culture. Build something with a clear vision that provides value to customers".
Jochen Engert, FlixBus CEO
Munich-based start-up Konux, which uses artificial intelligence to monitor track systems, also raised fresh capital in early 2021 and now counts Biontech financiers Strüngmann among its investors.
"One of the biggest problems in train travel is sudden failure of equipment. With IoT and Data Science we can predict when something is going to fail and schedule maintenance just-in-time."
Maximilian Hasler, Konux co-founder
While Flixmobility and Konux stand for the innovative power of Europe, MIT economist Andrew McAfee still sees a lot of catching up to do.
"I have trouble telling a positive story about Europe in the digital age. We're finally seeing some unicorn activity - but the dominant source of company creation remains in the U.S. and China."
Andrew McAfee, MIT economist
So does Europe and Germany continue to lack innovative power? It's hard to imagine when you look at BMW's Mini Vision Urbanaut, which celebrated its physical world premiere at DLD Summer. The small van is 4.46 meters long and is designed to offer maximum space utilization in the smallest possible traffic area. Sustainability is a top priority for the vehicle, as chrome and leather were dispensed recyclable materials such as wool, polyester and cork were used instead.
Hardly any case has stirred up the financial world in 2020 as much as the Wirecard scandal. Whistleblower Pav Gill, who is featured in a new documentary by filmmaker Gabriela Sperl, served as head of Wirecard's legal department in Asia and came under massive pressure when he tried to draw attention to the discrepancies he discovered. But the urge to bring Wirecard’s illegal activities to light was greater.
"No one would have expected a listed German company to have been a criminal enterprise. What shocked me the most: The people trying to expose the company were the ones that ended up being investigated. It was the journalists doing the job of prosecutors."
Pav Gill, Whistleblower
After a day full of exciting discussions (all DLD Summer sessions can be viewed here), it was time to get out to Tegernsee and up the mountain the following day. More than a hundred participants had registered for DLD Wanderlust to deepen the discussions of the previous day during a hike followed by deep-dive sessions. Here at the latest it became clear: The unique DLD spirit has not been lost during the long break forced by Corona.