“An analogy for business leaders in the financial industry that compares the challenging times of today’s technological enterprise transformation with the changes during the time of the industrial revolution when steam ships ended the centuries-long era of sailing ships.”
In 1971, the BBC began broadcasting a series on the history of James Onedin, who, as captain and later as shipowner, lived through the stormy times of industrialisation and the conversion of the entire industry from sailing to steam navigation. The series, which takes place in Victorian England in the second half of the 19th century, describes in a special way the subtleties of the interplay of a changing market. New technologies, new skills of market participants, increased conflict potential between entrepreneurs and managers and reorientation in an environment of shrinking margins – special challenges for those who tried to continue their business as before: with sailing ships.
The captain is responsible for bringing his ship, crew and cargo safely and within a specified time and financial framework to the port of destination. But what if the ship is no longer able to do this and the competition suddenly moves across the blue oceans with completely different ships? What if the shipowner does not have the capacity to trust the new technologies or simply does not have the financial resources to re-equip his fleet? And what about the crew? Does the crew has the necessary skills to sail on the new ships?
Many captains of banks and financial institutions seem to have this scenario all too present. E.g. due to declining customer traffic in bank branches, the high costs for a broad branch network are hardly to be paid today. Germany as a financial centre is “overbanked”, interest rates in the basement – the conditions in Germany for successful banking have never been as challenging as they are now. To this end, customers are continuing to drive change in the industry with their changing demands on digital tools.
Outwaiting a problem or tackling it
The complexity of economic changes has been enormous in every epoch, the difference to current upheavals lies in the temporal component. If companies do not react immediate to market changes today, they might loose their customers faster than ever before. In such disruptive times, all those involved want an “efficient” change process. The only problem is that the term “change” is so omnipresent that it is often perceived as stress and overload. As a result, many levels of management fall into one of the following situations: either they try to sit out the situation and leave change to their successors, or they push many, often less effective measures in an attack of blind actionism. Active, thoughtful and vital change management is often neglected.
More entrepreneurial thinking
Processes of change require both superiors and employees. If the existing situation cannot be improved or adapted at any vertical level, it must be questioned. Concluding, this means for all those involved that situations must always be reflected and corrective measures initiated at an early stage.
Understanding the corporate culture is vital for a successful transformation
In many companies, however, this need for action, which has a high potential for conflict, is often insufficiently communicated. In some places there is a lack of interest for employee issues, a lack of error and conflict culture and a minimal willingness to change. If banks neglect these issues, change processes threaten to fail on a broad basis. This means that managers in a disruptive environment have a natural need for action. The implementation of new strategies, systems and structures and early adaptation to changing market situations are vital factors for survival. A well-known quote by former US President Wodrow Wilson (1913-1921) is particularly valid for today’s highly competitive financial sector: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
Those companies that create the change will share the large financial services market with the new market players and use instruments that did not exist in the classic banking of the past.
Just like James Onedin, who for the longest time was an advocate of classic sailing ships, finally added a modern steamship to his fleet. And to facilitate the change for himself personally, he named the ship after someone he loved.
The two largest Austrian newspapers “Kronenzeitung” and “Heute” reported on the official visit of a delegation of Expedition Antarctic Blanc to the Hofburg. Together, the publications have a circulation of more than 1.5 million copies per day.
We are grateful to President Alexander Van der Bellen for the invitation, the President’s Press Corps and the press for the publications that support the goal of raising awareness of such important issues as the UNEP Clean Seas Initiative, the fight against microplastics in our oceans, the importance of Antarctica for our ecosystem and the importance of international cooperation and understanding.
Austria has a long standing tradition in Polar Research leading to the Austrian Polar Research Institute, who’s coordinating today the country’s activities in the Arctic and Antarctica
The number of cyber attacks on businesses, governments and individuals is increasing worldwide. The human being in his cultural environment is an important element. Different cultures seem to be associated with different susceptibilities.
In its annual management report “The Situation of IT Security in Germany 2018”, the Federal Office for Information Security records a threatening scenario: The number of cyber attacks on the federal government, German industry and private individuals is increasing at an alarming rate. Germany, in particular, is being massively targeted by criminal hackers.
One thing is certain: almost 90 percent of all cyber attacks have a criminal background. Approximately ten percent of all cyber attacks are caused by state cyber warriors. The goal of criminals is either personal data (account connections, credit card numbers, passwords, etc.) or capturing the computer for new attacks via bot network or to extort ransom money for the renewed release of the computer. The ransomware “Wannacry” is an equally prominent and frightening example of this. If state systems become the target of hackers, this usually results in sabotage, espionage and the spying out of trade secrets. The BSI discovered 800 million malicious programs for computer systems last year. In the previous year, the figure was 600 million – around 400,000 malware variants are added daily.
Cyber Security and the Human-Cultural Factor
The view must be directed to an important dimension of the human factor: The influence of different cultures on the handling of technology and in particular on the behaviour of individuals in the context of cyber security. Cultural peculiarities influence preferences, prejudices and behaviours. In his renowned book “The Culture Code”, anthropologist and marketing expert Dr. Clotaire Rapaille explores how members of different nationalities have developed very different codes for the image of products, companies or countries.
These findings come from client assignments in which Dr Rapaille conducted extensive interviews with focus groups to identify cultural preferences, prejudices, idiosyncrasies and behaviors. In more in-depth analyses, a piece of generalized psycho-cultural characteristics is then derived from representatives of the countries studied.
