There has been life on Earth for around 3.5 billion years. The first microscopic single-celled organisms resided in the world’s oceans and gradually developed into complex, multicellular organisms, from dinosaurs in the beginning to mammals as we know them today. This was a result of evolution, which is driven by natural selection: only living things that successfully adapt to their environment will survive. They will pass on their admirable characteristics to the next generation and continue developing, either on an ongoing basis or in leaps and bounds. The process of evolution can also be applied to the way we do business. Companies have to adapt to their environment and to megatrends, and keep developing in order to survive. Technological advances are being made all the time, which means researchers must work twice as hard.
But what makes a great researcher? Perhaps it’s their innate desire to achieve great things? Their conviction to think ahead? The freedom to make decisions for oneself and for an entire company? The constant need to push the limits – while at the same time developing their skills. Or is it more about creating something wonderful for others? While this question isn’t so easy to answer, what we do know is that Michael embodies all of these characteristics! This passionate researcher has a PhD in physics and there’s nothing he loves more than being faced with new problems to solve. He starts by understanding them, and then comes up with an idea. A great idea. An idea that’s so incredible it creates added value for both himself, the company and society as a whole. The more challenging the task, the better!
A job that’s more of a calling
These days, he focuses on quantum technology, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing. “It’s a real privilege to integrate our research into products that help mankind. To help shape the way people live and work,” says Michael. So what is it that motivates him? Translating the latest findings into advanced technologies and thus helping shape markets; redefining the status quo and sharing his knowledge. Michael is an Innovation Manager and a Fellow, the highest rung on the Expert Ladder. He works at Corporate Research and Development at ZEISS and, as such, is involved in many projects. He loves to learn new things, delve into the unknown, identify and evaluate new technologies, look into new trends and weigh up the benefits for ZEISS. Michael enhances products and identifies interesting areas that call for new ones to be developed. He doesn’t just conduct research for ZEISS, he’s also developed a real passion for the company. “I celebrate ZEISS’ success and suffer with the company in the event of a setback.” While there’s no guarantee that his ideas will take off, he always does his very best to be more efficient, more creative and better than the competitors: “This is what keeps my work interesting.”
This is a goal that Michael has been pursuing all his life. And he’s just as open-minded outside of the office. “My work really motivates me. I simply want to understand the impact that technological advances are having on our lives – and, of course, help shape it.” Artificial intelligence, driverless cars, changes in factories, Smart Production. He reads newspapers and academic papers, attends conferences, and speaks to partners, customers and suppliers. He processes and structures all the new knowledge he acquires. And he does this by using a pen and paper. And then there’s his team – after all, two or more heads are always better than one!
“All every researcher really needs is a good head on their shoulders, as well as a pen, some paper and a few smart colleagues”, smiles Michael. At the end of the day, an idea will only be as good as its implementation. Michael and his colleagues make a valuable contribution every single day to make the future that little bit better. After all, those who can find solutions to tomorrow’s challenges have a very bright future indeed.