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Dr. Peter Stephan

Senior Partner & Co-Founder / STAUFEN.DIGITAL NEONEX

Peter became a QX member in 2016 during his transition from a German Hidden Champion company to his role as Co-founder & Senior Partner of NEONEX, a Digital Transformation Consultancy. Having done his PhD at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence DFKI, he was actually involved in creating the concept of “Industrie 4.0” as it is known today. With the support of inspiring people and his will to walk his own professional path, he is now running Digital Transformation Projects for various industries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Furthermore, he and his partners invented NEXCON, the First International Virtual Conference on Smart Manufacturing.

QX: Peter, please tell us something about your daily life. You travel a lot between Germany, Asia and America.

Peter: Actually there is currently no prototypic daily routine that I can follow. In the current state of our company, me and my partners have to balance our time between three main activities. Firstly, the acquisition and delivery of projects in an international context, secondly the development and refinement of consulting products and, last but not least, strategic activities to grow our company. That means, flying around the globe and changing the way how companies do their business, as well as sitting in the office, rethinking the way we operate our company are both part of my daily life.  

QX: Why did you choose Co-founding a company over being employed in a Multinational or a Hidden Champion Company? 

Peter: The driver for this decision is a deep desire for freedom of choice and personal independency from boundaries I am not able to influence. In my actual role at NEONEX, every action and decision I take has immediate and tangible impact either on our company or on our customers. In a small organization like NEONEX, it is not possible to hide. You are fully responsible and you get immediate feedback on what you do. This is what I actually like. For me it is an almost perfect professional environment for personal growth and constant hands-on learning.

QX: Why are you so enthusiastic about digital topics?

Peter: During my research at the DFKI I learned, that we are somehow still in the digital stone age. What is technologically possible in the long run is beyond our boldest dreams and will change our lives in a way we are currently not yet able to imagine. I think that it is a great gift for all of us to be alive right at this age and to witness this revolution. For myself, I decided that I want to be an active and shaping part of that transition into the future. By helping companies to reshape their operations and to stay relevant in a digitally determined world, I made a profession out of my dedication.

QX: What do you think is the biggest pain point for traditional businesses regarding the digitalization?

Peter: From my point of view, most companies, especially in Germany, still think that “Industrie 4.0” is a technology matter. But this is not the case. Everything necessary for a technology stack to reshape a company is available on the market. The major road blocks of digitalization in industry are on the soft side. Aspects around change and truly involving people on the journey to the digital transformation of a company’s operations or even its whole business model is the real challenge we have to face in the daily work with our customers.

QX: You host the First International Virtual Congress on Smart Manufacturing called NEXCON. What is so special about this congress?

Peter: The exciting thing about NEXCON is an online-only and time-zone-spanning format, where global experts meet for 15 hours on a virtual platform. On February 28th, participants get served a live multimedia experience with about 20 leading speakers and around 30 renown exhibiting companies without even leaving the office. Our format also allows participants to get a more relaxed insight later on, as we actually provide all content for 30 days after the event.

The format is entirely new to our industry domain. This time we highlight the link between “Industrie 4.0” in Germany and the “Made in China 2025” initiative to push Smart Manufacturing. We are very curious on the feedback of our customer group.

By the way, all QX network members are most welcome to join NEXCON for free and to check it out. (Special Access Code: Neonex_Special_X).

QX: What is your personal Vanity?

Peter: Actually, I have two ones: Firstly, I am an absolute foodie. No matter if its street food or fine dining. To me, eating is an eternal pleasure that gives insight in the way how a culture works and people think in it. Furthermore, I am an absolute visual addict. Therefore, photography is my second passion and source of relaxation. After exhausting business trips, I love to wander around the big cities of Asia with nothing but my camera and to seek for inspiration around the next urban jungle corner.