ACCESS GRANTED – Tomorrow’s Business Ethics

“ACCESS GRANTED – Tomorrow’s Business Ethics” is science fiction in its literally sense. The book analyzes actual and future technological developments to discuss how these will affect tomorrow’s business reality and its impact on the human.

It is clear that robotization and the implementation of Artificial Intelligence will change companies and societies. This does not mean automatically a shift for the better or worse, but life will be different, and it is in our hands to use technology for the first.

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Artificial Intelligence, robots, 3D printing, micro-learnings, virtual reality, self-driving cars and all other autonomous software and machines will be a part of tomorrow’s business. We have to start thinking about the consequences. A chance and challenge for management, where the Ethics&Compliance-department can position itself as a key-player and include AI inside its responsibilities.

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Alfa Romeo Darracq – The Raise of Electric Cars

A 4.6 meter long executive sedan, designed by Pininfarina and powered by an electric drive should be a worthy competitor for Tesla. But we are not talking about the “next big thing” from a known automobile manufacturer, but a “fan made”-project, an electric Alfa Romeo 164. An “Alfisti” converted this 1991 model from gas- to electric-drive.[1] With this, tt is the first Alfa Romeo e-car. But despite that the company’s roots include electric vehicles. Before Alexandre Darracq founded with this Italian partner Ugo Stella “A.L.F.A.” (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili”) in 1909, he already manufactured automobiles in his homeland France.[2] This included also the investment into electric cars, as for a short moment in time early pioneers thought that the electric engine would be the first mainstream solution. In 1895 inventor and GE co-founder Thomas Edison presented his first electric car proudly to press and public. Earlier, already in 1882 the Siemens und Halske company tested their electric model on a test track. In this case still not with on-board batteries, but using an overhead power line.[3]

But the development went for a long time into another direction. Nevertheless Dieter Zetsche, Chairman at the Daimler Benz Board of Directors, mentioned at his visit of the 2017 “South by Southwest” (SXSW), since 30 years the leading conference for internet and pop culture that Tesla achieved to make electric cars sexy. Today consumers not only would consider buying an e-car because of its potentially positive impact on the environment, but because they are cool, fast and fun to drive. Of course he mentioned Daimler’s relation to Tesla, as the company supported them in their early years, also to financially stabilize them. Today the electric pioneer is a competitor, but also an inspiration. BMW already has two electric lifestyle products on the market, Daimler will follow until 2020.[4]

Back to Alfa Romeo. In 1976 the company presented together with the designer Bertone the concept-car “Navajo”. As a product of its time, it had been styled in actual futuristic lines. The minimalistic clear lines from earlier show-cars had been replaced by an opulent futuristic approach, including wings and plastic parts. What stayed had been the wedge. The silver color together with red line obviously reminded to science fiction movies. To foster this effect, Bertone even updated the Alfa Romeo logo and font set. The car still featured a known V8-engine, even if based on the design, you would expect a quit electric motor.

Today inside the Fiat Chrysler Company, Jeep and Alfa Romeo are positioned as the company’s world brands, combining life-style, design and performance. Alfa Romeo is inside a re-launch, especially on the attractive US-market. New models as the Giulia and Stelvio are promising symbols for a bright future. We see that the brand is still strong in the automobile sector, convincing with Italian life-style and design. The available fuel engine complete this positive picture. But the market is changing, not only in the US, but also Europe and China. A powerful electric drive would fit and boost Alfa Romeo with an additional “coolness” factor. So there is no question if the company will offer cars with electric or any other type of alternative drives, only when. A possible name to combine new technologies with the company’s rich history is also available: “Alfa Romeo Darracq”.

Sources:

[1] Berman, Bradley (2013): “Classic 1991 Alfa Romeo 164, Converted to Electric”

Henz, Patrick (2017): “Access Granted – Tomorrow’s Business Ethics”

[2] Henz, Patrick (2017): “Italian Car Tales”

[3] Arbuckle, Alex (fetched 18.3.2017): “1880 – 1920 The first electric cars”

[4] DRadio Eine Stunde Wissen – Was mit Medien (2017): “Smartphone – Das Über-Gerät“

Alexandre Darracq – A Modern-Day Startup Pioneer

The French engineer Alexandre Darracq was born 1855 in Bordeaux, but his biography looks like from a modern-day startup pioneer. He started his career at Hurtu and the design of  sewing machines, where he received for one of his machines the gold medal at the 1899 World Fair, hosted in Paris. The exposition’s most famous building became since that year the symbol of the city and the whole country: the Eiffel Tower.

