For this series of events, NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management invites entrepreneurs and managers from small and medium-sized enterprises to speak about challenges such as Industry 4.0, 3D printing, and IT security.

Companies and their managers, in order to recognize and seize opportunities, must stay focused on the big picture when facing these disruptive technological changes. Speakers from science, industry, and politics provide insights and discussion topics for the forum. The goal is to have an inspiring dialog between the speaker and participants. The Hamburg Economic Dialogue takes place twice a year.

Messestand der NIT Hamburg beim Hamburger Wirtschaftsdialog.
Diskussion am NIT: Digitalisierung und Startups


  • Work 4.0 - Humans or Machines? (January 26, 2017)
  • Hamburg - Capital of Digitization? (April 27, 2017)
  • Digital Leadership - Chances, Visions and Everyday Life (September 28, 2017)
  • 4th Hamburg Economic Dialog "The Magic of Start-ups" (January 29, 2018)
  • 3D Printing - how New Technologies change entire Industries (April 2018)
  • Blockchain - Technologies as a Basis for Social Innovation (September 11, 2018)
  • Did organizational hierarchies become obsolete? (November 5, 2018)
  • "Culture eats strategy for breakfast"—consulting slogan or corporate reality? (March 2019)
  • What can algorithms do for your company? Machine learning in practice. (November 5, 2019)
  • Innovation through crisis? Can the current crisis promote business model innovations? (May 2020)



Innovation through crisis? Can the current crisis promote business model innovations?

This is what we want to discuss with you at our (first virtual) Hamburg Economic Dialog on 18 May 2020 at 6 pm. As always, we will have experts from various disciplines with us: Together with Dirk Ploss, Head of Digital Technologies Scouting and Advisory at Beiersdorf AG and Prof. Dr. Christoph Ihl, Head of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at the TUHH, we would like to take a closer look at the topic of Business Model Innovation in Theory & Practice.

Improvization and digitalization in the crisis

How immensely important the topics of innovation and especially digitisation are is particularly evident in the crisis. Because: The current corona situation is currently turning the whole (working) world upside down. Traditional rules no longer work and new solutions must be conjured out of a hat. Wherever possible, improvisation and digitalisation are used. But what comes next?

This Hamburg Economic Dialog took place virtually via ZOOM-Call


What can algorithms do for your company? Machine learning in practice.

Together with the Miami Ad School, the audience and our panel of experts, we discussed what new ways machine learning can open up and how learning IT systems can help companies move forward. The cultural theorist and author Dr. Martin Burckhardt gave an insight into the development history of AI as well as the current and future opportunities and also possible challenges: "The most important intelligence is to be more intelligent than artificial intelligence," Martin Burckhardt summarizes the future challenge and calls: "Make yourself intelligent."

Christian Behrendt (Google) then introduced the 'Project Muze' experiment. Here, Google applied its technology to machine learning in the fashion world.


What was developed in collaboration with the e-commerce company Zalando is an attempt to build a neural network that can make creative decisions. From the preferences of 600 fashion experts, a machine process was first designed, which then produces exciting fashion designs in a playful way. "The creative examination of machine learning led to surprising insights. We learned a lot from the subsequent analysis of the design process in particular," says Behrendt.

Benjamin Ferreau, founder of the Digital Tech Agency akanoo, gave us an insight into the technical possibilities of machine learning in companies. He outlined how his agency can use AI not only to observe user behavior, but also to predict it. "The machine decides the next step depending on user behavior and the situation. Thus we transform the consulting process into the learning machine." These techniques are particularly useful for online shops.


You finally want to have your say and delve deeper into the world of machine learning?


Dr. Martin Burckhardt
Cultural theorist, company founder and programmer

Get to know the thinking of the future in a 2-day intensive training: programming, leadership, machine learning and digital philosophy. Learn to think new - yes disruptive! The aim of the tutorial is not to make a programmer of you but to provide you with an overview of blind spots, dangers, and courses of action.

