A magazine for clients and friends of KPMG Česká republika
p. 4 p. 40 p. 46
Hydrogen vs. batteries Fintech’s newest trends and leaders hail from China Yachter Milan Koláček’s eighty-day adventure Meltingpot – Colours of Ostrava’s intellectual dimension
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© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
3 — editorial
In search of the automobile’s significance
Marwick – a magazine for clients and friends of KPMG Česká republika. Published six times a year by KPMG Czech Republic, Pobrežní 1a, Praha 8. MK CR E 22213. On-line subscriptions available at www.marwick.cz. Editor in chief: Michaela Raková Art director: Štěpán Prokop Photoeditor: Barbora Mráčková Copy-editor: Martina Ohlídalová Cover illustration: Václav Havlíček KPMG Česká republika’s offices are located in Prague, Brno, Ostrava and České Budějovice. www.kpmg.cz © 2016 KPMG Czech Republic, s. r. o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative („KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
The transition of the motoring world is primarily taking place in the philosophical realm. Carmakers increasingly have to think about how they want individual transportation to work in the relatively near future. The companies are also getting used to no longer being the trendsetters of the industry. Once again, the world is looking for clean alternative fuels that could help lower the negative impact individual car transportation has on the environment. Diesel engines in passenger cars appear on their way out and their future is difficult to predict. Also because representatives of some cities (e.g. Paris) and even of entire states (Norway, Denmark) are discussing a complete ban on diesel-engine powered cars. On the other hand, electro-mobiles, for a long time considered a suitable alternative, are not really living up to expectations. In many cases, regulative measures planned and pushed through by public institutions and activist organisations are encountering significant complications. Hence, it seems that, after having only submitted to regulations for so long, car makers are finally taking fate into their own hands. At least some of them have decided to put their bets on hydrogen, which shows promise in becoming the ideal fuel for the future. This is also reflected in this year’s results of our Global Automotive Executive Survey, which show hydrogen getting a lot of attention and electro-mobiles generating less interest than last year. But Marwick’s current issue is not just about cars. One topic that the magazine’s varied content has in common is the future. Our readers will find out what changes are in store for financial services, how a Supreme Administrative Court judge views the Czech Republic’s public administration and what can happen when its IT services don corporate garb. And, if you are still able to dream about the future, yachter Milan Koláček’s courageous sports dream is sure to captivate your attention. Jan Linhart Partner in charge of services to the automotive sector KPMG Česká republika firstname.lastname@example.org @JanLinhart_cz
Text: Pavla Francová, illustration: Barbora Tögel
4 — finance
Seven trends defining Fintech’s future Amazon changed the way we shop, Google and Facebook transformed traditional media, Uber is redesigning urban transport, Airbnb is giving hotels a run for their money and Spotify has shown us how easy it can be to get the right tunes. There aren’t any reasons that in time, these successful tech companies and others like them should not be joined by other names that will breakthrough and change the traditional financial sector. So far, no major global player has emerged, but instead, we have Fintech – one of today’s fastest growing segments.
5 — finance
Yes, the term Fintech sounds like a fashionable catchword and has appeared in the mouths of just about everybody in the financial world. Do they all just not want to be left out? Is Fintech nothing more than a fading trend and a big bubble, ready to pop? To be honest, currently, nobody in their right mind can claim with any kind of certainty to know how far Fintech will go and how much it will alter the current financial system and established institutions like traditional banks. One thing is clear, however: those who want to go with the times have to monitor this trend closely. An opportunity to do just that was offered by KPMG’s Fintech Finance Forum that took place 26 February 2017 at the Prague offices of Microsoft. For all of you who could not attend, we present a short summary of the forum’s most interesting thoughts.
The only constant is change Technological innovations in the financial sector have taken on a rapid pace. Both the forum’s techno-optimists as well as those who view modern trends in a more sober light had to agree on one thing: the world of finance is swiftly changing. “If the current finance system leaders do not want to end up like their colleagues from the media sector, they must learn how to make effective use of new technologies. Fintech is the future,“ remarked Radek Halíček, KPMG Czech Republic’s managing partner in his opening words of the conference. To explain, he reminded listeners that today, Facebook has become the world’s largest media house. René Kubů, business strategy lead for Microsoft Czech Republic, brought a similar outlook to the forum and mentioned that the only constant that we currently can rely on is change. This change is fundamentally connected with the growth of automation, digitalisation and the perfection and democratisation of artificial intelligence. What’s more, technology developments continue to accelerate. We currently accept as a given things that we could not even imagine five years ago. Considering this speed, we have to expect that thanks to modern technologies, in 10 or 15 years, the world will look significantly different than it does today. “We spend the last couple of years teaching people to understand computers. Now comes the time when we have to teach computers how to understand us,“ René Kubů commented. A change on the market Some believe that attack is the best form of defence. If we don’t want to just watch the dramatic changes taking place from the outside, we have to advance to the core of the matter and try to participate in the definition of the new trends. In her presentation, Michaela Erbenová, executive director at the International Monetary Fund, recalled a famous quote of Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. I think that right now, we are at the fighting stage,” Erbenová noted in regards to Fintech. She did point out, however, that she sees developments in an optimistic light. Under the influence of technological start-ups in finance, the structure of the players and of the finance market will change, but finances will nevertheless remain. According to Erbenová, there will be more competition on the market and this will take care of the current high concentration, while the result will have positive effects for customers as well.
A world without PIN codes Dorel Blitz, Head of Fintech at KPMG in Israel described the speed and energy connected with the creation of today’s startups. In Israel, a creative atmosphere and the belief that failure is not a problem spurs on many people to come up with newer and better projects. Blitz does see a large demand for innovations in the Czech Republic as well. He has also witnessed the desire of a number of firms to enter a market like the Czech one. Blitz expects that the modern companies will bring simplifications and offer consumer-friendly solutions. “Having to enter PINs and authorisation codes bothers customers. The future lies in other verification methods, like fingerprint, voice or eye analysis,” noted Blitz, who, to keep in line with his name, indeed talks at lightning speed. “Banks need to open themselves up and some have already begun. Fintech is not about disruption but about cooperation,” said Blitz and mentioned several examples of ongoing cooperation between traditional banks and start-ups. Virtual currencies One of Fintech’s dominant topics are virtual currencies like bitcoin. At the forum, Vice-Governor of the Czech National Bank Mojmír Hampl focused on this area and noted the actual relevance of the bitcoin to be rather small, not only in regards to the volume of transactions and currencies (the bitcoin market corresponds to about a tenth of the Czech economy), but also in terms of geographic utilisation. “Bitcoin is basically a Chinese currency,” Hampl reminded listeners. Personally, he believes that virtual currencies should get the space they need and should not be limited or outlawed. Once more people use them, the pressure to regulate them will also grow. Bitcoin’s mass expansion is hindered by its extreme instability, which makes it unacceptable for most people.
6 — finance
New faces Michal Pobuda, director at KPMG Česká republika’s Management Consulting department, cannot think of a single fundamental reason why Fintech could not change the world of the financial sector, in similar ways as was done in other fields by Amazon and other players. All the more reason to get to know today’s players of Team Fintech well. At the forum, Michal Pobuda presented the unique Fintech Top 100, compiled by KPMG and H2 Ventures and introducing the world’s one hundred most interesting and largest Fintech companies. Indeed, maybe we should start to learn more about names like Ant Financial. A provider of financial services belonging under the Chinese e-shop giant Alibaba, Ant Financial today already has an incredible 450 million active users. Among the services this new player and others like it offer, loans and payment systems dominate. The insurance segment has been gaining in significance as well and start-ups are turning in its direction. Michal Pobuda believes that the new generation of Fintech start-ups will begin to change the rules of the game. “Whereas the first generation brought in more money for traditional companies, the second generation currently under inception is starting to generate its own profits and customers,” added Pobuda.
7 — finance
Blockchain A currently often-discussed topic is also the blockchain, i.e. the possibility to monitor, archive and search for every individual payment in a global database. This seems like a very desirable idea for the traditional banking system and, as Hampl noted, the big banks are very intensively working on finding ways to take advantage of the blockchain concept. Jan Vávra, managing partner at OGResearch, added another interesting news item to the blockchain topic. Currently, about 90 different central (national) banks have become involved in discussions about distributed ledger technologies (DLT). According to Vávra, this topic brings with it a wide array of questions, like whether digital changes will at the end also change the concept of money as we know it today. This could open up interesting opportunities for monetary policies and lead to greater transparency and security. Vávra did point out, however, that it currently is impossible to predict Blockchain’s and DLT’s effects and levels of utilisation, but that both topics should be worth our consideration and discussion.
