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Nunatak supports “Managers Without Borders”

Nunatak supports “Managers Without Borders”

Aspiring start­-ups and entrepreneurs are not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Africa. Nonetheless, there is an economic system of mid­-sized companies and small­-scale enterprises in developing countries as well. It is precisely these that benefit from the assistance of “Managers Without Borders” Foundation from Stuttgart, Germany. The charity already fosters more than 150 projects in 40 countries on all continents.

Africa is only one of many continents, where "Managers Without Borders" is supporting small­-scale enterprises. The foundation is active in more than 40 countries.
Africa is only one of many continents, where “Managers Without Borders” is supporting small­-scale enterprises. The foundation is active in more than 40 countries.

Their work ranges somewhere between development assistance and economic promotion: an on­-site know-how transfer among managers and local entrepreneurs. While traditional aid often exclusively focused on financial support and hence generated dependencies in the past, the foundation’s efforts center upon capacity building instead. It is their aim to advance promising on­-site projects and to strengthen economically independent small to mid­-sized businesses through knowledge transfer. The projects come from areas such as trade, manufacturing or advanced training, joined by social services providers, initiatives helping in setting up businesses, as well as agriculture and forestry.

More companies to profit from assistance in the future

The Nunatak Group is excited to have strategically partnered up with the foundation for some months now. “Our goal is to assist ‘Managers without Borders’ in expanding their range, for one, in terms of additional countries and, otherwise, adding more businesses in each country”, said Nunatak’s Managing Director Robert Jacobi.

A workshop with "Managers without Borders" in our office.
A workshop with “Managers without Borders” in our office.

What could such a the future cooperation look like? “Managers Without Borders” is already actively supporting over ten projects in Uganda’s capital Kampala. However, due to selective consulting only a few companies benefited from their managers’ advice in the past. “We are helping the charity to build so called ‘business hubs’ that act as permanent branches in the respective countries”, explained Jacobi.

Close collaboration with start­-ups and universities in Uganda

These ‘hubs’ can simultaneously support several businesses and start­-ups, and thus aid a holistic and lasting fight against poverty. For their realization, an exact analysis of local conditions, permanent on­site partners, and crowdfunding concepts are necessary. Furthermore, it is essential to keep in close contact with universities, seeing as most start­-ups are founded there. From the very beginning these institutions of higher education must be empowered by the managers’ entrepreneurial knowledge. “Especially Nunatak’s digital know-how will be highly valuable in the scale of digital business models in Uganda”, stresses Jacobi.

Strengthen economically independent small to mid­sized businesses through knowledge transfer – that's the aim of "Managers Without Borders", here on a project in Uganda.
Strengthen economically independent small to mid­sized businesses through knowledge transfer – that’s the aim of “Managers Without Borders”, here on a project in Uganda.
InsurTech 2.0: Insights from our Nunatak Afterwork

InsurTech 2.0: Insights from our Nunatak Afterwork

It was the premiere of our exclusive event series: In a very relaxed atmosphere, our two managing directors Robert Jacobi and Rupert Schäfer opened the first Nunatak afterwork event. The hot topic of the evening: “InsurTech 2.0: Battle or cooperation?”. Around 40 guests from established insurance companies, start-ups and consultancies participated in the open discussion at the Nunatak office close to the “Siegestor” in Munich.

Rupert Schäfer emphasized the new role of InsurTechs in interaction with global players of the insurance industry: “Regarding the distribution and digitalization of existing business models, the first wave of InsurTechs started with high expectations. So far they didn’t get fulfilled, but they had a huge impact on the established insurers’ willingness to change.“ As an reaction to new actors, insurers are investing more and more in start-ups and founding their own innovation labs. But not everyone is successful: “It’s still hard for many established insurers to anchor new mindsets and workflows in their organisation.”

The real danger are tech titans like Amazon and Google

Meanwhile, many companies realised that InsurTechs aren’t the real danger in the competition for insurance customers of the future. Quite the contrary is actually the case: With strategic partnerships and common initiatives InsurTechs and established insurers can even complement each other. Thus, investments and M&A activities are increasing, too.