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Paris, photo copyright by Patrick Henz.

Hurtu not only produced sewing machines but also bicycles. Based on the gained experience, Darracq left the organization and established in 1891 the “Gladiator Cycle Company” to produce bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles. Already five years later he sold his participation with profit to a British group. The gained capital he invested into the new electric car industry, before he founded ”Automobiles Darracq” to focus again on cars with traditional fuel-engines. In opposite to many other pioneers, he was not emotional attached to his products, but read the signs of the times and understood the need for these machines. His company was on the raise and by 1904 it had a market share of 10% in France. In the same year he sold the French company to the British “A. Darracq and Company Limited”, where he kept 50% of the shares and a director position. The move was done to take advantage of the more investor-friendly laws and taxes in the United Kingdom. This new holding started to invest in Germany into the later Opel company and in Italy founded 1906  the “Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq”. As with Adam Opel in Germany, Darracq started also the Italian company with a local partner, Ugo Stella.

As the offered engines had not been strong enough for the local taste, in opposite to France, the Darracq models had only limited success in Italy.Due to this, in 1909 the company hired the Italian automobile engineer Giuseppe Merosi to develop cars specifically for the Italian market. For these new automobiles Darracq founded, together with his partner Stella, A.L.F.A. (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili”) and already one year later they presented the company’s first product, the ALFA 24HP, an elegant sedan with a 4.1L-four cylinder engine.

Source:

Henz, Parick (2017): “Italian Car Tales”

 

 

1997 Alfa Romeo 155 ti, applied Prisma filter "Tears"

Italian Car Tales

Italian cars often offer a bit more fun than their competitors and this independent from the vehicle’s price class. This book presents some of the industry’s pioneers, as Enrico Bernardi, Alexandre Darracq, Nicola Romeo, Enzo Ferrari and many more. Without them cars would be different today, as one step let to another and their creations inspired automobile companies worldwide.

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Different chapters are not only about these individuals and their cars, but also the cultural background, which supported the development.

Some of the tales are directly related to particular automobiles as the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale or the Ferrari GTO.

A book about entrepreneurs, sportsmen and adventurers!

Italian Car Takes by Patrick Henz (2017), 1. edition, 86 pages

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Compliance Risk Assessment: “We can’t shut our eyes if bad things happen!”

An effective Compliance program not only includes a regular risk assessment, furthermore it is based on such. Only if the facts are known, including probability and potential impact, it can be decided how the relating Compliance program should be structured.

This sounds like logic and mathematics, but as everything what includes the human factor, this is not completely true. If an event with low probability happened to you, in the following you will overestimate its probability. The same the other way around, an individual who took risky decisions and achieved positive outcomes, will overestimate his or her ability to control the situation, also known as “illusion of control“.

This effect goes even further, persons who are not ready to take required actions are likely to deny obvious facts or avoid receiving such information. Common examples are the avoiding to step on scale, if you have the perception of over-weight, but not the psychological strength to start a diet.

Or you avoid to learn about the risk and impact of earthquakes, if you are living in a endangered area. Even if you know how to react in a smaller catastrophe, you feel helpless in the case of a strong earthquake. The human mind tries to avoid to accept facts, if on the other hand there is no realistic opportunity to avoid or even reduce the risk.

Driving in Formula One means taking on risks. Even if the sport became safer as, for example, in the 1970’s, its still dangerous and drivers could pay the ultimate price for their passion. A part of the risk could be reduced by intelligent driving and making the tracks safer, so even if the risk stays high, it is important to execute the risk assessment, or as Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said: “We can’t shut your eyes.

This makes it clear that the role of the Compliance Officer is not only to be the organizer of the risk assessment, but guide the participating managers and other key-employees through the questions and risk-factors. If managers seem to over- or underestimate risk-factors, the CO, based on his or her experience, has the obligation to open their eyes to reality.