Cybersecurity Looking at the rapid pace with which technologies appear to penetrate the world of finance and its decision-making processes, one thing is clear, even though we are today not fully able to comprehend the effects of this revolution: cybersecurity will be of ever-increasing importance. Currently, cybersecurity is among the three biggest security risks in the world, as pointed out by Daryl Pereira, partner at KPMG Singapur. “The real danger rests not in soft- or hardware, but in people,” said Pereira and pointed out that on the internet, for USD 500, one can download detailed instructions on how to become a hacker. Businesses often underestimate the risk that lies within their own companies. Between 40 to 60 percent of all successful hacking attacks occur with the help of someone working within the hacked firm. Opportunities for new attracts will hold pace with the rise of Fintech and cybersecurity thus has to become a central topic for the world of finance.
Despite all concerns and security threats connected with the advent of technological innovations and entirely new firms and services in the financial sector, it would make no sense to pretend that Fintech does not exist and that no changes are underway. The growth of Fintech does not intimidate Jack Stack, the unconventional banker who rose to fame in the Czech Republic as the head of Česká spořitelna and now serves as a member of the supervisory board of Erste Group. “Banks are dinosaurs, but unlike them, they can change,” Stack remarked and added that Fintech is forcing banks to be more innovative, which in his opinion is positive. “What’s clear is that banks are changing and that changes can hurt,” so Stack. His belief is that eventually, they will succeed and survive all the changes, just as they did in the previous centuries.
China leads in Fintech
1. Ant Financial
Category: payments Motto: â€œBring small and beautiful changes to the worldâ€? Country: China founded in: 2004 www.antgroup.com The largest provider of online payment services in the world, formerly known as Alipay, which it now includes. Offers services mostly to small firms and individuals. Even though there are more than 200 traditional banks in China, according to its chief executive, Alipay â€œhas an opportunity to use internet methods, internet technology, internet thinking to disrupt traditional finance.â€?
Category: loans Motto: â€œZero down payment installmentsâ€? Country: China founded in: 2014 qd.qufenqi.com A webpage dedicated to providing microloans to young people and students not using credit cards, Qudian also offers a platform to pay rent in instalments.
Category: insurance Motto: â€œSimple health insurance, smart health careâ€? Country: USA founded in: 2013 www.hioscar.com This insurance company uses technology, design and data, to make US health care more human. The impulse for the companyâ€™s foundation was frustration with customer experience within the health care system.
Category: capital markets Motto: â€œWealth management platform, investment and financingâ€? Country: China founded in: 2011 www.lu.com A internet platform providing loans and wealth management on a global level. Apart from online loans, it also offers consulting services in the areas of risk management and investments, utilising big data and IT technology.
8 â€” finance
The annual Fintech 100 chart, created in cooperation by H2 Ventures and KPMG, analyses the financial start-up environment on aÂ global level and reveals the new stars of the sector. Fintech 100 presents companies that take advantage of technology to change the environment of the traditional financial sector. Below, you can take aÂ look at the ten most successful start-ups this year. The complete top 100 list as well as the selection methodology can be found at www.h2.vc.
Category: insurance Motto: “Tailored insurance” Country: China founded in: 2013 www.zhongan.com A Shanghai-based internet insurance company built on the mobile internet, cloud services, big data and other advanced technologies; it assists clients in selecting insurance products in the areas of travel, purchasing, health care and investment.
9 — finance
Category: loans Motto: “Banking. Redefined. Digital.” Country: Germany founded in: 2012 www.kreditech.com Kreditech offers consumer loans, a digital wallet and personal financial management that helps customer plan and monitor expenses.
6. Atom Bank
Category: loans Motto: “The future of banking, available today” Country: UK founded in: 2014 www.atombank.co.uk A bank solely available as an app, without a single stoneand-mortar branch. For security purposes, it uses biometric protection – voice and face recognition. Users may also name their bank according to their preference, set their logo and the bank’s colour scheme.
Category: loans Motto: “Personal loans. Online loans.” Country: USA founded in: 2012 www.avant.com An online platform offering consumer loans with low fees, its overall volume of provided loans exceeds USD 1 billion. Using big data and algorithms, it minimises risk and fraudulent behaviour.
Category: loans Motto: “Great rates. Great benefits.” Country: USA founded in: 2011 www.sofi.com The company refinances student loans and mortgages and offers micro-loans. It adjusts its services to market demand and offers a wide range of personalised products.
10. JD Finance Category: loans Country: China founded in: 2013 www.jd.com
JD Finance offers services in the area of consumer loans, crowd-funding, wealth management and insurance. It also runs JingBaobei, a platform for micro-loans focusing on individuals as well as firms.
Among the first five Fintech companies, four of them come from China; eight of the first fifty most successful firms are Chinese. Three years ago, China had only one representative on the entire chart. The Established 50 chart includes representatives from 17 different countries. Last year, only 13 countries were present. This year, they were joined by France, Mexico, South Africa and Singapore.
Among this year’s 50 best Fintech start-ups, 23 focus on providing loans. Insurtech is also gaining ground; 12 of the best 50 deal in insurance, which is twice last year’s number. Nine companies on the chart are part of regtech, the sector providing regulatory solutions. The number of investments above USD 1 billion continues to grow. The sector’s overall investment volume came to USD 14,6 billion this year.
10 â€” tax
Survey: Czech tax environment not supportive of business
Almost two thirds of finance managers do not consider the Czech tax environment favourable for business activities. More than half of them view the changes made in the last two or three years as negative. In their opinion, most negative is the VAT ledger statement, imposing an even greater administrative burden on corporations. Such are the results of KPMG Czech Republicâ€™sÂ survey among 339 finance managers.
11 — tax
Controversial reverse charge Respondents are in disagreement about the reverse-charge mechanism: more than one third of managers would welcome its implementation on a global basis; in contrast, almost every ninth manager believes that the expansion of the reverse-charge mechanism would be the most burdening tax change in recent years. “The entrepreneurial public is mostly bothered by the reverse charge mechanism’s gradual implementation for selected goods and services and its ambiguous delineation. In practice, it often is not clear to what supplies the mechanism should apply,” so Petr Toman, Partner KPMG Česká republika.
From an entrepreneurial viewpoint, which of the changes in the tax area during the last couple of years do you consider the biggest burden on the Czech tax environment?
VAT ledger statement
Electronic reporting of sales
Tax return’s transfer pricing appendix Extension of reverse-charge regime
Fearing additionally assessed tax Czech finance managers see the highest risk of an additional tax assessment in transfer pricing (41%). In contrast, more than one fifth do not fear any additional assessment of tax; one sixth are more worried about their ability to prove the deductibility of their expenses. “Transfer prices have become one of the tax administration’s main targets. In our experience, the tax offices focus especially on companies that are loss making in the long term and that in Appendix no. 12 recognise a significant volume of group transactions, and on companies receiving investment incentives. Firms are often surprised by the scope and detail of documentation that the tax administration subsequently requires of them,” notes Daniel Szmaragowski, Director at KPMG Česká republika. Communication as an opportunity According to the survey, entrepreneurs do not really feel that they can enter into dialogue with the tax administration; one fourth of them would welcome the expansion of binding rulings on any unclear tax issues. Some entrepreneurs (16%) would also like to be able to use their income statement according to IFRS for tax purposes. “The business environment is developing rapidly, making it very hard to fit new investment and financing concepts into a 1990’s tax framework primarily designed for traditional manufacturing companies. Binding rulings on any unclear tax issues would provide innovators with some certainty for their future operations,” notes Ladislav Malůšek, Partner at KPMG Česká republika. Only 6% of business entities claim to have learned about changes in tax legislation from the tax administration. The predominant sources for tax information are the media as well as tax advisors’ client publications. KPMG Česká republika’s Tax and Legal Update may be found at www.danovky.cz.
During November and December 2016, KPMG Česká republika surveyed 339 respondents, recruited mainly among corporate finance managers and CFOs.
