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#11 What is innovation? A new way to think about it – Rolf Schumann

Rolf is SVP and Global General Manager of Platform and Innovation at SAP, he is known as a leading technology and innovation entrepreneur through his work of leading one of Europe’s most innovative clean-tech electric mobility ventures and as a trusted mentor/consultant for companies of all sizes around the world. Rolf is passionate about digital transformation, innovation, entrepreneurship, and e-mobility and is a coveted thought leader on these topics. He has represented SAP in various industry events as a speaker and in technology and business journals around the globe.


  • The interviewee shares experience in working for a big company (0:00)
  • Talks about innovation, process, and content (1:33)
  • Discusses balancing process and content in large companies (3:42)
  • Mentions a successful expansion to North America (16:46)
  • Emphasizes the importance of great product and technology (18:56)
  • Advocates for partnering with startups rather than copying them (20:34)
  • Stresses the significance of leadership and authenticity (26:31)
  • Shares his approach to learning and investing in knowledge (4:02)
  • Reveals favorite books and advice for success (6:13)
  • Talks about personal life and staying sane in the corporate world (7:44)
  • Suggests pursuing projects that align with one’s passion (13:07)
  • Encourages embracing technology for a better future (14:24)
  • Discusses machine learning as a solution for prosperity (15:20)

Interesting Quotes:

Innovation is the change of behavior from people or machines which results in improvement

Innovation makes a Difference and drive change

processes vs content

scale vs agility

In the long run content survives

In big companies the challenge is to bring processes closer to content

Be earlier an entrepreneur

There are no shortcuts in success

The content dictates you the right direction, you don’t need outside advice

There is no speed limit on the extra mile

To become a great leader:

ignore advice

Attract great people by content

Love to lead other people they should become your fans

Be aware people who are strong in content are hard to lead

Deal with the politics for your great people


Book Recommendations:

The Day After Tomorrow: How to Survive in Times of Radical Innovation – Peter Hinssen
Challenge Management: What managers can learn from the top athlete – Wladimir Klitschko
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – Michael Wolff
Schattenjahre: Die Rückkehr des politischen Liberalismus Gebundene Ausgabe – Christian Lindner
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography – Walter Isaacson
Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography – Walter Isaacson