Schwarz Weiß Bild von Herr Burckhardt


Benjamin Ferreau
Industrial engineer, lecturer, Digital Expert & Entrepreneur

The term AI is ubiquitous and is considered the next industrial revolution due to its disruptive impact on virtually all industries. Artificial intelligence is the umbrella term for machines and programs which, like humans, can learn, judge and solve problems independently by evaluating enormous amounts of data.

With the right application, extremely high automation potentials and the associated cost savings can be realized.

AI in the entrepreneurial practice (Focus: Marketing)

Become able to speak and get a comprehensive overview of the topic AI with this introductory workshop. However, the offer goes one step further and does not only give a general insight, but also shows explicit application possibilities of this technology in business practice with a focus on Marketing & Sales. Learn which skills will be required in the future so that you can successfully manage your plans and projects.


  • Basics of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • The use of AI in business practice
  • Integration of the technology into the organizational structure   
  • Concrete examples of the use of AI in practice

Target audience:

Managing directors, executives, Project Manager / Groups, Team Leader, Interested parties


Dialogue lectures, Discussions, Case studies

Ends with an NIT Certificate of Participation.


"Culture eats strategy for breakfast"—consulting slogan or corporate reality?

The series of the Hamburg Economic Dialoge will also continue in 2019. On March 20, experts from business, science and politics as well as interested parties met in the creative Co-Working Space Collabor8 on the OTTO Group campus to discuss cultural change in times of digitalization.

The host was Tobias Krüger, Head of Corporate Culture at the OTTO Group. The NIT also invited the experts Anja Zerbin, Head of Digital Culture at Deutsche Postbank and the independent psychologist Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock. Verena Fritzsche, CEO of the NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, acted as moderator. The topics fit will with the NIT slogan, "BE THE CHANGE," where students were trained to be the future shapers of digital development.

Tobias Krüger and Anja Zerbin gave exciting presentations on the cultural changes at the OTTO Group and the Deutsche Postbank and described how they promote innovative processes in their companies. As early as 2015, the OTTO Group recognized that cultural change was indispensable, if it was to remain competitive in the long term, and that the  cultural change should be exemplified in the company first. In his work, Tobias Krüger realized that internal changes must come from his employees as a collective.

"The human being is a central factor for the culture change.“

Anja Zerbin also sees people as the central element in digital transformation and describes cultural change as a permanent process. "Cultural change is not a project that will eventually be finished," says Zerbin. Before the guests could enter the discussion with the experts, Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock brought the aspect of "psycho-logic" into play. He questioned what "culture" means and worked together with the audience on a psychological exercise, demonstrating traditional thought patterns which are still deeply anchored in companies.

Subsequently, the participants in the Hamburg Economic Dialoge had the opportunity to talk to the experts and exchange ideas over snacks and drinks.


You finally want to have your say and delve deeper into the world of digitalization? Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock will show you how to move safely in the digital world and familiarize you with the challenges ahead. 


Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock
Psychological organisation consultant,, Hamburg

2 day workshop • German-language • upon request

Industry 4.0 will require organizations to have an adaptability and resource efficiency which can no longer be controlled centrally and from the top down. Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock assists well-known companies with personnel and executive development. He reveals how management must change and how the change of corporate culture is to succeed.


Tobias Möller-Hahlbrock
Psychological organisation consultant,, Hamburg

1-day workshop - in German - next dates: April 12th / October 28th

The aim of the "Digitalisierung - one day_day one" workshop is to enable the attendees to talk about digitization. Attendees are sensitized to  the extent of changes that digitization brings about.

This helps them better able to form an opinion on digital matters and to develop initial ideas on the change that is needed in their own organization.

The workshop is aimed at CEOs, executives, project managers, team leaders, and people interested in dealing more intensively with the subject of digitization. In addition to dialog talks, discussions, and keynote videos, attendees' own topics will be dealt with in case studies and exercises.