Only 36% of the respondents regard the tax changes of the last two or three years as positive. Entrepreneurs are most burdened by the need to complete VAT ledger statements (mentioned by 48% of respondents) and the electronic reporting of sales (22%) An imaginary bronze medal for taxpayer annoyance goes to the separate appendix to income tax returns showing a summary of transactions with related parties, mentioned by 14% of respondents.
Prague tourism 2016 in numbers 8 CZK
12 — infographic
For every Czech crown that the Capital City of Prague spends on the support of tourism, it receives 8 Czech crowns into its annual budget.
Source: Combined data from studies, surveys and findings - Travel, Leisure, Tourism & Sport service line, KPMG Česká republika, 2016
13000000 Václav Havel Airport dispatched more than 13 million passengers. Regularly scheduled flights left Prague for 146 international destinations.
10 Prague was among the ten most visited destinations in Europe, receiving more foreign tourists than for example Madrid or Athens.
5 ze 6 Five out of six guests that checked in at Prague hotels were from abroad. Their overall number came close to the number of inhabitants of Denmark.
800000 Almost 800 000 people visited the Old Town Hall in Prague. That many people would fill the football stadium at Letná Plain 42 times.
15000 000 Foreign guest spent almost 15 million nights in Prague. All in all, this comes to almost 40 000 years of sleep.
3500 CZK The average foreign visitor spent almost CZK 3 500 a day in Prague. Public budgets received approximately CZK 1500 of this amount.
35000000000 Prague inbound tourism brought approximately CZK 35 billion into public coffers, which comes close to the combined yearly expenses of the Czech Ministry of Fiannce and the Czech Ministry for Regional Development.
100000 To its visitors, Prague was able to offer more than 100 000 beds. This surpasses the number of inhabitants of the town of Pardubice.
550000 Approximately 550000 visitors came to Prague to attend a conference or convention. To get all of them in one place at one time, it would take ca. 900 Airbus A380s.
100000 Prague tourism has created more than 100 000 FTEs and employed four times as many people as carmaker Škoda Auto.
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© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
Text: Jiří Táborský, illustration: Barbora Tögel
In recent years, the slogan claiming that a country may be managed just like a company could be heard in various corners of the Czech lands. The claim may be disputable, but in some areas nevertheless highly applicable. The MoravianSilesian Region, for example, has decided to regard itself in a corporate light and to adapt its IT architecture accordingly. Hardly anybody will dispute that in the IT area, public authorities have a lot to learn from the corporate sector.
14 — case study
Moravian-Silesian Region’s IT gets a corporate cut
“The creation of a corporate architecture was one of the goals of the region within its own strategy leading up to 2020. A corporate view of IT management in this case means that the region represented by the regional authority is considered the parent company and that all 223 contributory organisations are considered its subsidiaries,” explains KPMG’s Jan Voříšek, who served as the project manager of this project. For its undertaking, the region decided to utilise the enterprise architecture method, generally used to map and interconnect businesses and the application and technological architecture of a given organisation. “We began by looking at the region as a provider of a wide array of different services. This could be an integrated emergency system, schools and libraries, for example. People who used these services are considered customers. Our task was to map the services within all branches, i.e. starting with the customer who wants to borrow a book all the way down to the lowest level, which means the coordination of IT systems within the region,” explains KPMG’s Tomáš Martinka, whose role was that of head architect.
15 — case study
Centralisation and shared services The resulting architecture reflects not only the current state of the Moravian-Silesian Region, but was set up to consider in what state the region’s IT system should be in 2020, also taking into account all changes resulting from the advancement of e-government at the state level. The project thus consisted of two main phases. For the first three months, the project team mapped the as-is situation in the region and within its contributory organisations. In the second phase, the team proposed recommendations regarding the current and the intended to-be state. In the project team’s view, the biggest challenge will probably be the integration of shared services on the regional level. “With every agenda, it became necessary to describe in detail all services used by different contributory organisations. We lined the services up according to their functions; logically, many of them came up repeatedly, usually; this included e-mail services, filing services, cloud solutions and other universal areas,” describes Martinka. The logical starting point for the future seemed to be the integration of these services on the regional level and their provision to the individual contributory organisations from one shared centre, which in the corporate world is a common model of cooperation between a parent company and its subsidiaries. Such an approach should also deliver significant savings to the region, as the contributory organisations could discontinue the procurement of a number of supportive services, as these could be provided on a regional level. Apart from already mentioned email and other shared solutions, the regional centre could also take over financial as well human resource administration services. The EU will pay for it Usually, moving services to an upper level is met with a certain amount resistance, but in this case, the intention was received rather positively. This was in all likelihood also due to the composition of the project team, which counted more than 50 members. A significant portion was made up of representatives of both the regional authority and the contributory organisations, hence nobody was left feeling that things were being decided without their participation, and all were sufficiently informed of the fact that eventually, a centralised approach would end up benefiting all.
“Obviously, such an extensive project requires a fairly significant investment. The region expects to use monies from the EU’s structural funds, hence it will only have to pay a smaller portion of the cost. Two of the significant criteria for the granting of subsidies is the long-term sustainability and economic feasibility of a project. The regions should not have a problem documenting either of them,” explains Voříšek. The project’s biggest success so far has been the recognition from the Ministry of the Interior, which according to the Czech Act on Competencies is the governmental body responsible for e-government. The ministry is currently preparing a national plan for the dissemination of e-government. “In the initial project phases we contacted the department of the main architect and introduced its members to the enterprise architecture methodology we created for the needs of the Moravian-Silesian Region. For the corporate architecture model, we selected The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and the ArchiMate enterprise architecture modelling language, both also used by the national architecture, “ so Voříšek. The result of the team’s cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior is that the Moravian-Silesian Region will serve as a pilot project for similar projects in the future. Hence, the MoravianSilesian Region’s employees on their webpages are offering the implementation study, all methodical steps in the creation of the architecture and the modelling methodology, adopted by the Office of the Main Architect as a reference model, free of charge for download. Northern Moravia showing the way Another indication of the projects success is its first place in a competition put on by eGovernment magazine for eleven years. The Moravian-Silesian Region’s corporate architecture project placed first in the regional projects category. Evaluation criteria included benefits for the employees of both the region as well as the contributory organisations, the ability to inspire other sections of public and local government and the long-term perspective of the project. Another highly valued aspect of the project was the fact that its team included many future users of the results of the project, indicating that they are perfectly familiar with the project and will be able to use it in the future. The main benefit of entire project is its formulation of a vision for the development of the region’s IT system until 2020. The created architecture presents the region with clear goals that should be attained by 2020, to assure the perfect functionality of the region’s IT model structure. The fulfilment of these goals can be monitored through the realisation of the individual shared services proposed within the project. In three years, if all goes well and the project fulfils its current expectations of success, it will in all likelihood become the flagship for other regions and similar organisations. Internal processes within state and public administration are comparable and their current organisation can be considered neither effective nor economically beneficial. In view of the tremendously rapid developments in the IT area, state and local administrations will have to throw off their old ways and devote a lot more time and effort to their IT systems. The Moravian-Silesian Region may in this respect serve as a role model for the years to come.
16 — IT advisory
Fifty shades of shadow IT
Jan Voříšek Manager, Management Consulting KPMG Česká republika
Does your company utilise cloud technologies? Maybe you think that it doesn’t because your colleagues in the IT department are too conservative. But honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find a Czech company not in the cloud. According to KPMG’s Czechs and Mobile Data study, 55 percent of all Czech adults aged 18 to 64 today have mobile internet access. It’s hence more than likely that your employees have been using mobile applications running in the cloud at least for some of their work-related activities for quite a while.