Source:

Gamification of Corporate Training

Generation X is practically the first one, who could had been grown up with video games and home computers; even if not from early age on. The following Generation Y includes digital natives, as the usage of computers had been widespread right from the time of their birth. This includes that in their teenager years social networks had been en vogue and the raise of You Tube began. The actual latest Generation Z is growing up in even a more virtual environment:

  • Fast and reliable internet is 24 hours and, thanks to smart phones and tablets, independent from the location available.
  •  Amazon, Apple, Netflix and YouTube make video content always available. The importance of classic tv-stations is going down.

Due to this omnipresence of content, questions and answers, the individual perceives less requirement to investigate topics and even the need to “wait for answers”.

A Microsoft study confirmed that the human brain adapts to the environment. Big parts of Generation Z used a smartphone since early age on, as stressed parents discovered that YouTube videos may calm down a toddler. Programmers created apps for this young target group to stimulate early development. A first step to get them into video games. Thanks to this early introduction to the virtual world, the brain adapted to the requirement to concentrate on a screen and its changing and animated content. As down-side of this development, the human attention span lowered to 8 seconds, comparable to a gold fish. Most young employees work multitasking, concentrating on a longer topic or a single topic may bore them. The frontiers between work- and private-live are luring.

Due to this, employees are expecting more from their job than just money; it should have a purpose based on the individual’s values, and important, it has to be challenging and so, entertaining. From the socialization with video games, young employees are used to switch from level to level, each time getting faster and more complicated. A classic final opponent has to be overcome to reach the next step on one’s career-level. The virtual world requires less physical status-symbols as a big house and car; what makes young employees more independent from a job and for themselves easier to quit a position. Instead of this, experiences are an import motivational factor, as participation in challenging projects, travels and a positive work-atmosphere. Even virtual “likes” can be perceived as a motivational factor. Work-life-balance does not only mean to spend more time in home-office, but also that the office gets more “home-like”.

Furthermore affected is corporate training. Web-based training, but also in-person workshops have to include gamification. The presenter shall not give answers, but the participants have to elaborate them their-selves through discussions and analyzing different cases. It can be compared to the first Jurassic Park movie, where the Tyrannosaurus Rex declined to eat the tied sheep, but required to hunt down its food. It may sound contradictory to compare Millennials or Generation Z with dinosaurs, but in opposite to the general opinion, dinosaurs had been a very successful species, who ruled the world for around 170 million years. Online training can follow the technical possibilities of actual video games. Why not let the employee create an avatar and present the learning topic in a 3D-environment?

Modern work has changed and administration jobs adapted and often got reduced. Many tasks have been automatized and employees work multitasking. Work reality plus the attitudes of young employees avoid often that online-trainings get done in one attempt. More often an employee starts and stops, when a new task comes in. Concepts as “micro-learning” may fit for today’s and tomorrow’ workforce. Short 5-10 minutes learning episodes, which the employee can take between different tasks, or even as break between a bigger project. With this, they can support to get the employee out of the routine and to avoid ethical blindness. Such micro-learnings not only can be used to transport information, but also to foster values, attitudes and desired behavior. It targets cognitive structures, but also triggers emotions.

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1976: Brabham Alfa Romeo BT45, Museu Storio Alfa Romeo

The Brabham Alfa Romeo BT46 & A Valid Compliance Lesson

The Museu Storico Alfa Romeo presents the company’s rich history, showing an exquisite collection of street- and race-cars. One of the exhibited models is a Brabham Alfa Romeo BT45, the car with meant the return to Formula One in 1976 after the car manufacturer abandoned the world championship in 1951. Alfa left with Juan Manuel Fangio winning the title, nevertheless 25 years later, the company had to start again from the beginning and the season brought only a 14th position for Carlos Pace, second driver Carlos Reutemann reached the 16th.

1976: Brabham Alfa Romeo BT45, Museu Storio Alfa Romeo

1976: Brabham Alfa Romeo BT45, Museu Storico Alfa Romeo

Two years later, the car’s successor, the BT46 had been more competitive and could fight about the first race positions. Nevertheless driver Niki Lauda only won one race, where the car started with a mysterious fan. A valid lesson for Compliance, which I explained at the Mexican LEC page. The Spanish article can be found here.