CES 2020 ‘Women In Tech Power Break’: Taking our ‘10 recommendations to make disruption work in the next decade’ global

CES 2020 ‘Women In Tech Power Break’: Taking our ‘10 recommendations to make disruption work in the next decade’ global
SparkOptimus Team
Written by
Vivian Schobben
The SparkOptimus Blog Team
January 8, 2020

The day after our CES 2020 ‘Disruption Dinner’ (read more here), we continued the discussion on our ‘10 recommendations to make disruption work in the next decade’ during the second edition of our ‘Women In Tech Power Break’. Following the overwhelmingly positive response received from the pilot during CES Unveiled Amsterdam, our managing partner Alexandra Jankovich had once again been given the platform to moderate an energetic and insightful discussion, bringing together the smart minds of women (and some men).

Five truly inspiring panelists shared their thoughts on what bold steps can be taken now to make disruption work in the next decade, to improve the lives of people and their surroundings:

  • Corinne Vigreux (Co-founder TomTom, founder CODAM coding college): “We need to train a more diverse and inclusive workforce. As private sector, we see what is needed and we have a responsibility to take action. That is why I started CODAM Coding College in Amsterdam to provide accessible and innovative education and to help build the workforce of tomorrow.
  • Kat Borlongan (Director La French Tech, French Ministry of Economy and Finance): “As the French government, we want to lead by example. We take a portfolio approach to our startup ecosystem by pre-selected 120 fast growing companies and supporting them in scaling. Our open invitation for international talent to come to France to join, launch or invest in a French startup is unique in the world.”
  • Sandy Carter (Vice President Amazon Web Services): “Ask more questions! Research shows that innovators ask a hundred questions per day as opposed to most of us who ask seven. If we only double that amount, we become more innovative as a society. Learn and be curious – one of Amazon’s principles – is essential for continuous learning.”
  • Bridget Karlin (Chief Technology Officer IBM): “50% of Fortune 500 companies will vanish in the next decade. If you don’t become a disruptor yourself, you are out. An open innovation ecosystem is the new paradigm.”
  • Charlotte Kjellander (Research Manager Holst Centre/TNO): “The purpose of our smart wearables is to improve people’s lives. An example is our relax shirt, which reminds workers to take breaks regularly to prevent burnout. We also develop well-designed human-centric healthcare concepts.

Based on questions from the female entrepreneurs in the audience, the panel stated that female-founded companies are 15% more profitable, while they receive 40% less funding than male-founded companies. They shared advice on how to improve this, starting with the basics of being a good entrepreneur (e.g. find a paying customer, differentiate, build a good team). Female entrepreneurs in particular need to learn to reverse the negative questions they are often asked by investors into positive answers.

Read or download our booklet ‘10 recommendations to make disruption work’ here. If you want to stay up-to-date events like these in the future, you can follow us here.

CES 2020 is the world’s largest tech show with 175,000 industry professionals, from over 160 countries. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years. The Netherlands was at CES with 70 exhibitors varying from young startups to corporates like Philips, TomTom and NXP.

The pilot of the CTA initiative ‘Women In Tech Power Break’ took place during CES Unveiled Amsterdam last October. There, SparkOptimus mobilized 100+ influential women in business & government to make disruption work. This culminated in the handing over of a manifesto to State Secretary Mona Keijzer, CEO CES Karen Chupka and Achmea board member Lidwien Suur. Read our blog or watch the aftermovie here.