Interview with Manuel P. Nappo



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"Be more Alfred" Interview with Manuel P. Nappo

Published on 05.06.2019

Alfred Escher understood that industrialization would change the rules of the game. The same thing happens - but at three times the speed, ten times more players and around the clock - digitization. We asked Manuel P. Nappo about it.

Manuel P. Nappo, Director of the Institute for Digital Business and head of MAS Digital Business at HWZ Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Alfred Escher's vision was the industrialization of Switzerland. He thought in terms of solid materials, that is, for eternity. Is there not a comparison with digitization, where fast successes and a focus on returns prevail?

Manuel P. Nappo: The comparison is valid. Although, of course, the matter has changed - they were hard materials back then and invisible technology fields today - the vision remains the same: reinventing yourself on unknown territory and creating something that is visionary and "crazy". Visions are inevitably long-term, so digitization and all its endeavours will be long-term, too. And yet: fast successes are needed. They the course for a digital future today. Companies should not shy away from accelerating, testing new technologies, giving employees more freedom of choice and redefining leadership roles.

In your article, "Be more Alfred," you demand more moonshots and an all-in mentality from today's entrepreneurs. What exactly do you mean by that?

Manuel P. Nappo: By that, I mean that you should not be afraid of a crazy idea. It's about thinking big, being visionary and courageous. In times of digitization, it takes courage to meet challenges and take risks. Risk-taking is not exactly in the Swiss DNA, but I notice that something is happening in this country and a new generation is growing up which shares this Alfred Escher thinking.

Is Switzerland's economy ready for such a change? Don't large companies with the appropriate capital often have difficulty with that?

Manuel P. Nappo: Whether ready or not, it does not matter. The Swiss economy must be ready for the digital transformation - it is finally taking place. In fact, large companies often struggle and only manage to drive ahead their digital transformation in small steps - often due to many internal organizational processes and various stakeholders. That makes it all the more important for skilled employees who undergo further training and build an ecosystem to network with start-ups and rekindle Swiss entrepreneurship.

Manuel P. Nappo will speak on this topic at Connecta Bern 2019.

Interesting

Manuel P. Nappo, Director of the Institute for Digital Business and head of MAS Digital Business at HWZ Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Manuel P. Nappo is Director of the Institute for Digital Business and head of MAS Digital Business at HWZ Zurich University of Applied Sciences. In 2013, Nappo was awarded the title of “Digital Pioneer of the Year” by IAB Switzerland for his contribution to digital education and training.

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