"Higher, Faster, Further:” How Innovations and Innovative Spirit Are Changing Our Daily Lives


Petra Haarburger, President at Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH

Petra Haarburger

On route to a short-notice business appointment, I yet again got caught in congested traffic. As I watched exhaust fume levels in the air rise practically before my eyes, I thought: Taking the train might have been smarter.

Suddenly, I got a call from a colleague on my hands-free system. It made me realize again how quickly our means of communication have changed – especially how we can be reached anytime and anywhere. Having grown up in an era before cell phones, tablets, computers, and Bluetooth connections, I probably notice this more than others. And another thought also struck me:

Thanks to the Internet, the 21st century has witnessed the development of all-new communication channels. Whether it’s e-mail, SMS, chats, blogs, or social media, Generation Y in particular makes constant use of them. We can now disseminate everything from simple information and new ideas, to innovative approaches to a wide array of viewpoints. When it comes to the uncensored generation and circulation of knowledge, this sets a powerful precedent. We are amidst the Information Age, which connects our world in seconds and has fundamentally changed our professional and private lives. It would now be hard to imagine life without that worldwide phenomenon, the smartphone. A phone, music player, online library, memo board, and calculator all in one, it’s with us wherever we go. Meanwhile, manufacturers are constantly launching newer, “smarter” models, subjecting users to a never-ending flood of information. Some find the ubiquity of the smartphone aggravating, but others consider it a source of knowledge and inspiration. But where are these changes taking us? What innovations lie ahead? Which of them will change our society, and more importantly, how? Here, sustainability is the operative word. Back in the 19th century, Werner von Siemens made an observation that has since proven prescient: “We succeed not in the advantages we take, but in the benefits we provide.” Right now, we’re at a crossroads regarding the ecological, economic, and social challenges we face.

The light turned green, and off I went. Just a few minutes later, I stopped again as another light turned red. Countless vehicles waited in line. The image of particulate and nitrogen oxide values climbing higher and higher kept appearing in my mind. We should have developed a new mindset and a particular innovative spirit long ago. “Innovative spirit” – what exactly does that mean? One glance at my smartphone, and Google knows what I’m looking for. The online definition is just a tap away: It’s the human faculty for creating something new or solving [practical] problems innovatively. That’s precisely what we need – forward-thinking ideas, and the courage to venture down unknown and sometimes rocky roads. Roads that open up new, unforeseen perspectives. In a world driven by superlatives like “higher”, “faster”, and “further”, we’re fond of speaking of major revolutions that lie ahead.

Looking back on history, however, humankind has consistently taken small steps to adapt its environment in line with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Only those who have embraced change with open arms have survived. Fundamental transformations don’t take place overnight, but in a long, drawn-out process. So if you try to withstand the latest developments and the progress they bring, you won’t evolve. This applies to people, companies, and society. But what approaches make the difference? For those looking to succeed, the pressure is considerable.

Factors such as climate change and scarcity of global resources – especially energy and water – are increasingly forcing us to take action. Virtually every sector is exploring intelligent ways to integrate and use new technologies.

Although it plays a key role, the electronics industry is not the only field constantly reinventing itself as a result. With mobility a defining subject of our time, the automotive industry is also facing greater demands than ever. This expression of freedom comes with the obligation to take responsibility for future generations.

Vehicle manufacturers around the world are already diligently fine-tuning prototypes with intelligent drive systems and minimal emissions, including models that run on electricity. Engines with no CO2 emissions or other forms of pollution are no longer a dream – some of these modern developments are already a reality. While electrical drive systems have yet to see widespread use in our vehicles, this too is only a matter of time – and the clock is ticking.

Engineers are already working tirelessly to find solutions to pressing future issues. The world’s oil and gas resources are finite, and our energy consumption needs to be reduced. We also have to reduce the environmentally lethal emissions we produce – because our world can’t tolerate endless levels of pollution. This is why we need innovations and innovative spirit to advance our current and future society.

So what point am I making? I believe that by organizing exhibitions, conventions, and seminars focused on technology, we, as an event organizer, can help to advance society. Our events offer an ideal platform for presenting latest trends and developments and ensuring the transfer of cutting-edge knowledge and information among exhibitors and attendees. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to two of our events in Nuremberg this year: SMT Hybrid Packaging in April, and PCIM Europe in May.

I’ll also be attending these exhibitions and I’m already excited about the innovative and inspirational product developments that will be unveiled. Many of them could go on to shape the future. I look forward to seeing you in Nuremberg! 

Source: Bodo's Power Systems, March 2016