The Nunatak Afterwork in our Munich office
Nunatak Afterwork in our office with Rupert Schäfer (2nd from right)

The big unknown are “tech titans” like Amazon and Google. “Regarding to insurances and the digital interface with the customers, their future strategies are still not clear”, Schäfer said. “Among all the current threats – that’s what German CEOs have sleepless nights about.” And according to our Nunatak Update Paper “InsurTech 2.0”  they should be afraid: Already 30 percent of the people all over the globe would rather take out an insurance at one of the tech titans than at an established insurance company.

Why the disruption is a big chance for the insurance industry

The challenges of the digitalization were the main topic of the following panel discussion with industry experts like Stefan Daehne (ADAC Versicherung), Hermann-Josef Knipper (R&V), Klaus Driever (Allianz Deutschland), Frank Birzle and Maximilian Rast (ottonova), Simon Kolkmann (RYSKEX) and Matthias Mierisch (Speedinvest).

One important finding was that trust is a huge asset of big and established insurance companies with partly decade-long experience as well as brand presence. The new players couldn’t build up that level of trust yet – and it will get even harder for them in an increasing digital world with briefly, virtual touch points.

The participants also agreed on the assumption, that the unavailable disruption in the insurance industry is not only a threat, but also a chance: The industry is heading towards a co-existence of established and new actors – provided that the classical insurers administer to the change process. It’s short-sighted to hide behind the regulating lawmakers.

Rupert Schäfer’s conclusion: “Evenings like this and our talks with insurers and investors show that the digitalization of the industry is not fully developed and customer-orientated implemented yet. With other words: The game has just begun.”

The next Nunatak Afterwork is already in the planning. Details are coming soon.

HoBB – the new hotspot for digital nonconformists

HoBB – the new hotspot for digital nonconformists

“If software is eating the world, we might as well have a glass of wine.” That was the motto at the “House of Beautiful Business” (HoBB), a rather unusual conference that took place in Lisbon during the Web Summit last week.

Together with 300 other guests and “residents” of the HoBB, our consultant Anna-Maria Lange followed the invitation of host Tim Leberecht, author, consultant and self-proclaimed “business romantic” and his team.

The event dealt in particular with new ways to make the working world more human in times of algorithms and data-driven processes and to focus more on the needs of people in a company. The stylish and intimate venue at the Gallery House, a vintage boutique hotel in the trendy district of São Bento, invited guests to engage in inspiring conversations, encounter each other and to jointly develop positive visions for the connection of technology and humanity.

The carefully curated, extremely dense program consisted of the most diverse formats from talks and panels to masterclasses, excursions and late-night salons to creative happenings in the museum, the music studio or at philosophical dinners in small rounds. Entrepreneurs and visionaries of the business world, e.g. from technology companies like Google, Siemens and AirBnB, met with artists, designers, philosophers and scientists from all over the globe.

Recruiting 2020: Predictive Analytics replace the HR manager

Anna-Maria’s personal highlights included a conversation with Jacob Hsu, CEO of Catalyte, on the use of artificial intelligence in human resources. Hsu gave insights into how his company uses predictive analytics and algorithms to recruit and train software development teams. Skills that are not reflected in the CV, above all curiosity as well as the capacity to learn and to adapt, outweigh top degrees from renowned universities. Existing biases in the recruiting process are thus excluded.

Another highlight was the input of philosopher Christoph Quarch on the meaning and benefit of games and playgrounds in companies. According to Quarch, the human being unfolds its potential in the game. He experiments, is creative and not afraid to fail. These are qualities that companies increasingly demand from their employees as well. However, it requires free space where it is permitted to act without purpose, in which the process counts first and not the result, which poses great challenges to companies.