Country-specific aspects of cybercrime
Questions arise as to what protective concepts and guidelines might look like that take this background into account appropriately? And what role do cultural and country-specific aspects play here, such as the famous “German Angst” and corporate cultural aspects, such as the comparison of a classical hierarchical system versus Holacracy models, which have become increasingly en vogue in times of digital transformation?
Some concise examples from the findings of Dr. Rapaille: Americans define themselves strongly through their work. In this culture, professional activity largely determines the image of one’s own identity. The importance of money in this culture is proof of diligence and success.
The author sees completely different meanings in European countries. In France, for example, work and money are regarded more as “necessary means to an end” – those who can afford it expect at least a certain amount of entertainment and comfort from their job there. According to Dr. Rapaille, quality and technical perfection play an important and in some cases even absolute role in Germany or Japan, while US-Americans, according to his analyses, in many cases content themselves with “It just works” and are even sceptical about excessive perfection.
The author recognizes the Germans’ tendency towards perfectionism, which is partly exaggerated from a foreign point of view, as decisive for the quality of “German Engineering” and the global economic success of the Germans in this field. Dr. Rapaille is convinced that US culture, on the other hand, is characterized by a widespread refusal to grow up, which in turn leads to a great competitive advantage in the field of innovation.
Conclusions for more cyber security
This raises the question what are the appropriate protection concepts in an increasingly complex threat situation. A classic approach is the definition and enforcement of policies, both on a technical and organizational level, which are intended to guarantee compliance with security measures. The more hierarchically and authoritatively a corporate culture is aligned, the more restrictive the corresponding guidelines usually become.
However, the approach of establishing security primarily through bans and restrictions on user freedoms has proven to be double-edged in practice. The more the possibilities of an individual user are restricted, the more this encourages the tendency to escape the corset of safety-related rules.
A typical consequence is the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) problem with which many company IT departments have been confronted for years – if the functions and authorizations of their work equipment are too limited, users bring private end devices with them to the workplace. These are then often not integrated at all into the protection and security concepts of the company. If the BYOD escape route is also suppressed, such measures often result in a refusal attitude à la “The desired is not possible with the means available – if the IT department wants it that way, then this task cannot be solved”.
Flat hierarchies and personal responsibility as a solution?
Is the better way, then, in holacracy models, in flat hierarchies, or in “loose reins” in terms of security and a strengthening of employees’ personal responsibility?
For the reasons derived in the preceding sections, this approach is by no means a guarantee for higher IT and information security. A healthy middle course could lie in adequate risk management. Technical and organisational security measures take into account the hazard level of specific data and applications. Sensitive areas and particularly sensitive data are subject to more stringent security measures, business areas or processes with less sensitivity are also protected, but assign employees a higher degree of personal responsibility. All protective measures take into account the above-mentioned psychological and cultural-historical findings.
This quote by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has been chosen by the Hofburg‘s prestigious press corps to introduce the article about the reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc on the President‘s website.
The GOST delegation consisting of six members handed over with pride in Vienna’s Hofburg the Antarctic Blanc expedition flag to the President Van der Bellen on January 22, 2019.
The ceremony took 30 minutes and the President received an expedition report, watched the official video, signed the flag and had in-depth discussions with the delegates.
The president who himself is greatly engaged in environmental topics and climate discussions worldwide has listened carefully how a private initiative as the Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST) has been able to connect nations, politicians, scientists and the civil society to enter deeper into discussions about important historical, environmental and societal topics. With its expeditions GOST hereby became an ambassador for international understanding.
President Van der Bellen also took note that Austria’s ratification of the Environmental Protocol is still missing and is now in contact with the Founding Director of the Austrian Polar Research Institute Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter to examine the topic.
The delegation consisted of Jochen Werne (Expedition Leader);Andris Adam (Chief Liason Officer to Austria and Hungary);Götz Credé (Chief Liaison Officer to Belgium, Denmark and The Netherlands);Dr. Wolfgang Händel (Chief Logistics Officer);Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter (Founding Director of the Austrian Polar Research Institutes)Christin Latk (Expedition Support Team – Akademie der Führungskräfte)
Almost every day, experts in the media try to create a historical analogy for us in order to explain the dynamics and speed with which changes are taking place today at all levels of our lives – from private consumption and our working world to international politics. Often analogies are drawn to different decades of the 20th century. The prominent British historian and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson contradicts these comparisons and sees an analogy rather in the effects that the invention of the printing press in the 15th century had on our lives and on our society. Only that today the changes due to exponential technologies and the Internet take place much faster.
For us as the HUMAN Factor, these comparisons are incredibly important. In times of uncertainty, they help us to better assess the changes and thus at least maintain a certain reassuring feeling of security and explainability. However, if we do not succeed in setting the right filters in times of social media and “information overload”, we run the risk that this feeling of understanding does not materialize and that we all too easily become victims of supposedly simple explanations and “fake news”. Ferguson uses a striking example to illustrate that this is not a new phenomenon and that serious technological changes have also brought major and often turbulent changes to society. In times of the invention of book printing, knowledge was spread more cheaply and a broad part of the population gained access to higher education. One of the first books to be printed in large numbers was the Bible. But also other writings, like “Malleus Maleficarum” or in English the “Hammer of Witches” became famous. The “Fake News” book served to justify the persecution of witches, appeared in 29 editions and has been second place on the book bestseller list for 200 years.