17 — IT advisory
Iin their free time, not just younger generations use apps that make their lives easier or more convenient. Christmas gift lists are stored in shared tables, grocery shopping is so much easier when family members together create and share a shopping list or use a designated app, and tips about the right kind of pasta to buy are passed on via facebook messenger. So why should they limit themselves at work to email, a landline and a cell? People want to be more productive and more connected; and it’s fun to communicate via various channels. We want to try all those processes that make our life easier at work, too. And since most of us have a smart phone, the way to do this is simple: we download unauthorised programmes and apps and work with them “in the shadows”. Hence, shadow IT. Whereas in the recent past, this usually meant the usage of an unauthorised USB key, with the prevalence of smartphones and easily accessible applications, we can indeed talk about the “Fifty Shades of Shadow IT”, spanning unapproved chat services and the sharing of files via Dropbox. IT departments’ nightmares are made of this Cloud may today be the preferred model for most deployed IT solutions and may have become mainstream in the area of business support services. But its large-scale deployment still raises fears. According to a study by KPMG and Harvey Nash, almost half (49%) of all businesses are concerned about losing data and privacy. Whereas IT managers find cloud technologies fairly readable, the same is not the case for shadow technologies. Results of a survey conducted by Cloud Security Alliance show that only 8% of all companies are fully aware of the extent of its shadow IT. What’s more, employees using unauthorised tools and applications most likely constitutes a violation of a number of security standards (PCI, Basel II, HIPAA, etc.) and licencing agreements. IT management is hence faced with a huge problem
in regards to the protection of personal data and security. Data may be lost and a company’s vulnerability increases manifold. Every company thus needs clear and intelligible rules for the posting, purchasing and utilisation of new technology. At the same time, a realistic level for the use of mobile technologies should be defined. And before sitting down to compile the appropriate norms, you would be well advised to know the answers to the following questions: Do you know all cloud services your company utilises and all services your employees use to facilitate their work? What kind of data is processed and stored in the cloud? Does it include highly sensitive information? Who has access to them? Are user access rights sufficiently managed? Who grants and revokes user access rights to your company’s cloud solutions? Are you using several similar cloud services? Are you fully utilising their potential? Your goal will not be to get rid of shadow IT but to integrate it into your company’s processes. You’ll gain a much better overview and stricter control over the services you use and the data stored in them. At the same time, you may decrease your firm’s costs of running traditional applications.
As evidenced by this yearâ€™sÂ Global Automotive Executive Survey, for automobile industry representatives, hydrogen has become an important alternative for the future. And pure mobility is among the segmentâ€™sÂ most discussed topics.
What a difference a year makes: KPMGâ€™s 18th annual Global Automotive Executive Survey (GAES) again shows significant changes in the perception of the automobile industryâ€™s executives. The modern trends remain, but the search for clean fuels is again at the top of professional minds, most likely as an echo to Dieselgate and the increasingly stronger pressure from authorities on the reduction of automotive emissions. In fact, this yearâ€™s results confirm last yearâ€™s trend that showed concrete technical areas forming the foundation for future mobility coming to the forefront while leaving business topics somewhat in the background.
18 â€” automotive
Text: LudÄ›k VokĂĄÄ?
Automobile executives believe in hydrogen
19 — automotive
Car company executives consider hydrogenpowered vehicles to be even more important.
Batteries go head-to-head with hydrogen Digitalisation and connectivity have lost their front-runner positions, while electro mobiles now have taken over first place, as half of the respondents consider their development to be highly important. Connectivity does not lag much behind, though; with 49%, it is still very much in the running. Obviously, its importance still remains high, while the automotive world believes it should currently focus more on pressing ecological questions. This is evidenced also by the third place in importance for fuel cell vehicles, i.e. automobiles powered by hydrogen. These are a very important automotive trend according to 47% of GAES respondents. Car company executives consider hydrogen-powered vehicles to be even more important. Four fifths of this respondent group view them as the fundamental trend for the future of mobility and 62% even believe that despite all the high hopes, the days of battery-powered electro mobiles may be numbered. Most see the reason for their failure in an incompatible infrastructure. At first glance, this line of thinking does not appear very logical. True, the infrastructure for the recharging of electro vehicles is still not ideal, but the number of recharging stations as well as their overall capacity in most countries easily surpasses the current possibilities of the hydrogen infrastructure. However, the development of the latter promises to be much easier, while its operating principles are much closer to the existing habits of drivers. Currently, even the quickest recharging session of an electro-mobile takes several tens of minutes or even hours, but “refilling” your car with hydrogen promises to be much closer to the procedure today’s drivers go through at regular filling stations. “Compared to electro-mobiles, cars running on hydrogen cells should be “gassed up” within three to four minutes and should have a similar range as fuel-powered cars,” Gerald Killman, Toyota Motor Europe’s vice president for
In your opinion, what will the infrastructure of hydrogen fuelling look like? Is your company planning to get involved in this area? If yes, what are your short-term plans in this respect? The future of hydrogen depends on many factors. Among them, apart from financing, of course, are a reliable infrastructure (fuelling stations) and hydrogen-powered cars. One cannot work without the other. Our company is proud to have built the first hydrogen-fuelling station in the Czech Republic. Internationally, Linde is a member of the newly established Hydrogen Council, joining the world’s most active players on the playing field of hydrogen technology. In the Czech Republic, we are staying abreast of all planned activities but currently don’t have a concrete project under preparation. Once carmakers start to produce hydrogen-fuelled cars, then it would be logical to first connect the Czech Republic with Germany on the Munich-Prague-Ostrava route. For this, two hydrogenfuelling stations would suffice. Petr Choulík, general manager of Linde Gas, a. s.
A hydrogen society Killman also discussed hydrogen’s apparent weakness, as it needs to be produced, most often while using a lot of electricity. Hydrogen critics hence argue that this electricity could be used directly in electro mobiles, instead. “We’re currently harvesting energy from sustainable sources in a very uncoordinated manner, which is an important factor. During the day, when artificial light is not needed, the sun allows us to harvest its energy. In the evening, the sun disappears and often, the wind also dies down, but that’s the time when households use most energy,” Killman explains the certain paradox of an increasing number of sustainable energy sources entering the production chain. Hydrogen could serve as a universal carrier of energy that would be produced in times of energy over-production and used when there’s not enough electric energy available, all at the place of consumption. "In addition to transportation, hydrogen has the potential to support our transition to a low-carbon society across multiple industries and the entire value chain," explained Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s chairman of the board and father of the Prius, at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Only some are investing Nevertheless, technologies based on the utilisation of fossil fuels still attract the majority of investments from car producers, evidenced by the fact that more than half of the respondents in this year’s survey still plan to invest big money into the development of combustion engines. But a certain shift becomes nonetheless visible when one looks at the willingness to invest in further development, where hybrid solutions have outpaced their equivalents relying on the combustion of fossil fuels. From this point of view, hydrogen lags somewhat behind and still has a stretch to go on the road to practice and towards consumers. According to the GAES survey, however, the intention to invest into hydrogen propulsion has exceeded the plans of automotive industry leaders who had originally envisioned only focusing on the development of classic electromobiles.
A decision coming out of the Davos forum this year is also intended to support the development of hydrogen mobility.
In what likelihood will the Czech Republic be able to attract significant investments into new technologies in the automotive industry, especially for alternative fuels? What can CzechInvest offer to such investors? The National Action Plan for Clean Mobility, approved by the Czech government in 2016, envisions hydrogen as one of the alternative fuels for the future. The plan sets the conditions for the implementation and expansion of this technology and for the creation of a future market environment. Apart from different legislative measures, the plan also coordinates public support aimed at various implementation areas, e.g. the creation of a network of fuelling stations, the municipal procurement of vehicles for mass transit, demonstrative projects for small and medium-sized companies and hopefully also soon for private individuals. Currently, neither the Czech nor the European hydrogen car markets are particularly well developed. However, Czech research in the areas of hydrogen mobility and energy storage, represented especially by ÚJV Řež and the Czech Technical University and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, has created the ideal conditions for the testing of technologies and business models. We are in contact with the world’s leading producers of hydrogen cars; we inform them about the situation in this area in the Czech Republic as well as in Europe and are prepared to assist them should they want to invest, just as we help any other investors. At our disposal we have our standard tools like investment incentives. The European structural funds as well as the TRIO programme of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade also offer support in this area. Karel Kučera, CEO of CzechInvest
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research and development explained already last September in Index magazine of the daily Lidové noviny. In the same article, Killman also stressed electro-mobiles’ additional shortcomings that will not be easily resolved, as there is the huge weight of batteries, their short durability and their continuingly high price. The relatively easy and less time-consuming manner of recharging is one of the reasons why consumers perceive hydrogen as a plausible alternative for the future as well. In the GAES survey, consumers professed about the same interest in hydrogen vehicles as in plug-in hybrid cars, while hydrogen technology easily beat electro-mobiles and extended range electric vehicles (with on-board generators in form of a combustion engine) in terms of consumer interest.
