fortiss scientist Norman Schaffer

Scientists in focus

Norman watches over the consistent design of cloud-based, digital ecosystem platforms.

Can you provide some insights into your work at fortiss?

I'm a research associate in the Requirements Engineering competence field. I'm primarily involved with innovative business models that help companies manage the digital transformation.

I work mainly on the BayernCloud project, where I handle issues that help illustrate how small-to-medium enterprises can profit from digital platform ecosystems. I focus especially on how these companies can participate in digital ecosystems without barriers to entry, utilize new technologies in a simple manner and thus be able to implement innovative business models. Apart from the technical aspects, what's most important is clarifying the legal issues. I also work with the Technical University Munich under the framework of the international SUGAR Network to oversee a 10-month project using the design thinking approach. Together with students we address concrete issues from partner companies with the aim of realizing user-centric innovations.

What is your research focus?

My focus lies in the area of innovative business models. As part of my dissertation I'm examining the inherent dynamics in business models and developing a software tool designed to help companies to better understand their own business model and to stimulate strategic scenarios. I can apply the results to other projects at fortiss.

"The colleagues at fortiss are very open and helpful."

 fortiss scientist Norman Schaffer

How did you become aware of fortiss?

After completing my master's in industrial engineering management at RWTH Aachen, I started looking for a job and discovered the ad from fortiss. I was excited about the innovative business models topics that were mentioned in the job description, which also lined up with my doctorate interests. The close proximity to the Technical University Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians University was the decisive factor in my decision to apply.

What special success have you achieved over the past several months?

The results of one of my research projects will be transferred to a project partner, who will then create and operate a marketable solution designed to deliver concrete added value to small-and-medium sized companies over the long-term.

„From a research standpoint, I want to use digital innovations to help small-to-medium sized companies and provide them methods so that they can develop innovations on their own. “

What are your colleagues like?

The colleagues are very open and helpful. We all work well together and we also have the opportunity to share project-wide ideas within the institute. Working on research activities with experienced colleagues helps you develop methods-based skills.

What is your vision? What do you want to achieve?

My biggest personal goal is my dissertation. I have frequent and intense interaction with companies through my projects and that really supports my doctoral project.

From a research standpoint, I want to use digital innovations to help small-to-medium sized companies and provide them methods so that they can develop innovations on their own. This sector is the backbone of the German economy. These companies are flexible and adaptable. They're often independent and they have a relationship to the local region or community. These characteristics offer a lot of potential over the course of the digital transformation.

What advice can you give fortiss applicants?

Clearly define your own interests and specify what topic really motivates you. In my competence field – Requirements Engineering – negotiation skills and customer orientation are also important characteristics for developing solutions with companies.