At the latest since the end of the 1990s, since the mass “democratization” of the Internet, our lives have been shaped by the exponential progress of modern technologies. The associated digitalization – the DIGITAL Factor – is not only a technical and economic challenge, but also a societal one. However, the enlightened man began, not to accept everything that a “Beautiful New World”, sometimes reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s novel, promises. This is shown by citizen projects such as the so-called “Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights” of the European Union.
The word “exponential” automatically hides the logical conclusion that change will take place even faster in the future. These changes affect almost every industry and what is seen today as a billion-dollar future market can quickly become a basic business with significantly lower costs and thus significantly lower profit margins tomorrow. The camera chip of our smartphones costs today only about two to three Euros, a Spotify subscription, and thus the access to an incredible amount of music, only a few Euros a month.
The conclusion for companies in the 21st century is simple: Those who do not understand these exponential dynamics of technical development or do not take them sufficiently into account in their business model can quickly lose touch – not only with customers but also with potential business partners. But why is it so difficult for us to correctly assess the development potential of the technologies? The answer: People think linearly. This is why technologies are usually overestimated at the beginning of their development, but tend to be underestimated in the long run. This was first described in 1965 by the Intel engineer Gordon Moore – later known as Moore´s Law, one of the essential theoretical foundations of the “digital revolution”. In times of exponential technologies, our society risks a split between the group of people with an affinity for digital and digital natives and a group of people who have growing difficulties with the speed of change of our time. The latter have not learnt to keep pace with fast-moving digital innovations due to their low affinity, age or lack of points of contact in everyday life.
Throughout history, new technological possibilities have always come with threatening concepts that have been published and discussed on all media channels available during this period. Today it is: “total transparency”, “transparent consumer”, “constant availability” or even job loss due to ongoing automation and artificial intelligence. At the social and state level, attempts are being made to counteract such fears, to increase competitiveness and to involve the population in the process of change. Two of the many good examples referring to Germany are the strategy on artificial intelligence put in place by the Federal Government and the Platform for Learning Systems initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
It is important never to forget, that every change – even if the trigger is a rapidly developing technology – requires a certain time horizon to be implemented and to create broad acceptance. Here the “CULTURE Factor” often comes into play. One example is cash. While the Scandinavian countries, above all Sweden, are about to digitalize their payment systems to a large extent, in Germany currently about 80 percent of all transactions are carried out with cash.
In every business model, global trends need to be identified, changes need to be driven, and local conditions need to be taken into account in order to be successful in this market. The same formula applies to societal change. Especially when it comes to creating an agenda for the use of new technologies for the benefit of our society.
Fast täglich wird von Experten in den Medien versucht für uns eine geschichtliche Analogie herzustellen, um die Dynamik und Geschwindigkeit zu erklären, mit der sich heute Veränderungen auf allen Ebenen unseres Lebens – vom privaten Konsum, unserer Arbeitswelt bis hin zu internationaler Politik – vollziehen. Oftmals werden hierfür Vergleiche zu den 1930ern oder 70ern gezogen. Der bekannte britische Historiker und Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson widerspricht diesen Vergleichen und sieht eine Analogie vielmehr in den Effekten, die die Erfindung der Druckerpresse im 15. Jahrhundert auf unser Leben und auf unsere Gesellschaft hatte. Nur, dass sich heute die Veränderungen durch exponentielle Technologien und das Internet wesentlich schneller vollziehen. Für uns Menschen – also den HUMAN Factor – sind diese Vergleiche unglaublich wichtig. Sie helfen uns in Zeiten der Unsicherheit, die Veränderungen besser einschätzen zu können und somit zumindest ein gewisses beruhigendes Gefühl der Sicherheit und Erklärbarkeit zu erhalten. Wenn es uns jedoch nicht gelingt in Zeiten von Social Media und medialem „information overload“ die richtigen Filter zu setzen, laufen wir Gefahr, dass sich dieses Gefühl des Verständnisses nicht einstellt und wir allzu leicht Opfer vermeintlich einfacher Erklärungen und „Fake News“ werden. Dass dies kein neues Phänomen ist und gravierende technologische Veränderungen auch große und oftmals turbulente Veränderungen auf die Gesellschaft mit sich brachten, macht Ferguson an einem prägnanten Beispiel fest. In Zeiten der Erfindung des Buchdrucks kam es zu einer kostengünstigeren Verbreitung von Wissen und somit zur Möglichkeit, dass breite Bevölkerungsschichten Zugang zu höherer Bildung erlangten. Eines der ersten in großer Auflage gedruckten Werke war die Bibel. Doch erlangten auch andere Schriften, wie „Malleus Maleficarum“ oder zu deutsch der Hexenhammer Berühmtheit. Das eindeutige „Fake News Werk“ diente zur Rechtfertigung der Hexenverfolgung, erschien in 29 Auflagen und belegte für immerhin 200 Jahre den zweiten Platz der Bücherbestsellerliste.