  • Introduction to digitization: What is digitization / can be digitized? Laws and basic principles
  • Areas of application and examples: Technologies (3D printing, Artificial Intelligence, etc.), organizations (Amazon, Google, etc.)
  • Effects on the economy and society: Axes of effects, industry-specific dynamics, change of power
  • Pre-requisites for the digitization of organizations: The three pillars of organizational development, awareness of and competences for changes

The workshop will conclude with an NIT participation certificate.

Digitale Transformierung an der NIT


Did organizational hierarchies become obsolete?

On 05.11.2018, the 7th Hamburg Economic Dialog took place in the premises of the Schotstek Foundation. Representatives from business, science and education came together and discussed with the experts Christopher Mars, consultant and coach, Thomas Simmerl, founder of the Neue Schule Hamburg and Verena Fritzsche, CEO of the NIT. First, together with Christopher Mars, the participants examined how flat hierarchies can be established in companies. Mars first recommended creating "islands" for employees who want to work particularly creatively and independently. It is important to carry out one's own projects in a protected space outside the company structures so that motivation is created and the new culture can be extended to the entire company.

Verena Fritzsche was able to report on her experiences at the NIT, which has undergone a strategy process with the 4.X project over the past three years. The aim was to modernise the course of studies as a mirror of the modern world of work and to give students more flexibility and personal responsibility. The concept of the Neue Schule Hamburg, founded by Thomas Simmerl in 2007, aroused particular interest. The aim was to give children what they deserve: A democratically run school that supports children in their creativity and makes them self-confident and responsible adults. The Neue School is the first school in Germany whose concept is based on the Sudbury model and has been officially approved. Critical voices were also expressed among the participants. Tobias Berger, lecturer at the NIT, reported on his own experiences with students. Working independently on a project initially caused irritation among his course participants. He cited expectations as the reason for this. It is also important to draw from this one's own learning experience and to make requirements transparent.


Blockchain - the future basis of our economy and society?

Experts, managing directors and interested parties discussed this question on 11 September at the 6th Hamburg Economic Dialog at the headquarters of the semiconductor manufacturer NXP. In the past, the blockchain has become a household name especially in connection with the Bitcoin, but the fields of application extend far beyond the financial sector. Companies, politicians and researchers are already looking for ways to automate and simplify processes.

Christopher Nigischer, an external consultant at NXP and managing director of the IT company consider it, is working intensively on the blockchain and introduced the round to the complex topic. With his company, he offers solutions that are handled via the blockchain and already sees the opportunities that this new technology brings with it.

Nigischer presents an example from industry: a 3D printer that uses a robot arm to produce a key fob. The license to print the product is created via a blockchain. In the SAMPL (Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform) project, Nigischer is therefore working on the creation of a secure data transaction platform for the worldwide processing and control of digital print jobs.
Florian Fiedler, founder of Blockbay, also sees the potential that the Blockchain brings with it. Currently, the technology is mainly used in the financial sector, but he believes that complex industrial processes can be simplified by the blockchain. Many transactions could already run in the background in 10 years.
The blockchain is also well known in science. Senior engineer Dr. Johannes Hinkeldeyn at the Institute for Technical Logistics at the TUHH sees the potential above all in the symbiosis of the physical and digital worlds. In order to master these challenges, he advocates forming a network that brings different experts together. Carsten Ovens, Member of Parliament and spokesman for science and the digital economy, also aims to establish Hamburg as the "home port for digital innovations" worldwide and has the vision of creating a platform for experts to exchange knowledge and drive innovation forward.
This was followed by a lively discussion among the guests of the Hamburg Economic Dialog, during which the topics of data backup and existing use cases from business and industry were also addressed.


Hamburg Economic Dialog Examines 3D Printing

On April 16, 2018, the NIT invited representatives from business, industry, and science to the fifth Hamburg Economic Dialog to discuss the challenges of 3D printing and its effects on production.