Of course, creativity also got its due: in addition to convivial baking and cooking sessions, which were offered by the Hermann’s team around Verena Bahlsen (always accompanied by a philosophical question that the participants could reflect on), Anna-Maria – a passionate musician herself – enjoyed spending time at the music studio to refuel energy and to jam with other participants, speakers and the two musicians-in-residence. On this occasion, she was also invited to record the song specially composed for the conference, which was presented at the closing event.

Recording session at the "House of Beautiful Business" (HoBB) in Lisbon during the Web Summit
Recording session at the “House of Beautiful Business” (HoBB) in Lisbon during the Web Summit

Anna-Maria’s conclusion: “It really was a very inspiring and vivid atmosphere. One of the main reasons was this extremely open-minded, open-hearted and reflected crowd of people from all over the world. Everyone was unbelievably open for inspiring, profound discussions on new ideas and visions beyond the usual buzzwords. A unique experience!”

And last but not least, we at Nunatak also benefit from this: news on our new work project Nunatak 3.0 will soon be available here on the blog.

Medientage München 2018: Shaping the media future

Medientage München 2018: Shaping the media future

“Engage! Shaping Media Tech Society”. This was the claim of this year’s communication and media trade fair “Medientage München”. From the Nunatak perspective, the melding of the communications and tech world was the most inspiring insights. There are only few trade fairs that have transformed as rapidly as the Medientage: 10 years ago, the convergence of online and print media was the hottest topic. Today, the community is speaking about Blockchain based solutions, China’s technological advance and Artificial Intelligence.

Both of our Managing Partners joined the trade fair: While Rupert Schäfer presented the panel “Real World Apps – Cryptocurrencies, Smart Contracts and How Blockchain is triggering innovation”, Robert Jacobi focused on the important topic of “Marketing – local Alliances vs. global giants”.

The central point of his presentation was the competition of cooperating, national companies with the big players in the global market. In a nutshell: companies like Bertelsmann and Springer against the Tech Titans like Google, Amazon and Facebook. The focus of Robert’s talk was on the question of how David can best assert himself over Goliath.

Local players should focus their attention on these five points:

  1. Advertisers want more – and pay for it
  2. Investment in technology is worthwhile
  3. Data is not everything, but without data everything is nothing
  4. A friendship is not yet an alliance
  5. Crucial is only one factor: relevance!


In a following panel Robert discussed with other experts from the digital industry what the superiority of global players means, which local alliances exist and how they evolve. He also clarified which expectations the advertiser has in general and what needs to be done in the future.

Insurance sector: “Huge differences in mindset”

Insurance sector: “Huge differences in mindset”

Many experts predicted an earthquake in the insurance industry through InsurTechs, but this has failed to appear. Collaboration instead of disruption is the new leitmotif.

Our new update paper InsurTech 2.0 outlines the ongoing reorganization in the insurance market: increasingly, there is a close alliance between the established insurance groups and the innovative start-ups. Our Managing Director, Rupert Schäfer predicts how things will continue in the future.

Rupert SchaeferAre InsurTechs still the biggest threat to insurance companies? Rupert Schäfer: No, on the contrary. They have helped and continue to help the industry tremendously to stay future-compliant.

What do you mean exactly? When the first 2012 start-ups took up the subject of insurance, some managers in the established corporations were afraid of disruption. They were thinking about Amazon and the book trade. And they knew: they are the book trade. So they invested hundreds of millions in all sorts of digitization initiatives to stay competitive. This was urgently needed, the insurance sector was lagging behind others, and in that sense, the incumbents can be grateful to the InsurTech.

Disruption did not take place: so InsurTechs failed? If you succeed in determining whether a start-up will significantly decrease market share for major players, then InsurTech will not be successful. Disruption as in the music industry, where MP3 and streaming have replaced the CD, has not yet taken place. Nevertheless, the expectations of InsurTechs for business model innovation have been high. The number and size of investments in this sector has increased steadily since 2016. Established companies are involved in strategic partnerships, knowledge transfer and securing their own ability to innovate.

