Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions

Christoph Burger, Senior lecturer, ESMT Berlin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the hype of today’s financial and technology news. But there is a veil over the risks and benefits of blockchain, its underlying technology. What are the main characteristics of this technology? How can it benefit businesses? What are the implications? This session – for blockchain experts, amateurs, opponents, and enthusiasts – will address blockchain’s development, its business applications, and its challenges.

Christoph Burger is a senior lecturer at ESMT Berlin whose research focus is on the energy sector, innovation, blockchain, decision making, and negotiation. He is coauthor of the dena/ESMT study on “Blockchain in the Energy Transition” and of the book The Decentralized Energy Revolution – Business Strategies for a New Paradigm. He directs and teaches the ESMT courses Decision Making, Blockchain, and Innovation As a Corporate Model in addition to customized programs and programs for senior executives.

Francis de Véricourt, Professor of Management Science, ESMT Berlin

The machine is increasingly outperforming humanity at solving very hard problems, from playing the ancient Go board game to discovering new drugs or diagnosing cancers. Although the rise of the machine is mostly perceived as a technological disruption, it is at heart a radical shift of mindset to tackle complexity. This session will explore what leaders and decision makers need to know about the nature of this alternative perspective on complexity, how it radically differs from traditional approaches, as well as its most fundamental limitations.

Francis de Véricourt is a professor of management science at ESMT Berlin. His research interest is in the area of data-driven and managerial decision making, with a current focus on healthcare, business sustainability, and service systems. He is the author of many research articles, has extensively published in leading academic journals, and has received a number of awards in addition to holding editorial positions in flagship journals in operations research and management science.

Johannes Habel, Associate Professor, Program Director, Co-director, Hidden Champions Institute (HCI), ESMT Berlin

Donald Trump used it, the Brexit proponents used it, and companies are increasingly exploring its benefits: microtargeting, a method that allows marketers to automatically profile individuals and customize their offers accordingly. In this interactive session, you will learn what microtargeting is, how it works, and how far the technology has progressed. We will also try to look into the future of microtargeting and discuss its ethical ramifications.

Johannes Habel is an associate professor and program director at ESMT Berlin. In his research and teaching, he focuses on the sales and marketing strategies of so-called hidden champions, that is, highly successful SMEs with low levels of public recognition. His research passion lies in analyzing how to improve the success of large field forces. His work has been published in some of the world’s leading academic management journals, including the Journal of Marketing.

Stefan Wagner, Associate Professor of Strategy and Director of PhD Studies, ESMT Berlin

Freemium pricing is pervasive in the mobile apps market, where consumers strongly favor apps that are free and monetized through in-app purchases rather than advertisements. It spans news publishing, music streaming, consumer software, online gaming, online retailing, professional networking platforms, and dating sites, but it can also be found in tangible products such as Tesla vehicles. Although the basic freemium design is the same across platforms and products – the combination of free and paid-for content – there is nevertheless broad variation in the specific implementation of freemium pricing. Despite the widespread use of the freemium pricing model and the enormous heterogeneity in its implementation, little is known about its effectiveness or how consumer demand responds to such pricing. In this session, we will discuss the major drivers for the profitability of freemium models and will look at how experimentation can help firms to optimize the design of freemium-based models.

Stefan Wagner is a tenured associate professor of strategy at ESMT Berlin who has been a senior fellow at the Berlin Centre for Consumer Policies since 2016. In addition to venture creation and growth strategies for young firms, his research interests cover the intersection of firm strategy, technological innovation, industrial organization, and law. His current focus is on the interaction of the changing landscape of intellectual property rights (in particular patent systems) and firms’ strategies regarding their innovative activities.

The Hidden Champions Institute (HCI) is the world’s first academic institution dedicated to hidden champions, thus providing them with an academic home. The HCI presents one of its strategic partners in a session chaired by ESMT Berlin to illustrate issues relevant for (not only) hidden champions.


A workshop introduced by Claire Cizaire, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Mazars, and moderated by Patrick Oelze, Senior Manager, Mazars
Chair: Bianca Schmitz, ESMT Berlin

Get inspired by a practical example of how a transformation process can be conceived and implemented in compliance with tax and IT-specific requirements. Looking at the current business model, its pain points and strengths, we will identify the most powerful lever for the company: business process digitization or the digital transformation of the business model itself. In a second step we will work out what would be the first sprints on the road to implementation.

Claire Cizaire is a GenY entrepreneur, executive and data scientist. Claire holds an MSc from the French engineering school Supélec and a PhD from MIT. She began her career in 2007 as a strategic consultant at Mars & Co in London. Claire then founded a US-based start-up specialised in pricing and yield management. In 2014, she joined VINCI to head its ESCOTA Toll Operations Department and lead VINCI Autoroutes’ group innovation strategy. Claire is fluent in English, French and Mandarin.

As an auditor and advisor Patrick Oelze advances the digital transformation of legacy business models. Starting from a comprehensive analysis of the existing business model Patrick fosters the implementation of innovative tools and methodologies for Mittelstand and large companies. Patrick lives in Sweden and has his main office in Berlin. He is a regular speaker and contributor at University of Leipzig, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Leon Hess Business School (NJ) and closely collaborates with leading start-ups in an international context.