May 03rd 2021

Successful premier of virtual GLOBAL DEBATE DURHAM - MCI

Entrepreneurship meets Digitalization: Experts from academia and business discuss shaping the future.


Virtual Global Debate Durham - MCI.
Virtual Global Debate Durham - MCI. (c) MCI


Initially planned as an on-campus event hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® and Durham University Business School decided to premiere the debate in a virtual format. The first virtual version of the GLOBAL DEBATE offered a forum for exchange between academia and industry experts featuring prominent participants such as Anastassia Lauterbach, successful entrepreneur, multi-supervisory board member and expert in artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.

Susan Hart, Executive Dean of the Durham University Business School and Andreas Altmann, Rector of MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® welcomed their audience in the popular MCI Livetalk format, enhancing the reach beyond the audience typically expected to attend a physical event. Kiran Fernandes, Associate Dean for Internationalisation of Durham University Business School and a set of high-profile speakers addressed issues of changing digital ecosystems, value creation, and ethics in the digital world and discussed the effects these issues can have on economic margins of businesses.

Anastassia Lauterbach emphasized that AI is not rocket science but rather the application of mathematics from the 1930s and 40s. However, we now use it systematically in applied research supported by data availability and equipped with enhanced means to learn from the data. Today, AI can be found in nearly every occupation. Companies use AI for forecasting, optimizing processes or building robots to compensate for the prevailing lack of skilled workers. These developments offer opportunities for every system - but also require careful attention. According to Lauterbach, AI also holds many risks and ethics play a major role surrounding its application. However, finding a global solution turns out to be difficult, because much of what is considered ethically correct in Europe has no meaning in Asia and vice versa. Ethics cannot work without a temporal and geographical reference. In the end, Lauterbach emphasizes that with AI still merely being mathematics, human intelligence will remain important, especially in the interpretation of data.

The two panel sessions were chaired by Markus Kittler, Academic Director Executive PhD at the MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® and Tyrone Pitsis, Professor of Strategy and Technology at Durham University Business School and addressed the key theme of the debate “Entrepreneurship meets Digitalisation”.

In the first panel, the participants looked at new possibilities that come with ever-increasing digital connectivity. There was a healthy debate on what digitalization means for entrepreneurship, querying whether digitalization will still leave room for entrepreneurial activity or whether we will increasingly see a playground for large incumbent firms? Consequences of typical ethical dilemmas surrounding increased digital connectivity were the topic concluding the first panel.

The second panel involved industry experts discussing the nexus of value creation and digital technologies.  Another central topic was the role of culture and the challenges organisations and people face in (co)creating and sustaining value. With participants agreeing that culture is essential, it also needs to be carefully embedded in the organisation as it would be meaningless for cultural ‘rules’ to merely ‘sit on a piece of paper’.

The GLOBAL DEBATE DURHAM - MCI provided insights into recent practices surrounding digitalization and entrepreneurship. Both institutions offer further events linking academia and industry already scheduled.

Upcoming Events organised by Durham University Business School are found at  offering a series of research seminars with high-profile academics.

At MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® the Livetalk series continues with high-profile practitioners and politicians:


Mag. Bettina Stichauner | Head Alumni Center Alumni & Friends
Mag. Bettina Stichauner Head Alumni Center +43 512 2070 - 1700
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