Spätestens seit Ende der 90er Jahre, seit der massenhaften „Demokratisierung“ des Internets, ist unser aller Leben durch den exponentiellen Fortschritt moderner Technologien geprägt. Die damit einhergehende Digitalisierung – also der DIGITAL Factor – ist nicht nur eine technische und ökonomische Herausforderung, sondern vor allem auch eine gesellschaftliche. Dass der aufgeklärte Mensch jedoch beginnt, nicht alles einfach unreflektiert hinzunehmen, was eine an Aldous Huxley erinnernde „Schöne neue Welt“ zu versprechen scheint, zeigen Bürgerprojekte, wie die sogenannte „Charta der Digitalen Grundrechte“ der Europäischen Union.
Bereits im Wort „exponentiell“ verbirgt sich automatisch die logische Schlussfolgerung, dass sich Veränderungen in Zukunft noch schneller vollziehen werden. Diese Veränderungen betreffen nahezu jede Branche und was heute ein milliardenschwerer Zukunftsmarkt ist,kann morgen schnell zu einem Basisgeschäft mit deutlich geringeren Kosten und somit auch deutlich geringeren Gewinnmargen werden. Der Kamera-Chip unserer Smartphones kostet heute nur noch rund zwei bis drei Euro, ein Spotify-Abo, und somit der Zugriff auf eine unfassbar große Menge an Musik, nur wenige Euro im Monat.
Die Schlussfolgerung für Unternehmen im 21. Jahrhundert ist sichtlich einfach: Wer diese exponentiellen Dynamiken von technischer Entwicklung nicht versteht oder nicht ausreichend in seinem Geschäftsmodell berücksichtigt, kann schnell den Anschluss verlieren – Anschluss an Kunden aber auch an potenzielle Geschäftspartner.
Doch warum fällt es uns so schwer, das Entwicklungspotenzial der Technologien richtig einzuschätzen? Die Antwort: Menschen denken linear. Deswegen werden Technologien zu Beginn der Entwicklung meist überschätzt, langfristig aber tendenziell unterschätzt. Dies wurde 1965 durch den Intel Ingenieur Gordon Moore erstmals beschrieben – später bekannt als Moore´s Law, einer der wesentlichen Theoriegrundlagen der „digitalen Revolution“.
Unsere Gesellschaft lebt in Zeiten exponentieller Technologien natürlich auch mit der Gefahr einer Spaltung zwischen der Gruppe digital affiner Bevölkerungsschichten und Digital Natives sowie einer Gruppe von Menschen, die wachsende Schwierigkeiten mit der Veränderungsgeschwindigkeit unserer Zeit hat. Letztere haben aufgrund geringer Affinität, teilweise des Alters oder fehlender Berührungspunkte im Alltag nicht gelernt, mit den schnelllebigen digitalen Innovationen Schritt zu halten. Mit allen technischen Möglichkeiten geistern zudem Begrifflichkeiten durch die Medien, die vielen Sorgen bereiten und Ängste schüren: „Totale Transparenz“, „gläserner Konsument“, „ständige Verfügbarkeit“ oder gar Arbeitsplatzverlust aufgrund anhaltender Automatisierung und Artificial Intelligence. Auf gesellschaftlicher und staatlicher Ebene wird versucht solchen Ängsten entgegenzuwirken, Konkurrenzfähigkeit zu steigern und die eigene Bevölkerung in den Veränderungsprozess miteinzubeziehen. Zwei der vielen guten Beispiele in Deutschland hierfür sind, die von der Bundesregierung verabschiedete Strategie zu Künstlicher Intelligenz oder die vom BMBF initiierte Plattform für Lernende Systeme.
Es gilt bei jeder Veränderung – sei der Auslöser auch eine sich schnell entwickelnde Technologie – nie zu vergessen, dass es einem zeitlichen Horizont bedarf um Neues zu implementieren und eine breite Akzeptanz zu schaffen. Hier kommt der „CULTURE Factor“ oftmals ins Spiel. Ein Beispiel ist Bargeld. Während die skandinavischen Länder, allen voran Schweden, davor stehen ihre Bezahlsysteme weitgehend zu digitalisieren, werden in Deutschland aktuell noch rund 80 Prozent aller Transaktionen mit Bargeld durchgeführt. Es gilt also in jedem Geschäftsmodell globale Trends zu erkennen, Veränderungen zu treiben, jedoch auch lokale Gegebenheiten zu berücksichtigen, um in diesem Markt erfolgreich zu sein. Dieselbe Formel gilt für unsere gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen und das Ziel neue Technologien zum Guten für unsere Gesellschaft einsetzen zu können.
AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT WILL WELCOME ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION IN VIENNA
On 22 January 2019 at 11 a.m., Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen will welcome a delegation from the international expedition Antarctic Blanc, which was successfully carried out with Austrian assistance. The delegation will present the expedition flag, which represented Austria in Antarctica, as a symbol of remembrance.
POLAR RESEARCH IN AUSTRIA
Austria has a long tradition in polar research, which began with the Austro-Hungarian polar expedition in the 1870s. A milestone in Austrian polar research were the contributions to the International Geophysical Year 1957/58, which formed the basis for a polar focus at the University of Innsbruck. As a result, several renowned scientists carried out research in both the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the programme. After all, the International Polar Year 2007/08 was a great success for Austrian polar research. It strengthened national and international cooperation and led to the foundation of the Austrian Polar Research Institute in 2012.