First, the participants had the opportunity to explore the Fraunhofer IAPT, which is known worldwide as one of the leading institutes in the field of 3D printing.

Dr. Claus Emmelmann, Managing Director of Fraunhofer IAPT and Professor and Director of the Institute for Laser and System Technologies at TUHH, then presented the opportunities of 3D printing for the industry.

To demonstrate this, he presented printed components that have already been installed in Airbus aircraft. Verena Fritzsche, Managing Director of NIT, led the evening and conveyed the urgency for companies to deal with digitization. In order to raise awareness, the participants were encouraged to reflect on how concrete applications of digitalization could look in their own company.

Hamburger Wirtschaftsdialog_Digitalisierung_3D-Druck


The magic of start-ups - why companies scrape for founders

At the end of January, representatives from industry and science met to discuss the start-up trend at the fourth Hamburg Economic Dialog. More specifically, the topic was "The magic of start-ups - why companies scrape for founders" about individual departments of a company that work fast, agile and "start-up-like" on new products.

Jens Uehlecke, Managing Director at the Greenhouse Innovation Lab and Jonas Thiemann, Managing Director of AppLike, gave a first-hand account of how it feels to work in such a department. Nele Schön, head of the management development and training team at Gruner + Jahr, explained why the publishing house founded the Green Innovation Lab. Prof. Christian Lüthje explained with academic background knowledge when this strategy was successful. The evening was led by Verena Fritzsche, Managing Director of NIT.

Hamburger Wirtschaft


Digital Leadership - Opportunities, Visions and Everyday Life

In cooperation with DIVSI Deutsches Institut für Vertrauen und Sicherheit im Internet. Hosted by Bucerius Law School.
Everything is becoming digital and put into the network. The influence of the digitization increases and affects our everyday life, both professionally and personally. How shall we handle this challenge in our work environment? Do these new processes have an impact on the leading culture of top managers in Germany?

What is the right way to get all stakeholder, including the chairmen, on board? And: What are the differences between the leading culture in a traditional company in contrast to a start-up? We will answer these and other questions during the 3rd Hamburg Economic Dialog.

Teilnehmer des 3. Hamburger Wirtschaftsdialogs


Digitization Capital Hamburg – Opportunity or burden?

“Digitization Capital Hamburg – Opportunity or Liability?” was the subject of the NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management’s Second Hamburg Economic Dialog. Where do we stand on the climate of innovation? What can be done politically to promote it? How will society develop if work is to be considered differently? SMB entrepreneurs and executives from Hamburg discussed these topics with startups and politicians.

Christian Günner, head of the customer service and systems development at Hamburg Wasser, revealed in a keynote speech what potential a big infrastructure company can offer to a digital city. Daniel Rebhorn, a managing partner of e-commerce service provider diconium Group, looked at Hamburg’s potential using various perspectives and case studies.

Einblicke in den Hamburger Wirtschaftsdialog

Graphic Recording of the Second Hamburg Economic Dialog

This graphic recording was made by the graphic recorder Anna Stania during the Second Hamburg Economic Dialog. More infomation about live visualization of events and conferences at


Work 4.0–Human or Machine?

NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management presented the first Hamburg Economic Dialog on January 26, 2017 at 6.00 pm. Entrepreneurs and managers from Hamburg's SME sector came together at NIT to jointly discuss the challenges of digitization. The theme of the first event was: Work 4.0 - Humans or Machines?

Two short keynote speeches given by NIT CEO Verena Fritzsche and by Kristina Lohse-Thiele, Head of Customers and Process Development at Hamburg Wasser, were followed by an open panel discussion with representatives of business, science, politics and start-ups. On the panel: Verena Fritzsche (CEO NIT), Kristina Lohse-Thiele, Carmen Möller (Grüne Fraktion Hamburg-Nord), Tobias Hagenau (Startup HQ Labs).



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