After the eventful onboarding week, it was time for our teams to finally meet the corporate partners in person at the first milestone event of the project - the official Kick-Off!
One of our project partners, the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, kindly hosted us in their premises and served as an excellent platform for the event. As we kept checking boxes on our guest list, our teams finished up the very last preparation for their initial pitches. First impression matters! And who was to impress? Here’s a list of the high-caliber corporate partners of “The Mission II: Banking – Be Green!”:
Deutsche Bank is the leading German bank with strong European roots and a global network. As one of the initiators of "The Mission," they will now have the opportunity to work hand in hand with our teams in a project and support our teams with their decades-long banking expertise.
Bain & Company is a global consultancy company that helps the world’s most ambitious #changemakers define the future. Among those changemakers are also our innovators - Bain consultants that have already coached our first “Mission” teams and contributed to their outstanding performance in the last year's Final Pitch.
Handelsblatt is the leading German-language business media group. They have been covering "The Mission" and helping us push this initiative forward from the very beginning!
DWS Group is one of the world's leading asset managers. Building on more than 60 years of experience and a reputation for excellence in Germany and across Europe, DWS has come to be recognized by clients globally as a trusted source for integrated investment solutions, stability, sustainability and innovation across a full spectrum of investment disciplines.
Zurich Insurance Group is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets.
Medallia is the pioneer and market leader in Experience Management. They put the customer in the center of innovation and have made over a thousand of the world’s best-loved brands trust Medallia to help them become truly customer-obsessed.
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is one of Europe’s leading business schools delivering German excellence in management and finance education.
Kaufland, as part of the Schwarz Group, is one of the leading food retailers in the European market. Kaufland will show our teams the backside of the retail industry, its challenges and possibilities for innovation.
So, when everyone finally came together, it was time to start!
After a welcome speech from Prof. Dr. Nils Stieglitz (President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management), we got a chance to learn about what banking can do to enable a sustainable future from WWF Germany's head of sustainable finance, Matthias Kopp.
Since not all of our corporate partners were present in the onboarding week, Vanessa gave our audience a quick overview of all the fantastic activities our teams were involved in – from the first team building session up to the pitch training, the results of which they were about the see.
In just a matter of a few days, our teams have prepared excellent presentations about their start-up ideas and got everyone excited to see the outcomes. In the next weeks, we’ll tell you more about each team and idea.
Once all five teams presented their ideas, it was time to get to know our corporate partners better.
Deutsche Bank CMO Tim Alexander and Futury's Founder and Managing Director Charlie Müller met on stage in a "1 on 1" session to discuss DB’s participation in the project and the outcomes they expect to see in 3 months.
Later they were joined by the other partners to talk about how they already incorporate sustainability in their operations and what motivated them to join “The Mission”. Our panel included Dr. Matthias Catón from the Frankfurt School, Jens Rühle from Kaufland, Eike Führlich from Zurich and Corinna Orbach from DWS. Our partners committed to support the innovation teams with their expertise and grow together.
Since the project aims at developing solutions customers would love to use in the future, we asked Daniel Möllerhenn from Bain & Company and Thomas Kuehlewein from Medallia to tell us more about the art of customer experience. Overwhelmed with emotions and information, we headed over to Frankfurt School’s AI Lab to celebrate the great start with a fantastic view of the Frankfurt Skyline!
Hari, a member of team food, is sharing his thoughts on the Kick-Off with us:
"The lead up to the pitch was nothing short of a roller coaster ride! We at ‘Team Food’ wanted to really do a good job, as this was the first time that the corporate partners would know about our idea. We really wanted to lay a marker for the things to come in the next three months. Trust me, it was not easy. I still remember the mock pitch on Tuesday. Even though we had pretty much nailed the ‘problem statement,’ we lacked structure and our presentation skills needed a huge improvement if we wanted to put on a good show. Thankfully we had the best advisory panel in the form of Jannis Röthemeier, Vanessa Kämpf, Johanna Nebe (Case Team Leader, Bain & Company) and Anne Kahl (Consultant, Bain & Company).
They pointed out our shortcomings and encouraged us to work on the key message that we wanted to convey to the audience. Taking their suggestions on board, we set down to work and came up with a presentation that looked better, possessed better structure and delivered on the key message. But we still lacked a ‘hook’ that would capture the audience’s attention. Although we had a vision on how we wanted to implement the hook, we lacked the confidence to go through with it. Anne Kahl gave us the much-required confidence to go through with the ‘hook’ and gave us a bunch of ideas on how to incorporate the ‘hook’ effectively.
The day of the pitch dawned, and I was a big bundle of nerves. The fact that the pitch would be presented in the ‘Frankfurt School of Finance & Management’, which is, by the way, a timeless piece of architecture and is a testament to the world-class education provided at its campus, made me even more nervous. Added to this, I would present our idea to some of the biggest corporates in all of Germany and that curdled my stomach. But we were very confident of what we had worked on and once I pitched our idea, ‘Your Choice’ – an application that provides customers, orientation to buy sustainable products, the corporates were lavish in their praise and the feedback we received was invaluable. I am extremely grateful to my teammates Niklas Marx, Jasmin Pleban and Saikrishna Dhiddi without whom this idea would not have been conceived and received this amount of traction. We at ‘Team Food’ are looking to continue the good work and are very excited about how ‘Your Choice’ is going to look in 3 months’ time!”
Before we let our teams jump into their well-deserved weekend (it was carnival week, after all), we had to cross off one last important session from our agenda – the signing of the “Code of Values”.
It has become a tradition that at the beginning of each project, corporate partners and teams sign a joint "Code of Values" (Werte-Kodex), developed by the Werte-Stiftung, as a foundation for successful cooperation. So last Friday, Dr. Tobias Raffel brought all parties together to openly discuss each others' values and find common ground. In line with our project mission, Dr. Raffel especially emphasized the values that stimulate sustainable innovation and how important they are for our future.
We're pleased to present to you the values, "The Mission II: Banking- Be Green" participants have agreed on: trust, appreciation, empathy, courage and open-mindedness! We encourage everyone to stick to those values to maintain smooth collaboration and enjoy the time together.
The group photo, of course, has become a part of the tradition too. 😉
The Friday afternoon was all about reflecting on the Kick-off pitches, fine-tuning the ideas and outlining the plan for the first full working week.
We wish our teams and corporates partners to enjoy the project journey, learn from each other and have fun!
Next week, we’ll dive deeper into each teams’ story and the innovative ideas they’re working on.