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What are the key trends until 2025? 2013
50% Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)
49% Connectivity and digitalization
47% Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)
44% Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)
43% Market growth in emerging markets
40% Increasing use of platform strategies and standardization of modules
39% Creating value out of big data (e.g. vehicle & customer data)
39% Mobility-as-a-service/Car sharing
37% Autonomous and self-driving cars
31% Downsizing of internal combustion engines (ICEs)
31% Rationalization of production in Western Europe
A recent decision coming out of the already mentioned Davos forum this year is also intended to support the development of hydrogen mobility. A total of 13 corporations want to invest almost 11 billion dollars into this area. Investors include Toyota, Hyundai and Honda, traditionally big supporters of fuel cell technology, but also BMW, Daimler-Benz, petrochemical companies Royal Dutch Shell and Total, as well as industrial gas companies Linde and Air Liquide and others. The end of diesel? The new emphasis on alternative fuels, which made it to the top of the GAES survey for the first time in the last five years, also has a less obvious aspect to it; respondents are beginning to be convinced that a number of existing and established technologies are on their way out. It is fairly logical that after the events of the last 15 months, diesel engines are on the list of endangered technologies. Diesel has now been labelled an “unclean” fuel, not only among consumers, but also by
automotive industry representatives. More than half of them consider diesel engines a dead technology, while less than a quarter of respondents proclaim themselves neutral, which leaves only a relatively small group of diesel engine supporters. In the medium term, however, it appears that in many concrete applications, i.e. in trucks, vans and other heavyduty vehicles, diesel motors have no suitable substitutes. Diesel will thus have to bear the stigma of a socially less acceptable technology no longer suitable for consumers, but its replacement within the commercial environment will be no easy matter. What’s more, NextGen Analytics data predict that in 2023 the use of diesel engine vehicles will remain widespread even in the countries that are currently leading significantly negative campaigns against diesel. For example in France, they may still constitute up to 30% of the overall vehicle fleet; similarly so in Germany. And it is predicted that in India, diesel will still power more than 60% of the country’s cars.
this year but instead continued in its downward trend. The same holds for Volkswagen’s expected increase in market share, but here its decline from third place did not continue past sixth place. It should nevertheless still belong among car manufactures that may expect significant growth, which only goes to show that firms may overcome specific issues by catching on to current trends. Volkswagen yet has to display any kind of enthusiasm in the form of hydrogen cars, however.
What will become of electro-mobiles? Do you perceive the future of automotive fuels to be in hydrogen or in electricity? That’s a fairly difficult question. Maybe we should first define about how far a distant future we are talking about. Whereas figuratively speaking, we are just years away from the commercial deployment of electro-mobiles, in the case of hydrogen, I would venture to say that this will instead take tens of years. Personally, and this is not only because I am currently dealing with electro-mobility, I believe that the future lies in electricity. I think that electricity has the prerequisites to offer a suitable alternative in a number of transportation segments. Should expectations concerning the capacity and price of batteries be fulfilled and if a necessary infrastructure is created, then I don’t see in the case of hydrogen any fundamental benefits that would warrant the creation of an entirely new segment, neither in the Czech Republic nor elsewhere. Recently, some opinions have been voiced that electro mobility is hindered by an insufficient fuelling infrastructure, that it is only a temporary solution and that the future belongs to hydrogen. Whereas distribution networks are generally accessible all over the republic and the creation of a network of refuelling stations is with some planning and their strengthening quite manageable, as has been confirmed by their operators’ analyses, there’s no hydrogen infrastructure at all. If we wanted hydrogen to become a realistic alternative in road transportation with the necessary network of
filling stations, this would involve huge investments from the ground up. Owing to its makeup, hydrogen is quite a problematic gas when it comes to its transportation and storage; hence its safety and related risks should also be taken into consideration. In the case of the Czech Republic, the question also is what the source of hydrogen would be. In theory, one could imagine that hydrogen could serve as a form of energy accumulation. Hydrogen production could be considered in shoreline places with an accumulation of wind power stations, but to produce it purposefully for transportation needs makes little sense, in my opinion. When we then take a look at the processes involved in its production, storage, transport and subsequent use, we find out that its effectiveness is not very high, which, to me, is another big disadvantage. Simply put, to convert electricity into hydrogen and then back again does not seem justified, especially since electro mobility is able to offer an acceptable solution. If electro-mobiles indeed beat out hydrogen, what sources do you think will we use to generate the electricity required to fuel them? Looking at the overall energy fuel mix, this will of course depend on the development of its composition, which concerns our entire energy concept. In general, an increased penetration by renewable resources is to be expected, while the issue of nuclear energy remains open. On the other hand, we can expect that in time,
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Success above all else The current changes in the perception of the individual automotive trends’ importance also influence the sensitivity in regards to the potential of the separate carmakers in terms of innovation and chances for success. On the virtual ladder, we often find names frequently also on the lips of automotive industry bosses. In their eyes, BMW remains the greatest innovator, just like last year. Despite its emphasis on hydrogen and hybrid propulsion, Toyota made it only into fourth place, behind American Tesla and its domestic rival Honda. Tesla made it to second place also owing to its progress in autonomous mobility, which in the GAES survey maintained last year’s ninth place among the most significant trends. Volkswagen on the other hand, urgently trying to rid itself of the Dieselgate stigma with the help of a whole slew of innovations, did not gain any ground
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when it comes to electro-mobility, we will see a rise in the importance of decentralised energy production, depending also on the spread of energy production on the level of household solar panels, for example. The combination of electro-mobiles, photovoltaic power stations and maybe even household accumulations could in the future become an affordable and common alternative, bound to improve the emission profile of electro-mobility as a whole even further. It might not be far-fetched to suggest that if somebody is considering buying an electromobile as an ecological form of transport, they will also think about from which source they will recharge it. What would happen to electro-mobility’s attractiveness if the recharging of e-cars were to cost as much as the regular use of electricity, based on kilowatt-hours? That’s not really a question about what we are charging for, be it kWh, minutes or something else, but at what price. I believe that for electro-mobility to make sense in the long-run, it has to make sense for all who are in some way involved in its process. It has to be profitable for the carmakers, the operators of infrastructure, and for the owners and operators of vehicles. The recharge price should at a level to allow for a decent return on investment into the recharging infrastructure. We know that so far, this is a question for the future. The electromobile market is still at in its inception stage. To try to calculate a price based on current costs just does not make sense. Also because currently, expenses would
have to be divided among a small group of users and the recharging would be unacceptably high. Electro-mobiles are right now somewhere along the edge of economic sustainability. Costly recharging would upset this situation and stifle the market, which is not something anybody wants. The infrastructure has to go ahead of the market and this could be resolved, among other things, by public funding for recharging stations. Similarly, it could initially be acceptable that recharging providers would sponsor the recharging of e-cars to stimulate the market or as part of their PR activities. Of course, in the long run, such models are unsustainable and electro-mobility should eventually and gradually attain commercial business levels. We trust that technological development will be reflected in the cost and the availability and affordability of e-vehicles and that commercial recharging businesses will get the space they need. It is nevertheless obvious that public recharging will be more expensive than household recharging and the question remains how much car users will value the quicker speed of external recharging. To come back to the question, to charge for kWh or any other measurement unit that will reflect the actual use of the refuelling station by a concrete user appears to be logical and fair. It can thus be expected to become a trend followed by all providers, including ČEZ. Tomáš Chmelík head of Clean Technologies at ČEZ, a.s.
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Text: Pavla Francová, photo: Barbora Mráčková
25 — interview
We don’t know how to agree “In the Czech Republic, we’re well off, but we don’t see it much,” says Judge of the Supreme Administrative Court Karel Šimka. In our interview, he points out the strong and weak points of Czech public administration.
Karel Šimka Karel Šimka, judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, obtained degrees in law and political science from universities in Pilsen, Prague and Passau. Initially, he served as a judge in the field of civil law. For the Aspen Institute’s Czech Republic: The Shape We're In project, he analysed the quality of governance, i.e. the conduct of public institutions in the Czech Republic.
Do we have reason to be proud of the Czech Republic’s public administration? I wouldn’t use the term “proud”, but we can nevertheless be content, I guess. In our daily lives, it is functioning rather well. Whatever we need from the state, we eventually end up getting. The problems start when the public authorities have to resolve any kind of larger tasks, say, for example build a highway or decide whether to expand the Temelin nuclear power plant.
