"Business Development acts as the bridge to the market," says Anna. "We connect science and industry." Since summer 2020, she has been leading the Business Development group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS, and has found liaising and building connections to be an attractive part of the job. Using different communication styles depending on whether she’s dealing with researchers or industry partners, Anna must work to bring these two sides of the conversation onto the same level. "We want to work together with industry to find ideas and solutions. Given the growing need for safe, reliable AI applications and flexible software architecture, we need to listen carefully and ask questions so that we can understand the challenges facing our industry partners and make sure we offer the right services to address them."
In search of meaning
Translating between worlds is something that suits her. In her previous role as program manager of a startup accelerator, she helped startups link up with investors and corporate partners, supported them with joint pilot projects and helped them find common ground when communicating. Although it was exciting, she noticed that a deeper sense of meaning in her work was missing somehow. In stepping into this position in Business Development at Fraunhofer IKS, she found what she was looking for: a place in the world of applied research, something she finds both meaningful and fulfilling.
Freedom of choice
The Business Development group was restructured from the ground up in summer 2020. "It was a challenge, but a welcome one! We are finding our team identity and defining processes and strategies — we have the potential to achieve a lot!" As a young, agile institute, Fraunhofer IKS offers plenty of freedom for employees to make their own decisions. "There are high expectations, but we are also empowered in many ways." And she can always call on the gigantic Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft network — she finds exchanging ideas through this treasure trove of knowledge, as she calls it, to be a real pleasure. She also gets additional support from the IKS Academy in the form of a wide variety of further training opportunities.
Her key task: communication!
The primary task for Anna’s group is to put puzzle pieces together. What research are their colleagues working on? How does this fit in with market needs? What specific services can the institute offer? What other topics and trends are coming down the pipeline? "Our work in Business Development is very versatile — from acquisitions to networking, right through to feeding the results of our assessment back to the institute and shaping its research portfolio. However, our key task is very simple — communication!"
What does she like most about her job? "The contact with people, the topical relevance of the fields we work in and the dialog with scientists. With my scientific family background and my enthusiasm for ‘translating’ between worlds, I’m a perfect fit here!"
Meet our employees
Would you like to learn more about your colleagues at Fraunhofer IKS? Then take a look at the other portraits: To the employee portraits.