The 12th Peter Drucker Forum was held online from October 28 to 30 2020. Named after Austrian-born American management consultant Peter Drucker, the Forum is one of the world’s premier management conferences. TTTech CEO and Co-founder Georg Kopetz participated in a panel discussion titled “Regaining Industry Leadership – A European Challenge”.
The high-profile panel was chaired by Hult Business School professor Mark Esposito. Next to Kopetz, panelists included Helmut Reisinger (CEO Orange Business Services), Sabine Herlitschka (CEO&CTO, Infineon Technologies Austria), Lukas Mandl (Member of the European Parliament) and Muriel Pénicaud (French Ambassador to the OECD and former French Labor Minister).
Europe has a leading role in several key industries such as pharma and banking. However, the downsides of its strong specialization on services vs. production in recent years have become evident through the present crisis. How can Europe maintain and possibly extend its industry leadership in the future? All panelists agreed that, despite its complexity, Europe’s strength lay in its perceived trustworthiness overseas. Europe also projects strong shared values, from sustainability to the value placed on scientific enquiry. However, many pointed out a lack of the entrepreneurship necessary to put theory into practice, possibly attached to a cultural fear of failure.
TTTech is one of the few companies that have managed to scale from startup to corporate successfully and still decided to maintain its headquarters in Europe. It must be made easier for more European startups and scaleups to follow suit, according to CEO and co-founder Georg Kopetz. “Entrepreneurs are the key drivers of innovation,” he said. “We need entrepreneurial thinking in all aspects of life.” He added that technology was meaningless without a purpose and that Europe should implement a purpose-driven framework for innovation, combining its thought leadership and trustworthy image with digital know-how.
Furthermore, Kopetz pointed out the importance of developing a unified European financial market to give promising startups easier access to capital and investors. All panelists equally stressed the importance of education, not just financial education but lifelong learning to support the innovations of tomorrow.
The title of this year’s Drucker Forum was “Leadership everywhere. A fresh perspective on management”. Even though Drucker himself never addressed the distinction between management and leadership and used the term “management” to refer to both consistently, introducing leadership into the equation opens doors to broader subjects, including industry leadership. “Europe must have the ambition of leadership,” Kopetz said in his closing remarks. “As a continent, we have excellent relations to both Asia and the Americas. Europe is in an ideal position to bring global cooperation back to this planet.”