Deep Tech Talk with Lucas Schellenberg

Lucas Schellenberg, H.I.E.C Global Managing Partner

In your experience, how has the rise of Deep Tech and Industry 4.0 affected the demand for leadership and talent in various industries?

The surge of Deep Tech and Industry 4.0 has turbocharged demand for leadership and talent. Beyond tech prowess, organizations crave visionaries who can wield these innovations strategically and fuel digital transformation. In sum, it’s reshaped the talent landscape, valuing those who innovate in a dynamic tech world.

Deep Tech fields like AI, IoT, and blockchain are rapidly evolving. How do you identify leaders who can not only keep up with these changes but also drive innovation within organizations?

Identifying leaders who thrive in evolving Deep Tech fields like AI, IoT, and blockchain, fostering innovation within organizations, requires a blend of tech passion, continuous learning, and conceptual understanding. They bridge technical expertise with strategic vision to navigate the dynamic landscape.

In addition to this, effective leaders in Deep Tech fields understand that innovation is not solely driven by technology but also by people and processes. They excel in creating an environment that encourages experimentation and calculated risk-taking. This fosters a culture of innovation where employees feel empowered to explore new ideas and approaches.
Furthermore, these leaders are skilled in building cross-functional teams that bring together diverse talents and perspectives. They understand that innovation often arises at the intersection of different domains and encourage collaboration between departments.

Many organizations are on the hunt for Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to lead their digital transformation efforts. What qualities do you look for when recruiting executives for such critical roles?

When recruiting executives for vital roles like Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Data Officers (CDOs), we place particular emphasis on certain key attributes. Firstly, we seek individuals with a well-defined strategic vision, as they must align technology with the overarching strategic goals of the organization. These leaders are responsible for ensuring that technology drives the direction of the business, and this requires a forward-thinking approach.
Additionally, we look for candidates with a proven track record in overseeing and executing successful digital transformation initiatives. The ability to navigate the complex landscape of digital transformation is paramount in these roles, and prior experience is often a strong indicator of future success.
Moreover, a deep understanding of emerging technologies and current industry trends is a must. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, and CTOs and CDOs need to stay ahead of the curve to make informed decisions.

In today’s globalized business landscape, how important is it for leaders in Deep Tech to possess cross-cultural competency, and how do you assess this during your search process?

In today’s globalized business landscape, it is paramount for leaders in Deep Tech to possess cross-cultural competency. This means more than just having an international mindset; it underscores the importance of intercultural competence, which is a combination of respect and empathy.Assessing cross-cultural competency during the search process involves evaluating candidates’ experiences in diverse cultural settings, their ability to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries, and their track record of building and leading global teams. It also entails gauging their adaptability to different work environments and their capacity to navigate complex international relationships.
In essence, leaders in Deep Tech must be adept at transcending cultural differences, fostering inclusivity, and leveraging the strengths of diverse teams to drive innovation and success on a global scale.

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important topics in executive recruitment. How do you ensure diversity in leadership positions, especially in industries dominated by Deep Tech?

At H.I.E.C, we don’t just search for the obvious candidates, we approach things differently and are not afraid to innovate with clients on their approach to diversity and inclusion. We assemble diverse search teams from a variety of global locations for every assignment to foster creativity and offer clients a different perspective. We also arrange unconscious bias briefings for decision makers, review client evaluation practices to ensure fair assessment, and collaborate to assemble diverse internal project teams to minimize bias.

Are there specific geographic regions or industries where you’ve observed a higher demand for Deep Tech leadership, and how do you tailor your search strategies accordingly?

We operate globally and have valuable insights into major technology hubs around the world, including Berlin, Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, London, Singapore, and China. These regions are at the forefront of technological innovation, where significant advancements take place. We advise our clients to consider establishing a presence, even a small lab or outpost, in these technology centers to stay closely connected to emerging innovations.

As Deep Tech continues to exert its transformative influence on industries, the leaders we place require a specific set of skill sets and attributes to thrive in this dynamic landscape. These include:

      • Strategic Vision: A strong strategic vision is paramount. Leaders must possess the ability to foresee how Deep Tech trends will impact their industry and craft a forward-looking strategy to navigate these changes effectively.
      • Adaptability: The pace of Deep Tech evolution demands adaptability. Leaders should be adept at swiftly adjusting to new developments and incorporating them into their organization’s strategies and operations.
      • Effective Communication: Strong communication skills are essential. Leaders need to convey complex technological concepts in a clear and understandable manner, fostering alignment and buy-in throughout their teams and organizations.
      • Team Understanding and Leadership: Leaders must possess a deep understanding of their teams, recognizing the unique talents and capabilities of individuals. Effective leadership involves leveraging these strengths to drive innovation and productivity.
      • Innovation Culture: Fostering an innovation culture within the organization is critical. Leaders should encourage experimentation, risk-taking, and continuous improvement, creating an environment where groundbreaking ideas can flourish.



Please feel free to contact Lucas Schellenberg directly via email should you have any questions or would like to discuss the above or anything else further.