Do these partnerships work? InsurTechs have recognized that as strategic partners of large companies, they have much better opportunities. After all, they have simply not been able to attract enough customers to this day. What they can do better than incumbents are fast agile development processes and radical thinking from the customer perspective. Now, that has to be transferred to incumbents and thus to the customer.

Will it work? The art will be to cope with the huge cultural differences in mindset between corporations and start-ups. This process takes time and patience. Anyone who does not take this seriously and does not accompany its company with a sustainable change management process will end up frustrating everyone: long-established IT staff to younger staff with beards and wool hats.

Curious? Click here to view the latest update paper, InsurTech 2.0!



Israel is THE startup country per se. Approximately 1000 companies in the tech and online sector are founded every year and only a small, but notably relevant part of it is present this week at the DLD Conference in Tel Aviv – a mixture of conference, festival and urban happening. In addition, the usual suspects such as Google and Amazon are present, who will be using their own space in the “Old Train Station” location to convey the cloud topic.

Representatives of large corporations from all over the world are sweating during panel discussions at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius amongst the slightly overstrained ventilators. Artificial intelligence, the future of mobility and finance, educational technology (EdTech) and cybersecurity are the essential topics this year. The digital story of Tel Aviv is also featured as one of the most innovative cities in the world.

Here are some impressions of Nunatak managing director, Robert Jacobi. Interestingly enough the DLD Munich conference has played a crucial part of the Nunatak story: The two managing directors Robert Jacobi and Rupert Schäfer, then a DLD producer at Hubert Burda Media, met for the first time there back in 2007.



What can content managers actually learn from the famously clumsy character of Mr. Bean?
A whole lot! This was made clear recently by our exclusive workshop “Storytelling in B2B”, to which we had invited selected managers from the advertising industry. Lesson one: munching Snickers!

But first things first:

The host of the event, Silke Bonarius, introduced the subject and various storytelling formats for digital natives and then played the YouTube clip “United breaks guitars” – a musical rant of Canadian David Carroll and his band Sons of Maxwell. Carroll describes how he himself had to watch the destruction of his guitar before flying with United Airlines – an agony for musicians.
The clip went viral with more than 18 million clicks, triggered a worldwide media coverage and even has its own entry on Wikipedia. That too is content marketing, with simple means, but enormously effective.

How this can be systematized explained Janis Schibalski, digital strategy consultant at the Neofonie agency: A content strategy can be derived from several criteria – therefore, this is less the witchcraft of some creatives, but rather the result of essential strategic considerations.
There are some key questions to ask. What this looks like in practice, Schibalski made clear on the example of the Snickers spot with Mr. Bean. The field manual looked like this:

  • What? Which product is it? So here it’s a chocolate bar
  • For whom? Who is the target audience? The answer is obvious: hungry consumers in the broadest sense, chocolate lovers in the narrower sense
  • Competitor? Who are the competitors? In this case: Milka, Kitkat, Hanuta
  • What is the theme? What is it about? Avert failure
  • What is the conflict? Possible failure versus successful mission
  • What are the resistances? Lack of concentration, hunger
  • What is the message? You lose focus when you’re hungry
  • Who is the protagonist? A testimonial with deficits, depending on personal taste funny or ridiculous
  • What is the mission? Defeating Ninjas, thirst for adventure
  • What is the Excalibur? What is the “magic” element that helps to win? There is only one answer: Snickers

Apparently simple ingredients – also for the complex B2B world?
Yes, says the digital strategist, because even business decisions are never met completely rationally. “Every decision is emotionally influenced”, says Schibalski: “Two-thirds of managers even openly admit that gut feeling plays a key role. The rest just may not be that far in self-awareness”. Therefore, storytelling approaches as we know them from the Hollywood blockbusters – for example, “overcome monsters”, “from rags to riches”, “travel and return” or “rebirth” – work even in the B2B environment.

In subsequent workshops, the participants were able to test their own storytelling skills – topics were a new product for a mobility service provider, green banking and project management. Subsequent discussions were also unavoidable – because, whether right or wrong can never be determined in advance to this discipline. “There are no patent recipes”, the content expert told the participants. Above all, authenticity is important, because that is the prerequisite for trust and that is in turn the prerequisite for most business decisions.


