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Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch, Bereichsvorstand Technology bei der Otto GmbH und Co KG © Yvonne Scheller

No universal remedy, says Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch

More courage needed to spark innovations, says Otto Technology Divisional Board Member

Digital transformation is unfolding rapidly leaving some people wondering whether we are heading towards utopia or dystopia. During the recently ended 12hrs.us, the diverse possibilities were explored in 80 talks and 15 panel discussions and outlined among others by Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch, Divisional Director Technology at Otto GmbH und Co KG. Initiated by Oliver Rößling, who is also the founder of the 12min.me event, the 12hrs.us conference was held entirely in English to boost international exchange. Müller-Wünsch aka MüWü outlined his views of this approach in an interview with Hamburg News.

Hamburg News: Why do we need an event like 12hrs.us?

Müller-Wünsch: I wish to make Germany better known abroad as a digital location, which has all the skills needed for a successful future and 12hrs.us is heading in the same direction.

Hamburg News: At the moment, everything is revolving around digital change and the ability to innovate. What does innovation mean to you personally?

Müller-Wünsch: It means making things surprisingly better.

Hamburg News: And does technology improve things?

Müller-Wünsch: I am convinced that technology improves our lives and expands our possibilities. I believe, for instance, that audio will be the next level of interaction in many areas.

Hamburg News: To what extent has the willingness for genuine digital change become anchored across commerce in Hamburg?

Müller-Wünsch: The required open-mindedness is in existence. We have no problem with knowledge. Yet, everyone is looking for the universal remedy at present. But there is no such thing. We have to be more courageous and get started.

Hamburg News: And how can this courage be fostered?

Müller-Wünsch: By knowing our strengths. Courage comes from knowing which of my skills I can trust.

Hamburg News: What does Hamburg need to become even more innovation-friendly?

Müller-Wünsch: The city could improve the financial framework. Those who take risks could be given tax relief.

Hamburg News: Where have you noticed good approaches?

Müller-Wünsch: The launch of the ahoi.digital in late 2017 was a promising nucleus. As a rule, it then takes three to five years to fully develop potential and for a sound infrastructure to emerge with diverse contacts between industry and science. This creates a solid foundation for the future because we need strength to survive in the digital flexing of muscles.
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Interview by Yvonne Scheller

Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch

Dr. Michael Müller-Wünsch was born in 1961 in Berlin. Later, he obtained a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and began an academic career. In 1996, he switched to the business world and held executive positions in companies such as Herlitz, myToys.de and Lekkerland before being appointed Otto Divisional Director Technology (CIO) in 2015 after the position was created especially for him. Two years ago, the jury of the “CIO of the Year 2017” honoured him with the special “Innovation Award”.

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