James Loudon produces regular virtual exchanges with Propeller & Co's strategic partners. These virtual roundtable discussions bring together business leaders from global industrial companies and domain experts to discuss a range of corporate topics, including digital and sustainability transformation, innovation, leadership, and geo-strategic issues.

Propeller & Co co-hosts the "invite-only" Asia Growth Exchange, a digital business community for corporate executives and selected domain experts. Through this platform, we aim to build a trusted strategy sounding board and bridge between the Asia and Europe regions, facilitating exchanges on innovation, leadership, talent, and market expansion strategies for international companies.

Digital Think (& Do): Enterprise Metaverse

Thursday, 12 January, 2023 (08:30am-10:00am CET | 3:30pm - 5:00pm GMT+8)

Hosts: Erik Walenza, Dr. Markus Anding, James Loudon

Speaker: Eric Liu, Founder and CTO, Virspatial Technologies

The metaverse has received widespread hype and coverage. However, the impact of the metaverse could be as significant in the enterprise as in the consumer space.

We will discuss the readiness of the tech stack and the challenges that get in the way of making the enterprise metaverse applicable in reality. The enterprise metaverse is a digital environment replicating and connecting every aspect of a company.

Through the use of digital twins of business processes, the enterprise metaverse could improve decision-making, enhance remote collaboration, provide new ways for companies to engage with customers, and enable more innovative product development.

Building Effective Teams and Ecosystems

Tuesday, 15 November, 2022 (08:30am-10:00am CET | 3:30pm - 5:00pm GMT+8)

Hosts: Erik Walenza, Michael Maeder, James Loudon

Speaker: Mark Greeven, Professor of Innovation and Strategy, IMD and Director of the Building Business Ecosystems program.

For many MNCs with HQs outside of Asia, the region is the centerpiece in their growth strategy, not just for sales potential but equally important as a way to stay on top of leading-edge innovation trends, evolving industry norms, and sustainability trajectories.

Yet conventional efforts that have fueled local innovation efforts for decades won't cut it in an era where innovation ecosystem-led businesses offer a paradigmatic shift in sourcing new growth drivers. Leaders of successful ecosystem businesses balance resolve and resilience while simultaneously embracing uncertainty by working with people outside the company walls to co-create new value.

Digital Innovation Think (& Do): Digital Portfolio Management

Wednesday, 21 September, 2022 (09:00am-11:00am CET | 3:00pm - 5:00pm GMT+8)

Hosts: Erik Walenza, Dr. Markus Anding, James Loudon

Speaker: Fernando Bonifaz, Head of Digital Incubation and Regional Business Digitalization, APAC, BASF

In the coming years, enterprise digitalization will continue to mature and spending is expected to reach $10 trillion from 2021-2025, according to IDC. As digital budgets increase and economic conditions present challenges, it is important for business leaders to carefully consider the value of their digital portfolios while also managing budget constraints. To do so, they must address the following questions:

  • What are some effective strategies for objectively assessing the value being created through digital initiatives within an organization?
  • How can an organization determine the appropriate balance between localization and standardization, and exploration and consolidation in their portfolio?
  • Who is responsible for setting portfolio objectives within an organization, and how can conflicting priorities between C-suite roles be effectively addressed and resolved?
  • How can an organization effectively manage resource allocation and decision-making processes for both traditional IT portfolios and new digital solution portfolios, particularly when there is overlap in functionality?

Executive Exchange: Aligning HQ and China on innovation

Thursday, 16 June, 2022 (09:30am-11:00am CET | 3:30pm - 5:00pm GMT+8)

Hosts/Moderators: Erik Walenza, James Loudon

Over the past two decades, many European corporations have established a presence in China due to the significant manufacturing and market growth opportunities it presents. However, in recent years, a number of dynamics have changed the strategic landscape for these companies.

Geopolitical tensions and policy shifts have called into question the long-held belief in "China exceptionalism" within corporate boardrooms. At the same time, increased local competition has made it necessary to localize products and digital infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions have also disrupted the usual in-person alignment meetings between headquarters and China, leading to an exodus of expat management from the country.

In 2022, these challenges have been exacerbated by the strict measures put in place to combat COVID-19 in China, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and disruptions to global supply chains. As a result, the case for investing in China has become more difficult to justify. However, the International Monetary Fund predicts that China will contribute 31% of global GDP growth through 2025, compared to just 7% for the EU and 8% for the US.

Given these circumstances, European corporations must decide whether to adopt a low-risk, investment-light approach or pursue a more aggressive expansion strategy that maximizes potential growth. In either case, they must plan for resilience in their global supply chains, while also managing their legacy businesses, local IP, and relationship assets. Digital innovation will be key in adapting their operating models in China to minimize dependence on global operations.

Multinational corporations face a conundrum when it comes to aligning their global and China digitalization and innovation strategies. While there is a wealth of talent and strategic intent within China's industrial policies, multinationals struggle to leverage their global capabilities within China's distinct digital ecosystems. In addition, the cost of doing business in China is increasing as digital assets must be localized to comply with data management regulations and customer expectations are high in the competitive markets.

In deciding whether to maintain or expand their presence in the Chinese market, multinational corporations must carefully consider the potential long-term benefits of investing in competitiveness against the desire for short-term gains. China's scale and status as an economic superpower will undoubtedly be a factor in these decisions, but ultimately, companies must weigh the costs and benefits of their choices in light of their own strategic goals and financial capabilities.