Congress at Zeppelin University sheds light on the significance of cultural commonalities

Different cultures are not an obstacle to the activities of global corporations but are rather the starting point for global value-creation and cooperation. This was demonstrated at the two-day Transcultural Leadership Summit at Zeppelin University (ZU). At the congress, around 200 participants, including corporate leaders, experts from business and academia as well as PhD. students and undergraduates from all over Germany and abroad exchanged experiences and ideas about the leadership of global corporations and civil society organisations. The focus was on Sub-Saharan Africa.

The summit was opened by Professor Josef Wieland, Director of Zeppelin University’s Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ, which is supported by the Karl Schlecht Foundation. “In times of global integration, interconnectedness and value-creation, the sustainable success of global corporations depends partly on the extent to which they can establish and leverage cross-cultural commonalities and opportunities for cooperation. In this context, addressing the chances and challenges of transcultural leadership is gaining in importance“, Professor Wieland explained. The aim of the conference was thus to create an understanding of what will be required of leadership strategies in order for them to remain ‘fit for the future‘ in the new globalised world.

The lectures, discussions and workshops of the Summit asked about, inter alia, African transcultural values, cooperation and leadership, training and educating tomorrow’s leaders, the political environment and conditions, and start-ups and business strategies. Representatives from SAP and Google presented their approaches to, and their projects concerning, digitalisation and social learning for the sub-continent. In a panel discussion, success stories from the perspective of European investors, African start-ups and civil society organisations presented the potential for entrepreneurial engagement in the region. The focal point of the congress were the future markets of Sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to its dynamic social and political developments, this region offers countless opportunities for cooperation and areas in which transcultural leadership can be applied.

The main sponsor of the congress was once again Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, which had already provided valuable support to the first congress one year before, when the Summit’s focus was on China. In his address, Marcus A. Wassenberg, Chief Financial Officer of Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, emphasised the necessity of opening up to other cultures and in this context the importance of structures to initiate and shape change processes.

Following the success of this year’s Summit, the organisers are already looking forward to the next congress in 2018. Next year, the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin – once again in collaboration with a team of dedicated ZU students – plans to place a focus on Brazil.

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