Above the Glockenbach district: the nunatak family celebrates summer

Above the Glockenbach district: the nunatak family celebrates summer


A pleasant summer breeze and the entire Flushing Meadows rooftop bar = the perfect conditions for Nunatak’s annual summer festival. The some 70 guests included current Nunatakeers as well as future team members, alumni, friends from the network and spouses. The larger setting of this year’s summer event was inspired by Nunatak’s “Strengthen Partnerships” motto, encouraged by Robert and Rupert, Managing Directors & Co-Founders, who’s continuously aim to reinforce existing business relationships and inspire new ones. The relaxed summer setting was casually decorated along with a silver balloon Nunatak logo that blended in perfectly with the view of Munich in the background. A flying buffet of savory finger food was available throughout the evening while the guests had a chance to get to know each other better and newcomers got to experience the company culture firsthand.


Those who last the longest at the Oktoberfest, get the contract

In addition to the fantastic conditions, the founders had come up with something just as special for their speech. They took the effort to say something personal about every current and former Nunatakeer: from the very first employees to the newest interns. About the new coming manager Juliane, they said: “Juliane will soon be joining us from CHECK24. I’m sure she closely compared the contracts”. And also, the alumni were presented humorously: “Hai was hired because he held out the longest at the Oktoberfest” or “Konsti, our first and last Bayern player in the team”.

The speech was up until then the highlight of the evening, although some of the guests were astonished when a clown making balloon art joined the party a bit later. Rupert certainly succeeded in surprising everyone. Mona Müller, organizer of the teams events, was joking that perhaps they ended up at the wrong event that evening. The emergence of the clown idea is pretty amusing too: Rupert had previously seen the performance at his children’s birthday party, and thought it would be a fun way to stir up the summer party.


After many cheerful conversations with colleagues and friends, the evening came to an end, though some managed to make it to a dance club after as well.


Nunatak at the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018: five key steps to getting started

Nunatak at the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018: five key steps to getting started

At the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018 in Munich, eleven leading experts shared their experience in this rapidly growing marketing discipline – incorporating knowledge exchange, case studies, and success models. The topics discussed included the most striking aspects of cooperation with these new opinion-formers, as well as stumbling blocks in the execution.

Figures show that there is no way around this subject: The budget for influencer marketing rose by 67 percent in 2017, and demand for specialized influencer marketing managers increased by 270 percent. So the focus of discussions was not on whether companies should consider influencer marketing in the first place, but rather on how this new discipline can be implemented properly.

Our Managing Director, Rupert Schäfer, presented workshop participants with five steps to getting started in influencer marketing:

1. Who is the right influencer for your brand?

Even though this discipline seems to be young and trendy, strategic preparation is still necessary. This is why the selection of suitable multipliers should be based solely on overarching marketing objectives. In order to extend your reach quickly and appeal to a younger target group, popular YouTubers may be suitable. For long-term dialog with the target group and credible communication of product benefits, micro-influencers with in-depth expertise might be a better fit. The crucial question: “What do I want to communicate to whom and how do I want to say it?” also applies to influencer marketing.

2. What does optimum cooperation look like?

The first step is setting the strategic direction: Are you aiming for action/event-related influencer marketing measures or long-term influencer relations? Both work under completely different conditions. In the first case, the aim is rapid and high visibility within the target group. Companies deploy measures of this kind for product launches, for example. Influencers are used to extend the reach. By contrast, with ongoing influencer relations, the focus is on long-term dialog with the target group. Product samples, vouchers, and so on are often given to these multipliers to create incentives.

3. How should an influencer campaign be executed in practice?

Just like in any other marketing discipline, numerous intermediaries have positioned themselves within influencer marketing. They range from agencies that represent several star influencers to platforms that focus more on micro- and mid-level influencers, as well as on “rising stars” (i.e. influencers with up to one million followers). An alternative is, however, often forgotten in this heated debate: the in-house solution. As in programmatic advertising or content marketing, it seems reasonable that advertisers should acquire the competencies themselves. They could thus reduce their dependency on service providers in the long term.

