Success happens when luck meets preparation.
The repeated switch between science and politics is characteristic of my professional development. For me, the joy of developing and implementing new ideas is a consistent motivation.
At the University of Siegen I researched and taught in the field of entrepreneurship when this subject did not even exist at German universities. In the German Bundestag I was involved in the Retirement Income Act. Together with colleagues, I also developed a model for a liberal citizen’s income as an alternative to the unconditional basic income, which is now gaining new relevance in the context of digital change. One focus of my work as Minister of Science in North Rhine-Westphalia was the introduction of the law of the freedom of higher education, which is still regarded as groundbreaking today. My time as Dean at HHL from 2012-2017 was marked by the development and implementation of the future concept “innovate 125” with a significant increase in the number of professorships, students and study programmes, the expansion of the campus and the start of teaching in Cologne and Munich. This was also the time when the “SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator” was founded. In my new role as Minister of Economics and Digital Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia, I am currently focusing on the development of a digital strategy, the digital restructuring of public administration, the expansion of the digital infrastructure, the promotion of the start-up and innovation culture and the unleashing of the economy from unnecessary and too complicated regulations.
In recent years, my research has focused on the areas of risk management in venture capital companies, the involvement of employees in the innovation process of companies and the design of national and regional innovation systems. My current research emphasis is on the development of innovation management in times of digital change.
Due to my leave of absence to take up my ministerial post, I am currently not active in teaching, but limit myself to scientific lectures and the supervision of ongoing doctoral and research projects.