Let’s talk about legislative instability; is it connected with political continuity? Yes, this is something that we’re missing, too. Some things require clear and long-term political decisions, for example, whether to expand the highway system, introduce high-speed trains or even just provide for faster internet connections. These things have to be decided, there has to be a plan and that plan needs to be followed for, let’s say, 20 years. Germany has a system like this for highway construction. In our country, concepts that are not very binding often get changed according to the political priorities of the day. This is a significant problem. And what about ordinary construction projects? What is missing is the fundamental ability to reach a consensus on the level of communities, regions and municipal districts. For cities to take on a decent urban shape, they need years of continuity, which is something that is entirely missing in Prague. But this is also true for our other bigger cities. In Brno, they’ve been arguing for years whether and how to move the main train station. This has not only been hindering the progress of a huge urban area, but also any further development of traffic infrastructure. To sum up, the inability to reach at least a basic consensus is a big problem. What can be done about it? I don’t know. A society’s character, political conflicts in it and the mentality of its people all contribute to this. Do you see any kind of mechanisms that could assure a higher level of continuity and a certain independence from political events? For all intents and purposes, no. In the public sphere, all decisions, for example those whether something gets built or
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Which areas are the most problematic? The more involved and more controversial things aren’t working well. A typical example is the granting of construction permits. It’s fairly logical that a new construction will have at least a few opponents. The problem is that our public administration is not able to solve such conflicts within a reasonable amount of time and in a manner that will leave either all parties more or less satisfied or give the unsatisfied parties the chance to come to terms with the given decision. This is why constructions take such a long time here. We are also lacking stability, especially the legislative kind. This is not a Czech speciality, it’s characteristic for all of Western civilisation because our world has become very complex. A significant part of the economic struggle is carried out over regulations. When new regulatory measures get pushed through or if existing regulations get amended in an advantageous manner, somebody is most likely about to make a lot of money. And others will probably lose money. This leads to constant changes or at least to constant attempts to change the regulatory framework.
not, end up being political decisions. Whether you can build a skyscraper in Pankrác or construct a beltway around the city depends on what the public and its political representation thinks. It would be an illusion to believe that everything has an expert solution. That’s not true. Skyscrapers may either be built in a location or they may not. For us, Germany has always been a role model, but it seems to me that the last 10 to 15 years have shown that even Germany isn’t able to do everything well. Just think of the airport being built in Berlin, Stuttgart’s train station or the chaos they went through when they accepted a huge number of refugees that they were then not able to register properly. Even Europe’s most organised society can encounter problems of complexity. I am afraid that there are no easy solutions. The opposite example is China, where nobody is asked whether they would mind having a highway built near them. They just build it. But is that something we would want? I know I don’t. Instead, I prefer the squabbles and delays with a final result that is acceptable to the broadest group of people. I do understand, however, that developers want to build. The state has to provide them with a certain clear-cut legal framework and certainty. Otherwise, we will unnecessarily waste resources and block any kind of sensible development. But it’s not just about developers; highways and the overall progress of infrastructure are also at stake. Of course. Solutions to sectional issues do exist. In the case
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Our pessimism does serve as a motor that makes us want to change things.
of infrastructure, all it needs is a quality act on infrastructure, which will define what kind of highway system we want. Then we can grant permits for larger functional units and the highways will get built. Something like that can also be written into acts on rail infrastructure and the like. With highways, the worst part is the segmentation of construction, where every little section only a few kilometres long needs a separate permit. The result is a highway system that is as holey as Swiss cheese. Stuff like this can be resolved, though. But to have a special plan for Prague’s urban development by tomorrow is utterly impossible, because of the complexity of the process and all the opposing and conflicting interests. It’s also slowed down by all kinds of judicial reviews. The later also have a positive effect, though. They impel the public authorities to do their work properly and to look for and find generally acceptable solutions. If this were to be abolished, we would give the public administration the freedom to do whatever it would want to do. The questions is whether we really would want to risk this.
Looking at the overall picture, do you see a foreign public administration system that could serve as an inspiration for us because it works so well? It will always be problematic to want to take over a complete working system from abroad, but we many partial aspects could serve as an inspiration for us. Holland could be one example. Here, public administration is very friendly and pragmatic and is able to negotiate and compromise, for example in tax matters, and ends up avoiding a large amount of disputes. The German public administration has gained a lot of its authority from being very professional; in Switzerland, we find a perfectionistic tendency, which can sometimes even be unpleasant. What’s more, in Switzerland, the local public authorities are very strong, which can lead to the fragmentation of a country, because not all rules apply everywhere. Estonia should also be mentioned, as it is a leader in computerisation; or Scandinavia as a model for a nurturing, caring public administration. But all of that may lead to people getting too comfortable. I also value Israel’s approach towards public safety.
You mentioned that in our daily life, public administration is working quite well. What exactly did you mean by that? Things like getting a new id card or payments of social benefits seem to work and even without creating too many negative aspects. In some countries, the social system produces a lot of people that end up being dependent on it. In the Czech Republic, this is happening at a lesser level than elsewhere. Yes, if you look at the regulation and administration that concerns entrepreneurs, you can find plenty of things that bother people. But then again, that’s the price we pay for consumer comfort. People want an increasing level of security and that can only be achieved by having everything guaranteed, inspected and assured. This of course brings with it certain costs, but we can rest assured that in the morning, the streets of Prague 1 will be clean, even though thousands of drunken tourists roamed them the night before; we can rely on trains arriving according to schedule, and so on. Overall, we have a very high level of public security. Relatively speaking, the Czech Republic is a safe country; not many serious crimes involving murder, violence, blackmail and so on, are committed here.
Are there any direct neighbours that are better off when it comes to public administration? We should take a look at Poland in one very important matter – their ability to defend and enforce their own interests within the European Union. They are able to effectively and diplomatically negotiate and to achieve what they want. We, on the other hand, do not know how to shape the EU to fit our needs, which spells big trouble for public administration, because almost 70% of our regulations emanate from European law, and if you are not able to shape them on a European level, you basically lose the chance to do anything about it later on. So instead, we often try to resolve our internal conflicts on the European battlefield.
A big topic is the computerisation of public administration. How far along are we there? We went through a relatively large wave of computerisation from 2007 to 2011. A lot of different things were introduced, like electronic signatures and CzechPoints. But then we kind of fell asleep, so the question is: What now? The problem with our version of computerisation is that it lacks a comprehensive vision and it is only done for individual departments at a time. Very little thought is given to the need for all systems to be linked and to the fact that all this is supposed to serve the people and not public officials. Much more time should also be spent on the security aspects and system risks of computerisation.
What does your vision of a perfectly functioning public administration look like To me, the most important aspect is user friendliness. The public authorities should act like somebody who is interested in helping you. On one hand, public administration has to be friendly and help people, on the other hand, it has to be able to recognise and deal with the minority that is planning some kind of mischief or has many vexatious complains or requests. And it needs to punish such mischief. So much for the basic features that my ideal public administration should have. The steps that should be taken to get there are much harder to describe; there is no easy solution. We have to understand, however, that for us in the Czech Republic, our frame of reference is quite naturally Germany, the absolute leader in Europe in just about everything, in economic matters, technology, law and even public administration. It is good to compare yourself to the best, but this should not lead us to infer that nothing functions properly in our state. We have to admit that we are well off, but we refuse to believe in ourselves and always emphasise the bad aspects. At the same time, our pessimism does serve as a motor that makes us want to change things, all the while grumbling and shaking our heads.
Spring 2017 is offering a very generous array of exhibits displaying works by the world’s great masters of the fine arts. Italy’s Museo di Santa Caterina in Treviso will show works by Monet, Renoir and van Gogh; at the Madrid Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, paintings by Pablo Picasso – including his probably most famous oeuvre, Guernica - will surely put visitors under their spell.
The stories of impressionism Treviso Museo di Santa Caterina, Treviso, Italy until 17 April 2017 In its Museo di Santa Caterina, the picturesque Italian town of Treviso is putting on an exhibit of the stories of impressionism. Visitors can look forward to around 120 paintings from the greatest impressionist painters - Monet, Renoir, van Gogh and Gauguin. 1
2 Osterfestival Luzern Lucern various concert venues and churches, Lucerne, Switzerland from 1 to 9 April 2017 At the beginning of April, Lucerne’s Easter Festival will offer many classical performances with a focus on sacred music. Works by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Monteverdi, Debussy and others are sure to fill the city’s concert halls and churches with a glorious Easter atmosphere.
