MSC Innovation Night

The MSC Innovation Night is the flagship event on the eve of the start of the Munich Security Conference, which is organized jointly by the organizer of the MSC and the Cyber ​​Innovation Hub of the Bundeswehr. It is an excellent and exclusive forum to pitch your innovation project. The MSC Innovation Series brings together top-class political decision makers with top-class actors from politics, science, the digital economy and civil society.

Recap MSC Innovation Night 2024

Innovation is not optional, innovation is essential if the western allies want to succeed. At our MSC Innovation Night, top-class guests discussed how this could be archived given the global political situation under the motto "Making more out of Stronger Together." Tenor of the evening: strategic partnerships are the key to success. They can provide cooperation between the private sector, the startup ecosystem and the military community while contributing to meet the current security policy challenges. In addition, because time is short, innovations have to be implemented quickly to enable NATO troops to fight and archive their mission.

In his keynote, Sven Weizenegger, CEO of Cyber Innovation Hub of the Bundeswehr, showed how this could look like: by building a strong startup ecosystem and using dual-use products. However, although speed is very important when it comes to equipping German and allied soldiers, long-term financing of products must always be taken into account, in order not to end up in the “valley of death”.

Inspector General Carsten Breuer discussed how the Bundeswehr wants to make itself war ready and how partnerships can be used as effectively as possible on the panel with General Philippe Lavigne, the Commander-in-Chief of the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT). Breuer: “We have to become ready for war. But we can't take 10 or 20 years of development." The German Armed Forces are already closing the transformation gap, said the Inspector General – reality is forcing Germany to do so. For example, this can be shown in the fact that the Bundeswehr is purchasing significantly more off-the-shelf products.

 

The guests at the MSC Innovation Night were able to see tangible examples of a strong innovation ecosystem afterwards. First with a video message from the Ukrainian Minister for Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov. Minister Fedorov first explained how Ukraine managed to implement highly innovative solutions for the armed forces in a very short time and build a powerful drone army through non-bureaucratic procurement and financing of startups.

The Innovation Night was topped off with three tangible examples from the Bundeswehr's Cyber Innovation Hub, which illustrate how the war in Ukraine accelerated the German armed forces' ability to transform. This has shown how fruitful collaboration with innovative startups can be in order to make soldiers ready for war.

Review: MSC Innovation Night 2024

Our speakers

  • General Carsten Breuer

    General Breuer has been Inspector General of the Bundeswehr since March 2023. As the highest-ranking soldier, he is responsible for the overall concept for military defense, the leadership of the troops and the Bundeswehr's operations and missions. Since Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, General Breuer has been responsible for aligning the Bundeswehr with national and alliance defense and preparing it for the challenges of the 21st century. In short: He is responsible for the military implementation of the „Zeitenwende“  (political turning point scince the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2022). 

  • Mykhailo Fedorov

    As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov is one of the key players in the war against Russia alongside President Zelensky. From a hacking army, to the use of AI, UAVs and VR innovations, to the famous e-government app Diia – no country can currently keep up with the pace of innovation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Under the most difficult conditions, innovators design digital, creative and innovative solutions, which are immediately deployed to the front lines.

  • General Philippe Lavigne

    As Commander-in-Chief of the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), General Philippe Lavigne is responsible for NATO's digital transformation and therefore works in one of the key positions in the areas of digitalization and innovation. General Lavigne was a guest at the MSC Innovation Night for the first time last year. At the time, he emphasized on the panel that innovation is not just technology, but also a new way of thinking. For that, our armed forces must internalize a real innovation mindset.

  • David van Weel

    David van Weel is NATO Deputy Secretary General for Innovation, Hybrid Threats and Cyberspace. This makes him the most important advisor to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on issues related to new technological challenges. Its mission is to develop and provide solutions to current and future military challenges to the Alliance. This is to ensure the alliance's innovation and technological lead in the long term.

  • Christoph Heusgen

    Christoph Heusgen has been chairperson of the Munich Security Conference since 2022. The top diplomat was previously Germany's permanent representative to the United Nations and during this time, among other things, chaired the UN Security Council in April 2019 and July 2020. Heusgen is a close consultant of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and advised the Chancellor on foreign and security policy issues for over 12 years.

  • Jeanne Meserve

    Jeanne Meserve is an international security analyst. The award-winning Canadian journalist will host this year's MSC Innovation Night. She has been an anchor and correspondent for CNN and ABC News and won two Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards for coverage of Hurricane Katrina, among others, and anchored CNN's award-winning coverage of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the death of Princess Diana.

Retrospect: MSC Innovation Night 2023

The intersection between technological innovation and security has never been more dynamic. New challenges, but also opportunities, are constantly emerging, on both real and more abstract frontlines. At the MSC Innovation Night 2023, top-class guests debated the topic of “Technology Defined Defense”. Rich Lesser in particular emphasized in his keynote address that the “Defense Innovation Readiness Gab” should be close quickly in order to be able to react agilely to possible threats. You can find his remarks as well as all speeches and start-up pitches from the MSC Innovation Night 2023 in our video retrospect. 

Last year's speaker