Sonja Moosburger is Managing Director at MediaMarktSaturn N3XT, the award winning innovation unit of Europe’s largest electronic retailer.
Hi Sonja, great to have you as our guest! MediaMarktSaturn launched its innovation unit, N3XT, in 2014. What is the primary goal of your unit and how has it evolved over the past years?
Our primary goal is to bring innovation via new technologies, methods and partnerships into the company. To achieve this, we take a very open and broad approach. As an independent unit, we are able to move with great freedom at our own pace and are always looking for the best solutions for our customers as well as the organization of MediaMarktSaturn. At the same time, our direct proximity to the company means that we know by far more about the needs than external consultants, agencies, etc. and can work in a straight forward targeted manner. A decisive factor in our daily work is our collaboration with the startup ecosphere. They not only create exciting innovations by the use of edge technologies, but also show a completely different mindset. We have adopted many skills from startups, for example the lean development of MVPs in pilot projects as early as possible. Thereby we involve everyone necessary in the project from the very beginning, including the target group at MediaMarktSaturn. The exchange, evaluation, adaptation, and final integration process is thus much faster and more efficient. At the same time, we also bring knowledge and insights about innovations and a touch of a start-up mentality to the company.
The technological progress, one of your core business drivers, sometimes also implies shifts for your own business model. For example the smartphone radically changed the way people go shopping, also for electronics. How do you try to lever your tech insights to also adopt your business model accordingly?
As an innovation unit, we continuously screen technological developments and recent inventions to understand what and how is changing and evolving. We must always be one step ahead and recognize potentials and risks at an early stage. Our proximity to start-ups is absolutely essential here. At the same time, we are constantly thinking about which solutions we need to integrate, how we could do it within the company, and what benefits we expect from this. As an independent unit we are able to think outside the box. We generate insights and know-how to brief the relevant target groups in the company and aid for strategic decisions. The recipients can be members of the board as well as individual departments. By arming them with relevant information, we make them capable of acting and at the same time we learn even more about the needs and requirements. With this way of working we deliver an important contribution to the three strategic initiatives of our corporate strategy: growth, quality and speed
You are a strong advocate for female entrepreneurship. A growing number of investors identified the low share of female founders as a sincere problem, that they are part of. What are the biggest obstacles that you still see for female founders and how could we solve them?
I completely agree with the mentioned investors! There are too few female founders, just as there are too few female top managers within corporates. Why this is the case and how it can be solved is a difficult question that doesn’t have only one answer . As I am not a founder myself, I most likely do not have the full picture of the obstacles they face, but I am convinced they face the same bias and imbalances as women within many corporates. To change the status quo, it has to be as normal for women to found a company, as it is for men. This requires that structures, mindsets and also parts of the society have to change, and we have to directly demand and promote women as well as establish modern role models. And, of course, it is necessary to reduce bias and to eliminate it from any kind of processes as much as possible.
Furthermore, I strongly believe that diverse structures promote diversity. This means that in a male-dominated environment female founders are always less likely to succeed.
The MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group is Europe’s leading retail company for consumer electronics and related service. Within the group, the innovation unit MediaMarktSaturn N3XT is responsible for testing new technologies. N3XT plays a key role in innovations such as in-store navigation, cashless payment at the shelf or the introduction of robots in retail.
About Sonja Moosburger
Sonja Moosburger is Managing Director of MediaMarktSaturn N3XT, a subsidiary of the biggest consumer electronics retailer in Europe with its strong brands MediaMarkt and Saturn. Since 2014, Sonja is testing innovative technologies such as robotics, voice and location based services with her team. She is also involved in the digitization of business models and business processes as well as the related opportunities for the MediaMarktSaturn Group.