to Content

11: Challenges of the digital economy: Pioneer or fast follower

Congress Centrum Alpbach
Breakout / Working Group
german language

Adapting and constantly evolving an organisation is critical for its long-term resilience. Nowadays, the speed of change is increasing drastically due to digitalisation. Is it important to lead this transformation or is a ‘fast follower’ approach sufficient? How do businesses, politics and science encounter the digital age?


Chief Executive Officer, RHI Magnesita, Vienna
Managing Director, FFG - Austrian Research Promotion Agency, Vienna
Global Leader, McKinsey Analytics, McKinsey & Company, London
Austrian Federal Minister of Finance, Vienna
Editor, ORF Eco, ORF - Austrian Broadcast Company, Vienna Chair


Chief Executive Officer, RHI Magnesita, Vienna

1985 Graduation in Business Administration, University Saarbrücken
1985-1987 MBA, University of St. Gallen-HSG
1990-1998 Marketing, Sales and Logistics, Qualitiy Management, BASF Group, Ludwigshafen
1998-2004 Various leadership positions, BASF Group, Ludwigshafen
2004-2012 Chief Executive Officer, Lonza Group, Basel
2012-2016 President and Chief Executive Officer, Israel Chemicals Ltd., Tel Aviv
 Since 2017 Chief Executive Officer, RHI Magnesita, Vienna
2016-2017 Chief Executive Officer, RHI AG, Vienna


Managing Director, FFG - Austrian Research Promotion Agency, Vienna

 Henrietta Egerth studied commercial science at the University of Linz and then she worked for some years in Brussels. On her return to Vienna, she worked for the Federation of Austrian Industry before moving to the Ministry of Economics and Labour in 2000, where she was responsible for business promotion and research and development. Since 2004 Henrietta Egerth is General Manager of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

Nicolaus HENKE

Global Leader, McKinsey Analytics, McKinsey & Company, London

 Nicolaus Henke, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, advises leading companies on improving decision making and performance through advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and end-to-end data enabled transformations.
 He is global leader of McKinsey Analytics, with more than 2000 analysts and translators and Chairman of QuantumBlack, a company operating at the intersection of strategy, technology and design, acquired by McKinsey in 2015. He is also a member of McKinsey's global Board, the Shareholders Council and a founding member of the Board of the Innovative Healthcare Delivery at Duke Medicine. He serves on the Dean's Advisory Council, Harvard Kennedy School.
 Nicolaus frequently speaks on big data, analytics and healthcare topics at global fora such as the World Economic Forum and Forbes.
 He graduated with distinction with a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Business from the University of Münster and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Dr. Hartwig LÖGER

Austrian Federal Minister of Finance, Vienna

1984 Bundesheer inkl. Offiziersanwärterausbildung und Pilotenaufnahmeprüfung
1985-1986 Kundenbetreuer, AON Jauch & Hübener Versicherungsmakler GmbH, Graz
1987-1988 Versicherungswirtschaft, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
1989-1996 Verkaufsleiter, Allianz Versicherung AG, Graz
1996-1997 Assistent der Geschäftsleitung, Grazer Wechselseitige Versicherung AG, Graz
1997-2002 Leiter Vertrieb, Stammorganisation Donau Versicherung AG, Wien
1999-2001 Internationaler Managementlehrgang (IMEA), Universität St. Gallen
2002-2005 Geschäftsführer, UNIQA International Versicherungs-Holding GmbH, Wien
2005-2011 Leiter Exklusivvertrieb Konzern UNIQA Versicherungen AG, Wien
 Seit 2017 Bundesminister für Finanzen
2013-2017 Vorsitzender des Vorstands (CEO), UNIQA Österreich Versicherungen AG

Mag. Katinka NOWOTNY

Editor, ORF Eco, ORF - Austrian Broadcast Company, Vienna

 Katinka Nowotny is an engaged and enthusiastic TV journalist based in Vienna, Austria. She has worked for two decades for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF, reporting and producing documentaries for the foreign news magazine "Weltjournal".
 Currently she is working for the economics program "Eco". She also regularly produces English-language reports on Austria for CNN "World View".
 Katinka grew up in Cairo, New York and Vienna. In her professional career, she has repeatedly reported from crisis zones: North Korea, Sarajevo during the Balkan wars, the war in Kosovo, Ground Zero, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, and from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
 She now specializes in reports on the current economic stories, successful Austrian companies, innovative ideas and personal finance.
 Katinka, was born in 1964, studied economics and sociology at the University of Vienna and then received a master`s degree in journalism at New York University. She has worked for ABC News and the German TV network ZDF. Since 1991, she produces and reports for various news magazines at ORF. She has received numerous prizes and awards in Austria and abroad.
 In 2005, Katinka became started as one of the first women to do her own camera work for her television reports.
 "The most important point in my job is to show a lot of respect to the people I encounter and to listen carefully to every nuance of their story", she says.
 Katinka is married to a newspaper journalist and has two children. She loves rowing and mountaineering in her free time.

Economic Symposium

show timetable


10:00 - 12:30Charity Soccer Match - Good Game, Good PurposeSocial
14:00 - 14:30OpeningPlenary
14:30 - 15:30"I have a dream": I dream of a diverse and resilient EuropePlenary
16:00 - 17:30The future of data economyPlenary
18:30 - 20:00ecoplus and "So schmeckt Niederösterreich" Lower Austria EveningSocial
20:00 - 21:30Innovation 101: The "diversity" factorPlenary


08:00 - 09:00Europe BreakfastPartner
08:00 - 09:00Swiss Country Breakfast: RicolaPlenary
08:00 - 09:00Swiss Country Breakfast: logitechPlenary
09:00 - 10:30Agility and resilience: Superpowers to handle complexityPlenary
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 01: Digital Future Game: Requirements for a digital societyBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 02: An unpredictable future - Digitalisation in individual trafficBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 03: Digital leadership - How states and businesses lead through the digital transformation successfullyBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 04: Demographic change and its effects on the future working lifeBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 05: Republic of fake news - How civil society and businesses become resilient to manipulationBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 06: Class conflict or social partnership in wage negotiations: What guarantees stability and flexibility?Breakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 07: On the green grass and in business: If you don’t shoot, you will not score.Breakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 08: Specialisation and diversification - What businesses can learn from natural sciencesBreakout
11:00 - 13:30Breakout Session 09: The rising of "TECHNIUM": Is it real, fantasy or artificial?Breakout
13:30 - 15:00Lunch ReceptionSocial
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 10: Playmaker or match ball - Resilience in times of disruptionBreakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 11: Challenges of the digital economy: Pioneer or fast followerBreakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 12: Transparency instead of discretion? HR as a key for equal payBreakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 13: Strategic big data management: How do today's customers work?Breakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 14: We don't need no education! Economic education as a business-location factorBreakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 15: Blockchain and the new cryptoeconomics: Are economy and society facing the next revolution?Breakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 16: Cyber security - Is resilience an utopia in a digital economy?Breakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 17: Differences that make a difference: Cooperatives vs. PLCsBreakout
15:00 - 17:30Breakout Session 18: Start-up spirit @ big corporation - how much is too much?Breakout
18:15 - 19:45Working in the age of overload - Better thrive than survivePlenary
22:00 - 00:00Magenta NightSocial


08:00 - 09:00Breakfast ClubPartner
08:30 - 09:30"Kater" BreakfastPartner
09:00 - 10:30New mobility: Electric, shared or autonomous?Plenary
11:00 - 12:30Shock resistance: Downfall, intervention, resurrection?Plenary
16:30 - 20:00Economic DialoguePartner