Russian triennial Moscow The Garage Museum, Moscow, Russia from 10 March to 14 Maya 2017 In the year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow’s prime arts venue, will host the inaugural Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art under the direction of its main curator, Kate Fowl. 3
4 Pablo Picasso Madrid Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain from 4 April to September 2017 At Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, more than 150 works of the immortal Pablo Picasso will be on display. The exhibit’s highlight is bound to be Guernica, created by the great artist exactly 80 years ago.
Macy Gray Brno and other European cities Sonocentrum, Brno 25 March 2017 The American soul and R & B artist commences her European tour that will highlight songs from her new album titled Stripped. On Macy Gray’s tour schedule are Berlin, Rome, London Amsterdam and Vienna. For her Czech fans, Macy Gray will also appear at Brno’s Sonocentrum on 25 March. 5
Paul Gauguin, Annah the Javanese, 1893
6 Documenta 14 Athens Athens, Greece from 8 April to 16 July 2017 One of the most significant events of this season, the Documenta exhibit of modern art that every five years takes place in Kassel, Germany, will this year be previewed in Athens, Greece. Quite fittingly, as the theme of Documenta 14 is “Learning from Athens”.
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Text: Anna Batistová
Žít jako muž (My Life as a Man) Literature Philip Roth In March, the Czech translation of the award-winning novel by Philip Roth, probably the greatest living American writer, will be available in bookstores. Subtitled Stories about Marriage, in Žít jako muž (My Life as a Man), Peter Tarnopol, Roth’s alter ego, humorously describes his failed marriage.
Jeden svět (One world) Documentary films Documentary film festival on human rights The 19th annual Jeden svět (one world) documentary film festival, running in Prague from 6 to 15 March 2017, will show the best international human rights documentary films. In the middle of March, the festival will move to more than 30 cities and towns in the Czech Republic, and conclude in Brussels, Belgium.
Text: Anna Batistová
Wanted – Broadway in the centre of Prague Music Dagmar Pecková Renowned mezzosoprano Dagmar Pecková will appear from 11 to 30 April in the grand hall of the Lucerna Palace as Mackie Messer in a revue titled Wanted. The spectacular cabaret performance features the music of German interwar composer Kurt Weill and is directed by brothers Michal and Šimon Caban.
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Blood wedding Theatre The Estate Theatre directed by SKUTR (Martin Kukučka a Lukáš Trpišovský) Directed by director duo SKUTR, Blood Wedding, a tragedy by Spanish poet and playwright F.G. Lorca returns to the stage of Prague’s Estate Theatre on 16 March 2017 after a fifty-year absence. The Czech version of the play features actors Pavlína Štorková, Filip Kaňkovský, Taťjana Medvecká and David Prachař.
Czech Nature Photo Exhibit Czech Photo Centre From 4 to 14 April 2017, the Czech Photo Centre will display the works of the best nature photographers in the Czech Republic. Works by photographers Václav Šilha, Rostislav Stach, Ondřej Prosický, Petr Bambousek, Dan Materna and Pavel Krásenský will be featured.
Czech Dance Platform Dance Ponec, Archa and La Fabrika theatres As has become a tradition, from 6 to 9 April 2017, the Ponec, Archa and La Fabrika theatres will all host the Czech Festival of Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre. The Czech Dance Platform will review the best the Czech dance scene has had to offer in recent years.
Mezzosopranist Dagmar Pecková
Text: Ondřej Krynek, editor-in-chief ofDesignMagazin.cz
2 OCH! Visitors of Brno yearning to discover design that they won’t see anywhere else should not miss the OCH! exhibit. Until 16 April at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, the Prague design studio Olgoj Chorchoj offers a glimpse into its history, its sources of inspiration and its current design output. Part of the exposition is formed by an important presentation by graduates of the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. Michal Froněk and Jan Němeček, Olgoj Chorchoj’s main designers, served as the students’ academic mentors.
3 Porcelain vases by Milan Pekař Pieces of silver and other precious metals create distinctive patters on the surface, making each piece that Milan Pekař creates an original. His vases have indeed become a worldwide phenomenon. As part of the DESIGN LIVE! exposition, tens of small and large of Pekař’s vases will be on display on one extralong table at the Moravian Gallery in Brno until 16 April 2017.
Snøhetta opens seventh Treehotel in a Swedish forest A new Treehotel, located among unspoiled nature on level with the treetops, has opened in the North of Sweden. This time, what is sure to become a tourist attraction has been created by Norway’s famous Snøhetta architectural studio, known for its innovative approaches. The treehotel’s minimalist building is wedged between treetops ten metres off the ground and accessible by a comfortable staircase. The interior space, measuring 55 square metres, features minimalist luxury.
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1 Prague Design Week 2017 From 10 to 16 April 2017, the fourth annual Prague Design Week 2017 will take over four floors of the Dancing House (Ginger and Fred) on Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague. Visitors can look forward to new and fresh design creations from tradespersons, design students, young designer studios, talented fashion designers and a number of design companies.
TOP 3 new venues
Extra tip At AMA, you have to try Momo, small dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, and Thukpa, a hearty, filling soup that can stand in for an entrée.
A phenomenon named 4pokoje A new star has appeared on Brno’s bar scene. Even though it has only been open since January, crowds of partygoers have been flocking to it. We are talking about 4pokoje, a venue that is unique in many aspects. Open from 7am to 5am, with a menu that changes as the day progresses. The same holds for the bar’s interior details and music accompaniment. “The 4pokoj concept can be described in one word – it is intended to be everybody’s gastro-living room. A living room where at night you can party and during the day relax and read a book,” so the description by co-owner Honza Vlachynský.
AMA´s speciality: small dumplings filled with meat or vegetables.
Extra tip Make sure to sample 4pkoje’s cocktail drinks containing coffee or their teas on tap. “Personally, I really enjoy our Kafe Martini, which is a twist on the classic Espresso Martini,” says Vlachynský.
From Trump Tower to London French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten can certainly be counted among the gastronomical elite. For 20 years, he has been heading Trump Tower’s prestigious restaurant in New York. For his efforts, he has so far been awarded three Michelin stars. This spring, Vongerichten will expand his culinary empire by opening a new restaurant at the Connaught Hotel in London’s Mayfair district. In an interview with Bloomberg magazine, Vongerichten let it be known that the restaurant’s cuisine will follow the farm-to-table, fresh-from-the-market approach. 3
Extra tip The addition of Vongerichten’s restaurant to the Hotel Connaught’s culinary offerings is all the more interesting as the luxury hotel already features a restaurant led by French chef Hélène Darroze, owner of two Michelin stars.
Text: Lukáš Rozmajzl, editor-in-chief of CityBee.cz
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1 Prague’s first Tibetan restaurant Ever try Tibetan cuisine? Since February this year, you can do so in Prague’s Vinohrady neighbourhood at AMA, a restaurant founded by two Tibetans living in Prague. With the help of crowd funding, the owners raised CZK 300 000 to reconstruct the restaurant’s premises. The menu features Tibetan specialties like Shapale (a fried pocket filled with meat or vegetables) and Momo (see below); beverages on tap include salt tea and on occasion also Chhaang (fermented Tibetan beer). “Unfortunately, Chhaang is fairly difficult to make,” explains the restaurant’s manager, Jindra Bhutia Holovská.
Text: Anna Batistová, photo: Ondřej Trhoň
Just 26 cubes in a 3x3x3 model. Rubic’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle that confounded most of the world. But Rubic’s Cube (Rubikova kostka) is also the name of a new novel by young Czech writer Vratislav Maňák. The protagonist of his new book stacks together scraps of memory like the coloured sides of the famous puzzle. In Maňák’s puzzle, family stories are intermingled with the fate of his hometown, Pilsen. The book pays homage to the Western Bohemian city and at the same time addresses the storm that enveloped the area after the currency reform in 1953 and the subsequent workers’ uprising.