STORMS AND ICEBERGS
Expedition Antarctic Blanc pursued historical, social and environmental goals. The 12 expedition offshore participants of the initiative, supported by the United Nations and 19 states, crossed on a 20m sailing yacht twice in 12 days, under the toughest conditions, one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world – the Drake Passage, covering 1129 nautical miles (over 2,000km). The journey was marked by the passage of several storm systems in the Antarctic and off Cape Horn, which delayed the return by several days. Winds with up to 50kn, waves up to 8m high and temperatures around freezing point demanded top physical performances from the expedition participants.
INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATION CEREMONY. Sailing on Historic Routes. The expedition commemorated the researchers, explorers and sailors whose ships had to master the challenging peculiarities of reaching an unknown part of the world. The international team held a commemoration ceremony on the historically significant Antarctic volcanic Deception Island. In the name of all supporting states and the United Nations, a wreath of local ice was symbolically formed and laid down in order to pay international tribute to the achievements in the exploration of this unique continent. The supporting nations are among the signatories of the politically unique Antarctic Treaty of 23 June 1961. Heads of state and government organizations of the 19 nations have expressed their support for this unique, privately initiated expeditions in letters to the leader of the expedition, Jochen Werne, in particular for the execution of the ceremonial act of commemoration.
AUSTRIA AND THE ANTARCTIC TREATY. Austria joined the Antarctic Treaty on 25 August 1987 and, with its signature, also acknowledged that “in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica is used exclusively for peaceful purposes and should not become the scene or object of international discord”. Austria also underlined its commitment to the preservation of this ecosystem as a “nature reserve dedicated to peace and science”.
UNEP CLEAN SEAS INITIATIVE. The main focus of the expedition was to sensitize the international public for the preservation of the unique Antarctic ecosystem and to support the UN initiative Clean Seas to combat plastic waste in the oceans. With Expedition Antarctic Blanc, this important United Nations Environmental Program project is now finding acceptance on all continents of our planet.
CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE ECOSYSTEM. In addition, the expedition supported the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University’s research project on plankton metabarcoding by collecting plankton samples, which could provide a fundamental contribution to obtaining rapid responses to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.
WHALES IN THE ANTARCTIC. With the observation of 18 different whales and the detailed documentation of their position and behaviour, the expedition also contributed to the establishment of the global whale observation platform ‘Happy Wales’. The platform is intended to provide science with in-depth insights into the behaviour and development of the largest mammals on our planet.
CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. To promote international children and youth projects, several live broadcasts were held from sea and Antarctica with children of the sailing school of the Yacht Club de Monaco. On their return, the team visited the Cedena Yacht School Puerto Williams, Chile, which is open to children from all walks of life in the southernmost region of our planet, and through sport encourages them to develop their own goals and character traits that are conducive to their personal development. In addition to a donation from the expedition team, the foundation stone was laid for an international exchange and the children were introduced to Antarctica and its significance.
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. The visit to the Hofburg marks the third important reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc after the reception by Prince Albert II in Monaco and the ambassador of the poles of the Netherlands, Carola van Reijnsoever, in The Hague. Further visits to Copenhagen, Paris and Madrid are planned shortly.
Following the flag handover on 22 January 2018 at 11 a.m. in the Hofburg, the expedition participants Jochen Werne and Dr. Wolfgang Händel, Liasion Officers Götz Credé and Andris Adam, as well as the founding director of the Austrian Polar Research Institute Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter and Christin Latk from the Expedition Support Team in the Academy for Leadership will be available to the press for questions and interviews, pictures and filming.
On request, the delegation can also attend press events in Vienna on this day. Accreditation is requested. Please send an e-mail to ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com for this purpose.
Expedition participants – Offshore Team
Jochen Werne Expedition Leader
Marco Schröter Chief Safety Officer
Oliver Picht Navigator & Chief Documentation Officer
Linden Blue Chief Communication Officer
Bernd Görgner Chief Medical Officer
Benon Janos Environmental Initiatives Coordinator
Wolfgang Händel Chief Logistics Officer
Hans Axtner Master of Ceremony
Michael Melnick Chief Sciences Coordinator
David Gamba Chief Observer
Wolf Kloss Skipper and Expedition Yacht Owner
Karl Papenfuss Mate
Comment on the initiator of the expedition – The Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST)
Expedition “Antarctic Blanc” is the continuation of the polar initiative launched in 2016 with comparable objectives under the name “Arctic Ocean Raptor”, but in the Spitsbergen sea area and up to the Arctic pack ice limit. An additional and important aspect was the commemoration of the seafarers of all nations, who fulfilled their seafaring duties during the maritime operations in the Arctic under the mostly merciless weather conditions and partly also lost their lives. In the name of the Norwegian King Harald V and the Canadian government, a wreath was handed over to the lake; further international support for this expedition came from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Founded in 1999 by Jochen Werne and Guido Zoeller, the Global Offshore Sailing Team is once again committed to maritime history and environmental issues with this particularly challenging expedition and its People’s Diplomacy campaign.
Author: Angelika Breinich-Schilly interviewed Jochen Werne, Director Marketing, Business Development, Treasury & Payment Services at Bankhaus August Lenz.
Banks need to do a lot to keep pace in an increasingly digital world. In an interview with Springer Professional, Jochen Werne from Bankhaus August Lenz talks about the challenges they have to face and the right strategies.
