Siemens is one of the biggest companies in the world so it’s little surprise that it would dominate the Hannover Fair on its home turf. Besides a booth the size of some entire trade shows, Siemens head of corporate technology Hermann Requardt layed out the companies broad strategy based on two mega trends – demographic change and population migration into the cities, also known as urbanization.
You don’t hear about mega-trends from American companies (many talk about demographics, of course) and one wonders if the ones from Siemens were created to fit its pre-existing businesses. All the same, they sound good and its works, but upon questioning, he tempered his remarks a bit.
“Things can be done in an intelligent way. These are guidelines, not dogma.”
But the two mega-trends do fit several of Siemens’ six strategic businesses. The graying of the European and American populations drive its healthcare business, for instance. Its water systems business flourishes because 1.1 billion people have no ready access to fresh water and half the world’s population lacks access to drainage. Mobility systems like rail play to urbanization. One horrifying statistic Siemens bandies about is that American spends 3.5 billion hours in traffic jams annually. Count yours truly as one of those unfortunate Americans.
Of course, Requardt is a futurist with a doctorate in physics and a career spent mostly with Siemens imaging systems. So you’d expect to hear about mega-trends from him. We’d get a much more Americanized story from Siemens’ CFO.
One would like to think Siemens is focused on world problems and within a business context, it is. Indeed, it is a very human organization in all respects as the giant engineering company has been rocked by recent bribery scandals.Still, though, the mega-trends make sense and show that the company is in tune with what’s going on the world. And there are plenty of American companies which aren’t.