April 25th 2016

High-class opportunities for exchange at the Colloquium Obergurgl 2016

Hotel Edelweiß & Gurgl in Obergurgl, Ötztal, summer retreat of the Austrian economist and Nobel Prize winner Friedrich August von Hayek, was recently the venue for the 5th Colloquium Obergurgl. Funded by Management Center Innsbruck and the University of Innsbruck, this year’s high-class exchange between science and economy took place under the motto “Awakening – Reconsider Society”.

In his brilliant “Hayek Lecture”, top manager Michael Krammer (CEO of the virtual telecommunications provider Ventocom and Rapid Wien President) offered insights into innovative business models and modified supply chains relying on the continued digitalization of our society. To act disruptively means to radically question and reconstruct each and every step from production to distribution as well as customer service. Cell phone providers, therefore, do not necessarily have to operate their own network in order to gain a market share. Globally successful service providers such as Uber do not even use their own taxis. In comparison to old economy, concepts such as AirBnB are able to grow rapidly without supplying their own accommodation. Krammer believes in competition to cause innovation, especially with respect to the telecommunications sector: “150 years of government monopoly did not cause much change; the 20 past years of competition, however, have provoked a true shake-up.” Hence Krammer’s management philosophy, according to which one must always imagine an improved version of present activities. Success, in this respect, inhibits innovation, for it tempts people to forever stick to the same methods.

On the first day of the Colloquium Obergurgl economic managers presented their personal reflections to spark lively discussions. The focus of the second day was on scientific research between “Digital Transformation”, “Open Innovation”, and “Crowdfunding”. Both Andreas Altmann (MCI) and Markus Walzl (University of Innsbruck) emphasized the significance of the event for both science and economy: “If we question current economic developments and parameters, we establish the basis for future innovation: Are present parameters suitable? Does our current education system meet future requirements? How do successful players use their entrepreneurial intuition and implement ideas? These economic questions are also relevant to scientific research!”

Lukas Scheiber, host and owner of Hotel Edelweiß & Gurgl, welcomed top-class guests to interesting discussions and lively conversations in Obergurgl: Among them were Jakob Edler (Professor for Innovation Policy and Strategy at the University of Manchester), SAP Manager Gerhard Zeiner, Kurt Matzler (Professor for Strategic Management at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano), Josef Gunsch (CEO of Physioterm, FC Wacker Innsbruck President), Hannelore Weck-Hannemann (Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Statistics at the University of Innsbruck), Wolfgang Meixner (Vice-Rector of the University of Innsbruck), as well as Harald Gohm (CEO of the Standortagentur Tirol) and Oliver Schwarz (CEO of Ötztal Tourismus).

Colloquium Obergurgl 2016 is an annual meeting of entrepreneurs, scientists, and media representatives held at Hotel Edelweiß & Gurgl. With the aim to promote and intensify the dialogue between science, economy, and society, the annual event offers a unique opportunity for exchange on current economic and social challenges.
The primary focus of this year’s Colloquium Obergurgl was on innovation and a number of open questions: Do established solution approaches to social, scientific, and economic policy matters suffice in order to keep up with entrepreneurial developments and promote innovative activities in economics and society? Which new impulses are necessary to inspire innovation within a digitalized and globalized world where growing interconnectedness provides more and more information and financing possibilities, while at the same time increasing competitive pressure and the necessity for differentiation and distinctiveness?

The idea to organize the Colloquium Obergurgl was born at Hotel Edelweiß & Gurgl five years ago. The conception of the contents was in the responsibility of the University of Innsbruck and Management Center Innsbruck. The event is supported by Ötztal Tourismus, the municipality of Sölden, the Standortagentur Tirol, GAS-Service and the media representatives Die Presse and pro.media kommunikation.

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