Springer Professional: Mr. Werne, what do you see as the most important driver of change in banks that is being invoked everywhere? Is it just the ongoing digitalization or do you see other reasons that require a strategic change process of the institutes?
Jochen Werne: The industry is undergoing what is probably a historic upheaval. We live in times of exponential technologies and in addition to the cost-side necessity of digitizing a large part of the processes of the institutes, the rapid change in customer expectations associated with technology, poses great challenges to an industry which is not known for being greatly agile. This disruption will eclipse many things and later perhaps be judged as revolutionary as the invention of the steam engine. In recent weeks, this has hardly made anything as clear as the rise of the online payment processor Wirecard. Wirecard was not only able to outperform Commerzbank in the DAX in September. Founded in 1999, the company has already overtaken Deutsche Bank in terms of market capitalization. In addition to the ongoing digitalization, there are also other current challenges: The low interest rate phase, which has now already lasted for a long time, is putting massive pressure on the margins of traditional houses. Political crises, trade disputes, currency problems such as in Turkey and Brexit naturally also have a direct effect on the classic business models of banks: In the future, they will have to adapt more than ever and increasingly prove their agility. The exponential leaps in technology and ever shorter product cycles are forcing the global economy as a whole to change and adapt to changing circumstances more than ever before. Kodak is a good example. For the sake of simplification, the company has often been accused of not being far-sighted, but it has failed because of a culture that has allowed little change. Two letters are currently electrifying the economy: AI. After decades of disinterest, artificial intelligence is suddenly once again regarded as the decisive guarantor of a company’s future viability. The immediate integration of AI into one’s own business model seems indispensable, even vital for survival. Without smart software, you’d think you were dedicated to meaninglessness. Similar to Facebook, the financial industry holds very valuable data. The preparation and processing of this data will not only become easier with maturing AI systems, but also much faster, cheaper and more targeted. It is nevertheless private and sensitive data. In order to make this resource usable in conjunction with external data, the industry must at the same time ensure its long-term security. Data may only be used in the sense of the customer, the human being – an objective that certainly has to apply to all AI-based approaches. Artificial intelligence offers an enormous range of opportunities for companies to be closer to their customers. But it also has its limits and here we are not only talking about technical limits, but also about limits that arise when the customer’s mindset does not go hand in hand with what is technically possible. Technology will only prevail if people accept it. Too radical a step, without consideration for all three areas Human, Digital and Culture, is always counterproductive.
Springer Professional: You describe that many decision-makers in the banks are well aware of the necessary changes in the business model. At the same time, however, top management often does not seem to set a concrete course and have corresponding visions. Why do you think that is?
Jochen Werne:Digitization, technological advances and the acceleration of product cycles are forcing executives to reposition their businesses. The question is no longer whether and why companies should change and introduce a more flexible organizational form, but only: How quickly and sustainably can they do it? The need for successful Change Management is not new and digitization was not an unforeseeable event. What is new, however, is the sum of the technical innovations, the possibilities offered by the technological leaps and the resulting need for extremely high implementation speeds. This circumstance has far-reaching effects on the entire management of the company. This often leads to different change processes overlaying each other, individual change processes being interrupted, modified or restarted and the organization being in a state of continuous change. And this also applies to the manager.
Springer Professional: In order to become a driver of innovation as a bank, it is necessary to anticipate not only upcoming technological but also social changes, some of which still vary greatly from region to region. One example is the payment behaviour of customers, which looks different in Germany than in other European countries or even in Asia. Many financial service providers now have think tanks or innovation labs to take on this task. But does some good ideas go up in smoke due to poorly thought-out change management?
Jochen Werne:Every new innovative offering must be easy for the customer to understand, intuitive to use and as a bank, absolutely trustworthy in terms of data security. The customer relies on the security of the communication channels as well as the careful handling of his private data. The challenge is to ensure data protection while at the same time providing the highest possible level of customer convenience. The resources of traditional banks offer enormous advantages here. An established bank is perceived as a brand by its clients, who at best associate it with important values such as trustworthiness, competence, industry knowledge and personal service. This trust is enormously important to us and should definitely be used.
Springer Professional:Companies in other industries sometimes find it easier to cope with change processes because they are not subject to additional strict regulations, as is the case with banks. Nevertheless, financial service providers such as Wirecard have succeeded in clearly differentiating themselves from traditional banks with their business model. Recently, the share value of this Fintech has even overtaken Deutsche Bank, the industry leader, as the most valuable institution. What can the industry learn from this?
Jochen Werne:Laws and guidelines have a strong influence on the competitive situation. MIFID II and PSD II are prime examples of this. In the second case, industry experts predicted that the mere opening of the banking infrastructure to third parties would lead to a major shift in competition. This is a big advantage for FinTechs, but also the FinTech industry, which is already in the process of market consolidation, has to make considerable investments and adjustments, even if the new regulations now also open up new market opportunities. Non-adaptable service providers without sustainable and a viable business models will be driven out of the market, as will banks whose offerings do not meet the needs of customers in a digital world. The example shows not only the usefulness of cooperation, but also its necessity. The advantages of banks, such as routine handling of regulatory issues or cross-selling opportunities due to the existing customer base, will continue to exist even after the market consolidation of the FinTech industry and the introduction of new technological standards.
Springer Professional: In order to be a driver of innovation, a bank does not necessarily have to handle all tasks alone. Where and when do cooperations with Fintechs make sense from your point of view?
