Prof. Dr. Matthias Weiss takes over the Chair of "Innovation Management & Transformation"

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weiss, 43, is the holder of the new Zeppelin Chair of Innovation Management & Transformation at ZU. He will be offering his first course this fall semester in September.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weiss. (Photo: ZU/Michael Scheyer)

What can students learn from him? Prof. Weiss has a background in behavioral research. "For example, it's about enabling people to increase their creativity so that they have ideas," explains Prof. Weiss. "But at the same time, it's also about finding out what really works and what doesn't." Innovation should not be an end in itself, because: "Just because something is new doesn't mean it's better." Innovation only adds value if something can be sustainably improved. A renewal that cannot improve anything because it is rejected by employees, for example, is useless.

The Chair of Innovation Management & Transformation is therefore also concerned with team research, which looks at the conditions that need to be in place for new technologies to actually be used. "This is also part of the concept of sustainability," says Prof. Weiss, "not just environmental protection or improving the world, but also strategic thinking and entrepreneurial planning."

"We are very pleased about the new chair and that Professor Matthias Weiss has chosen us, because he is expanding our first-class teaching with skills that will be essential for leaders in the future," says ZU President Professor Klaus Mühlhahn at Prof. Weiss' introductory meeting with the press. "And we are also very grateful to the benefactor of the chair, Zeppelin GmbH, for making the chair financially possible," added President Mühlhahn.

The "Innovation Management & Transformation" chair is part of the Department of Economics and is endowed by Zeppelin GmbH. "The Zeppelin Group and Zeppelin University have been working closely together for many years," said Peter Gerstmann, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of the Zeppelin Group. "In line with our slogan "We create Solutions", we have been developing digital services and business models for our customers in the Zeppelin Group for many years. We are therefore delighted to be able to actively support qualified and committed students in this field in the future."

Component of a comprehensive renewal process

According to President Mühlhahn, the "Innovation Management & Transformation" chair is only the first of several new chairs that ZU is currently establishing. "We live in a world of profound upheaval," explains Prof. Mühlhahn, "and we want our graduates not only to be able to participate in this upheaval, but to actively shape it." Other teaching assignments will deal with artificial intelligence and data science, virtual reality, sustainable accounting and controlling, business analysis and social structure analysis.

The fact that ZU is establishing so many chairs at once is unprecedented for Prof. Matthias Weiss. "I was in Bochum and Munich - two of the ten largest universities in Germany - and a process like this would be something special there too." He had the advantages of the much smaller Friedrichshafen University in mind right from the start - having most recently worked in Nijmegen in the Netherlands: "I also chose ZU," explains Prof. Weiss, "because I can work on an interdisciplinary basis here." The larger the university, the more difficult this is to achieve.

A suitable network through which Prof. Weiss can also spread his expertise in the region already exists at ZU: the "Lake Constance Innovation Cluster Digital Change" (BIC). "Through the BIC and our start-up center PioneerPort, we have a direct connection to many companies in the region," says BIC Director Elisabeth Lindt, "and we have noticed a great need for the exchange of experience and knowledge. The ZU sees itself as a catalyst for innovation here."

Companies that have joined the network meet every two to three weeks to share their experiences with digital technologies. On 14 July, the BIC will hold an anniversary conference to mark its 5th anniversary entitled: "Recognizing megatrends - shaping the future".

Time to decide

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