4. What priority does performance measurement have?

Even those who see marketing as an investment and not a cost item want to determine the ROI in influencer marketing. However, performance measurement depends entirely on the defined marketing objectives: Image can be determined by market research, sales increase through measurements in defined test areas, and interaction via social channels and blogs. This is the only way to directly compare influencer marketing with other marketing disciplines.

5. How does influencer marketing blend into the classic marketing mix?

Marketing works holistically. If used correctly, influencer marketing can certainly contribute its share of success. But this requires that all measures are well coordinated and orchestrated. Ultimately, however, one person – the conductor – plays a decisive role in ensuring a harmonious performance.

Alongside Rupert Schäfer, the panel also consisted of Torsten Oppermann, CEO of MSN.Digital, Alexander Pühringer, CEO of Linkilike, and Torsten Panzer, CEO of PR Club Hamburg. The author Dr. Erwin Lammenet gave a keynote speech. A video interview with him and more information about the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018 can be found here.

Stefan Hopf at the All Member Summit of the BRI: “The legislative loses connection”

Stefan Hopf at the All Member Summit of the BRI: “The legislative loses connection”

In mid-June our blockchain expert Stefan Hopf traveled to New York to attend the All Member Summit of the Blockchain Research Institute. The both state- and company-sponsored BRI supports more than 70 blockchain projects across multiple industries and is considered one of the leading think tanks in the field. Besides his job at Nunatak, Stefan has been working there as a researcher since May 2017. At the Summit he presented his whitepaper “Blockchain: The Emerging Platform for Manufacturing 4.0”. We asked Stefan about his trip to the Big Apple:

Stefan, what are the most important learnings from the event?

When so many international top experts meet to discuss a certain topic, it’s always about the big picture: how blockchain will change the economy and society of tomorrow. Though not exclusively: the summit was also very specifically concerned with the practical application of the technology. It offered an outlook on completely new business perspectives, especially when coupling blockchain with adjacent innovations such as AI and IoT. But as we all know: everything has its downside – the risks of the current developments were also discussed.

What are some of the risks for example?

It is becoming increasingly apparent that legislature is far behind the technological development. Global regulation on blockchain is still in its infancy and individual countries are often pursuing completely different approaches. This is fatal because blockchain, in many regards, knows almost no boundaries. Something has to happen very quickly here, because blockchain technology is much more than just an aspiration for the distant future.

What interesting people did you meet?

It was certainly interesting to meet the Canadian entrepreneurs Don and Alex Tapscott. In various publications they describe how the technology behind Bitcoin is changing not only the financial system, but the whole world. The event also created a bridge to practice. Numerous US companies such as FedEx or Procter & Gamble presented their pilot projects and for other blockchain pioneers, such as IBM, SAP, Accenture and Tencent, the summit was an obligatory visit as well. Furthermore professional exchange and networking were a part of it – with such a high-profile cast it is always inspiring and offers real added value.

Briefly describe what your lecture was about:

It is not at all easy to describe this in brief – after all, it is a highly complex topic. Essentially it was about the possible application of blockchain in production and in supply chains. I presented new research findings and showed how the technology can be used to improve cross-company data exchange and automate business processes.

How was the atmosphere in comparison to German events?

As often in the US, things were much more relaxed than at comparable events in Europe. The discussions were more open and less dogmatic.

The development of blockchain in the US vs. Germany: What are the differences and what are the similarities?

A major difference is that the US as a whole is more welcoming to experimentation and faster in practical application. The one thing I see in common is the great general interest in blockchain on the part of the industry.

Was there anything else noteworthy?

The talks with Chinese and Indian industry representatives made one thing clear: topics such as blockchain are picked up and driven forward with absolute determination. We in Europe need to keep up with the pace so that we do not fall behind.

Thank you, Stefan, for sharing your impressions.