Jochen Werne: What some have, others lack. Banks have a solid customer base, greater financial resources and, most importantly, a banking licence and the necessary know-how to deal with the relevant regulatory authorities. In addition, traditional financial institutions with many years of market experience, expertise in customer business and their trust can score points. Fintechs, on the other hand, have business models that are geared precisely to bringing innovative, customer-centric digital tools to market in a short space of time. Strategic alliances make sense, because ultimately everyone benefits – especially the customers. Not only the young generation today has very high demands on innovative mobile banking, but all age groups have discovered the new mobile possibilities in a very short time. Personal access to customers, which has persisted despite all the financial crises to date, is a sign that banks have preserved their most important asset – the trust of their customers. In an increasingly transparent and open financial world, however, the extent to which the customer’s loyalty to his bank will remain, is open.
Munich banker Jochen Werne and eleven friends want to sail from Cape Horn to Antarctica on a sailing ship. It is not only the myth of historical seafaring that drives them.
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Safe return doubtful. Honour in case of success”. With such words the British navigator Ernest Shackleton 1914 is said to have searched for men for a trip to the Southern Ocean. In the end he was honoured, but before that a dramatic struggle for survival took place. The ship got stuck in the pack ice for months until it finally sank, the men rescued themselves in open dinghies on the sea. An incredible story in which everyone survived in the end.
A trip to Antarctica is still dangerous today. Bitterly cold anyway. “When you approach an iceberg, it feels like putting your head in the freezer,” says Jochen Werne, 46. He knows this feeling. He’s been to the Arctic Sea twice before, all the way up to Spitsbergen. This time he is aiming in the other direction: from Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America to Antarctica. With a sailing ship. On the 12th of February it is supposed to start.
The Drake Strait, named after Sir Francis Drake, the British buccaneer and circumnavigator, is one of the most dangerous shipping routes in the world. In 14 days Werne and his eleven fellow sailors want to pass it there and back with the Santa Maria Australis, a 20-metre-long ship made of aluminium. It belongs to Wolf Kloss, who has his base in southern Chile and regularly sails in the Southern Ocean. Tourism has long since reached even the most remote regions of the world. Two years ago Kloss followed Shackleton’s footsteps to Antarctica on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.
Werne, who has always been the skipper himself on his previous tours, relies this time on the experience of the local skipper. But the preparation and logistics were in his hands, and of course he will be at the helm himself. “The last few weeks I have hardly slept more than four hours a night,” he says. They completed safety training with a life raft on Lake Starnberg. They trained themselves for medical emergencies, studied the weather conditions, drew up a plan for the procedures on board and the supporters ashore.
“We have a dentist with us who has to sew an open leg in an emergency,” he says and laughs. If necessary, a doctor in Germany can advise the colleague by e-mail or satellite telephone. On board, all crew members share the tasks, they go on watch, navigate, collect weather data, take care of the on-board technology, cook and wash dishes. “The youngest is 28, the oldest 78,” says Werne. They are entrepreneurs, bankers, managers, scientists from several countries. There will not only be canned ravioli, Werne emphasizes: “Napoleon already said: “The army marches on its stomachs”. They are not afraid of seasickness. “I also get caught by it every now and then,” he says, “but then you drink a Coke as soon as you can, eat some salt sticks and carry on. Discipline helps over everything.”
Everybody has to do everything – even tricky repairs
Also about extremely tricky situations. Once, years ago, they were lying on a Legerwall with a defective machine in the English Channel. This is what sailors call one of the most unpleasant situations that can happen to them: Wind and current press against the land, but the ship is unable to manoeuvre. “You’re hanging upside down in the engine compartment trying to repair the cooling water circuit, even if you’ve never done this before in your life.”
The focus is on sailing under extreme conditions, but Werne is also concerned with the tradition of seafaring, which he wants to keep alive, and the Corps spirit. With his cruises he wants to pay tribute to the well-known and unknown heroes of the seas. “There are no monuments at sea,” he says. That’s why he has already launched wreaths in various places, in memory of brave men on dangerous missions.
“At sea you help each other,” says Werne. He also sees himself as a peace missionary. For even after the most bitter battles, such as in the Second World War, the opponents often saved each other. He wants to remind us of this. Because they are not allowed to leave anything behind in Antarctica, no flowers, no foreign substances, they will lay down a wreath of ice. “If we make it there, we will hold a worthy ceremony in honor of the seafarers of 17 different nations.” They will hoist the flags and return them to the respective government officials upon their return.
For this purpose, the Munich-based, by profession authorized signatory and marketing director of a traditional Munich bank, has collected accompanying letters from government representatives. Prince Albert of Monaco, who is very concerned about environmental issues, supports the campaign together with the Yacht Club of Monaco. The Spanish king and other dignitaries will also be present.
Environmental protection and remembrance
The environmental idea is also important for Werne. “When you are out there, in the vastness of the ocean, and you see this infinite beauty, you ask yourself: How can man destroy that?”
Werne has therefore also won the United Nations as a partner by promoting its Clean Seas programme. The uninhabited Antarctic, only discovered 200 years ago, is under special international protection. In 1959, in the middle of the Cold War, twelve nations negotiated the Antarctic Treaty. It stipulates that the area south of the 60th parallel is exclusively reserved for peaceful use. And it contains the strictest environmental regulations. Today there are not only numerous research stations, but also a growing number of visitors to the Antarctic. But the international agreement still holds. “This is a unique and wonderful agreement,” says Werne.
The man from Munich and his comrades-in-arms will collect plankton along the way and make it available to scientists. They will observe whales and document all their observations. They will be attending press conferences and writing to governments about the pollution of the oceans. Even plastic waste is now spreading as far as Antarctica, where birds and marine animals are suffocating.
As a child, Werne saw on television the reports of the Frenchman Jacques Cousteau, “and from then on, my mother told me, I wanted to become a ‘deep-sea diver researcher'”. Growing up in southwest Germany, just before the Swiss border, he went to the navy for two years after graduating from high school. The service on the Gorch Fock shaped him for life. But staying in the Navy didn’t seem attractive to him. “I got to know great people there,” he says, “but also some who failed because of the rigid system.” He studied economics and worked for major international banks in London and Frankfurt before coming to Munich. But seafaring didn’t let him go.
In 1999 he founded the Global Offshore Sailing Team with a friend. Professionally successful and internationally networked, he soon found like-minded people with the necessary small change and the equally great enthusiasm for extreme sailing. In 2011 and 2016 they sailed into the Arctic up to the pack ice limit.
The ice is unpredictable
What the violence of nature means in such regions, they experienced very closely. “After a few days of exploring the fog, we suddenly came out of nowhere towards icebergs,” he says. They sought shelter in a fjord, put their ship behind a floating jetty in a small harbour. But the ice followed, pushing into the fjord with mighty force. “We kept watch around the clock and pushed the ice with poles away from the ship.” It still demanded its toll. Crashing it tore the propeller of the engine from the hull, water broke in, they had to scoop for hours.
They will meet icebergs again this time. They hope for a proper distance. The Santa Maria Australis is a comfortable ship, her hull is built of several separate chambers to protect her from water ingress. She is equipped with the latest technology such as radar, satellite navigation and communication and can be followed on the Internet. It has two powerful diesel engines on board, a power generator, several battery systems, a water conditioner that turns seawater into drinking water, and heated cabins. Nevertheless, a trip to Antarctica is no walk in the park. Icebergs are unpredictable.
Erich von Drygalski, the Munich geographer, led the first German South Polar expedition in 1902. His ship, the Gauss, was trapped by ice on 1 March and held 50 miles off the coast for almost a year. Thanks to its rounded hull, it was not crushed but only lifted. The men had enough supplies and used the year for their research. Werne and his friends do not have that much time. But even for them, he says, “You can’t go against the sea, the sea is always stronger”.
The Hague, 7 December 2018 – An exciting part of The Netherlands’ 2018 Polar Symposium has been the ceremonial presentation of the Antarctic Blanc expedition flag to the Arctic Ambassador of The Netherlands, Ms. Carola Van Rijnsoever by a delegation of the Global Offshore Sailing.
This special occasion recognized the commitment of The Netherlands in preserving Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. In addition, it’s has also been an opportunity to remember the explorers, scientists and sailors who set foot on the Antarctic continent to discover and made us all aware how beautiful and equally important this ecosystem and its protection for our planet is.
In his speech, Antarctic Blanc expedition leader Jochen Werne emphasised the importance of the Antarctic Treaty not only for the white continent, but also as an encouraging diplomatic achievement that underscores the human capacity to peacefully find intelligent solutions, even when it comes to jointly administer an entire continent.
He underscored, that by visiting and exploring our planet’s poles, the Netherland’s Polar Programme scientists, in collaboration with the international community of polar scientists have been a great inspiration for future generations of scientists and explorers worldwide. Due to the engagement for the Antarctic, and the establishment of the Dutch Dirck Gerritsz Laboratory at the British Rothera Research Station in 2013, The Netherlands today play an important role for the future of the white continent. By acceding the Antarctic Treaty on March 30, 1967 with the goal that “in the interest of all mankind Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”, The Netherlands underlined its commitment as one of the leading countries engaged in preserving this ecosystem as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”. This has been made clear to everyone by The Netherland’s signature to the Antarctic Environment Protocol on January 14, 1998.
After the ceremony Dutch Arctic Ambassador Carola von Rijnsoever also signed the expedition flag underlining the strong commitment of The Netherlands to Antarctica. Prior in this year His Serene Highness Prince Albert II underlined Monaco’s commitment with his signature given in a ceremony at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
In February 2018, inspired by the era of the great explorers, the 12 members of the international Expedition ANTARTIC BLANC set sail to Antarctica through one of the most dangerous seaways on the planet, the Drake-Passage. Their aim was to raise international awareness and draw attention to the essential need to maintain and protect the unique Antarctic ecosystem. On Deception Island, the Expedition recognized the Antarctic explorers and the establishment of the Antarctic Treaty, in a solemn and dignified manner, paying tribute in the form of an international commemoration ceremony. A wreath formed out of Antarctic ice, was laid in the name of 19 nations, which gave permission to officially act on behalf of them. In addition, ANTARCTIC BLANC supported the UNEP’s “Clean Seas” initiative to combat plastic waste in and on the world’s oceans. Furthermore, the expedition gathered data for the University of Connecticut’s and the Northeastern University’s Ocean Genome Legacy Center Research Project for the meta-barcoding of plankton, which in turn could play a fundamental role in providing answers to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.