The novel goes back to the unrest in Pilsen after the currency reform in 1953. Did you do you own historical research? No. The research that I did was not very deep. I talked to a couple eyewitnesses, listened to another few at Paměti národa (Memory of Nations, an extensive multimedia collection of witnesses' memories, transl. note), looked for the old names of streets and for photographs of the way they looked in 1953, but I didn’t want to spend too much time on it; I was afraid that trying to be too literal would hinder my imagination. In the stories that show Plsen right after the currency reform, history is depicted accurately, but all characters are fictional. For example, the people of Plsen really did fight the militia on the Wilson bridge, but it is not true that somebody died during the melee, as is claimed by both contemporary witnesses and one of the characters in my book. I actually thought that you used the oral history method; they eyewitness accounts in the book seem so real… That’s probably because of the language in which they are written. Writing 15 eyewitness accounts really taught me a lot. Ever character had to be identifiable; so for each one of them, I created a glossary of filler words, an individual vocabulary and their own speed of speech. For myself, I casted Czech actors into the roles of my characters; some memories were written as if they were spoken by Jiří Bartoška. He told me a story and I wrote it down. As a child growing up on normalisation pop culture, I have the oral presentations of Stelly Zázvorkova or Jiří Sovák ingrained in my memory; hence it was easy to cast these actors as my characters. And since I am a retrophile, a huge map of Czechoslovakia hangs above my desk, so I glued the actors’ photos onto it. This was my first novel and within this huge mass of text I needed to remain consistent in terms of the characters’ expressions. Being able to look at them helped me a lot. When you write, how do you actually proceed? I write chronologically; but usually I already know at the beginning how the story ends and I also have an approximate beta version of the final scene. It wasn’t exactly like that in the case of Rubik’s Cube, however, because its composition is rather complicated and combines three different levels of time. Two of them, I wrote simultaneously, but the third one, which is the one that has all the accounts and memories from the 50s, came into being separately. Only afterwards did I insert it into the text, to have it serve as kind of a socio-critical commentary on the main story line. William Styron is said to have done the same thing when he wrote Sophie’s Choice. Supposedly, he first wrote the book chronologically and then cut and mixed it up.
32 — revue
FOCUS: Vratislav Maňák’s Rubic’s Cube
Rubikova kostka is your first novel. In its style, does it reflect your literary role models? In respect to this novel, my most significant role models were Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, but also Antonín Bajaja. All three worked with the city theme in ways that I personally found very interesting. They paid homage to their respective city and it played a very important role in their works. For Grass, this city was Gdansk in the Tin Drum; for Böll, it was Cologne in Billiards at Half-Past Nine, and Bajaja wrote an ode to Zlín. One reason I wanted to write about Pilsen was that I found it sad that even though it is the second largest city in Bohemia, nobody has paid literary homage to it yet. I couldn’t understand why, when in Poland, novels have been written about Lodz and Gdansk and not just about Warsaw. In Germany, they have novels about Cologne and Lübeck, not just Berlin. Why couldn’t this work here, as well?
33 — revue
Klára Spilková on the road Where to get a good bite to eat, where to find the nicest golf courses…Best Czech female golfer Klára Spilková shares her travel tips and impressions from the pursuit of golf glory with the readers of Marwick.
I am getting ready to start my seventh season among golf’s women professionals. Incredible how fast time flies. Currently, I spend a lot of time in the car traveling between the gym and indoor courses, but I do want to share some of my experiences from the end of last year’s season on the Ladies European Tour with you. Qatar I played the last two tournaments at the end of November and the beginning of December in Qatar and in Dubai. This was my first time in Qatar and my first impression was rather nonplussed, as I really like greenery, mountains and water. I am used to the desert from my time in Dubai, but in the Qatar apartment block surrounded by the noisy and dusty city, I felt that I wasn’t about to get any rest. The local golf course did prove to be the traditional oasis in the desert, however. On the date of our tournament, meteorologist called for thunderstorms and rains, the first in over six months. You can imagine what the roads after the finals looked like. Within 15 minutes, I witnessed three traffic accidents, as the roads had turned to torrents. After a strenuous trip, we finally made it to a sandy golf course, about 40 kilometres outside of Doha. This course is so well hidden that we spent another 15 minutes looking for it. Had I wanted to play 18 holes I would have had to take a plastic grass mat with me to position my ball on. Instead, I opted to putt on the last hole on the course on compacted sand.
Dubai From Qatar, I took off for Dubai, where I spent another two weeks. The first week, I lived and trained on the course in Jebel Ali. Here, you can meet a family of ibex while you play or take a ride in a hydroplane, as I did last year. I would consider this just as thrilling as the view from the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, offering you all of Dubai at a glance. I have two favourite restaurants in Dubai. The first is an Arab buffet, offering delicious hummus and chicken shawarma. My second favourite spot is P.F. Chang’s, where you just have to try their Dynamite Shrimp. To be definitely recommended, just like Dubai – especially for its climate and the easy connection to Prague.
34 — science
Text: Richard Valoušek, photos: Barbora Mráčková, illustration: Barbora Tögel
How swing fought against the Nazis
Petr Koura Born in 1978, he studied History at Charles University. Currently, he focuses on modern Czech history. Two years ago, he received the Neuron Award for Promising Young Scientists in the social sciences. He has served as a consultant to the České století (Czech century) television programme; currently, he advises the makers of Czech TV’s Bohéma series. In December 2016, Academia publishing house released his monograph Swingaři a potápky v protektorátní noci (Protectorate Nights for Swing Kids and Potapkas) gaining acclaim not only due to its historical but also thanks to its literary value.
35 — science
For a short moment, close your laptop, turn off your phone, set the notepad aside, forget your worries and take a trip into the past. Let’s go back almost 80 years and return to the end of the 30s of the last century. In Prague, as well as the rest of the German Protectorate, the Nazi’s are firmly ensconced in power. Street traffic and city noises are just an iota of what we are used to today, but society nevertheless has to adjust to a faster speed of life.
We take a stroll across Wenceslaus Square; throngs of people oscillate from one end to another, hurrying to get to work, to the shops, to school. Among them, a group of weirdoes, both male and female, stands out in colourful clothing and massive, high-heeled shoes. German soldiers and Gestapo officers stand at a distance… The first thing that comes to mind is that they don’t belong here. In contrast to the passer-by, they are not in a hurry and act as if the hustle and bustle can’t affect them. Touched by somebody’s visible bemusement, they just smirk as if they’re pleased. At first glance, they are at the outskirts of society, but, then again, in the centre of its attention and enjoying their own provocative get-ups. Rest assured that we have indeed taken you to the centre of Prague at the turn of the 30s and 40s of the last century. The people we are looking at call themselves potápka (grebe), bedle (parasol mushroom) and luketas (a transcription of `look-at-her’) and are all Swing Kids. Let’s tag along as they take you to spend the upcoming evening at a club full of jazz music. You say “but what about the Protectorate being at war, closely watched by Nazi forces and about to be wiped off the map?” Well, there’s neither time nor space for thoughts like that. Put on your most outrageous outfit and come join us on the dance floor. Never mind the choreography and don’t worry if you don’t know any dance moves. Spontaneity and freedom is what swing is all about! “You’ll fall in love with the dance just like youth under the Protectorate did. No precisely set dance steps, no rules, just a dance floor and enough courage to turn it loose,“ Petr Koura, author of Protectorate Nights for Swing Kids and Potapkas, defines the war-time swing craze. Koura’s book describes the subculture of this dance style, which tried to rebel against the prevailing morality of the time. “They enjoyed being different, being the centre of attention. Their attire and behaviour were intended to provoke. They wanted to display how different from mainstream society they really were. Speaking of extremes, some Swing Youth would sport light bulbs connected to batteries so they could signal a change in direction when they moved,” explains the 38-year old author.
The book was launched by Petr Jarchovsky and Jiří Padevět.
36 — science
The smallest disparity then introduced into society was bound to create negative, highly guarded and outraged reactions. “That’s what they enjoyed the absolute most. They wanted to be different; but at the same time they were not from the outskirts of society. Oftentimes, they were considered rich rabble, kids from good families, as their outfits were certainly not cheap,” says Koura, a historian currently lecturing at Charles University. To get an idea how Potapkas, Bedlas and all the other Swing Kids looked like, it might help to recall Martin Dejdar’s character of Bejby in the film Big Beat (Šakalí léta). “I remember how we dressed him in outlandish, garish colours and felt that he didn’t look tough enough. The historians we consulted quickly put our minds at rest when they pointed out that during the war years, Swing Youth were even more audacious. Hence, Bejby became bolder, too,” remembers Petr Jarchovský, the screenwriter of the popular 90s movie. Indeed, Jarchovsky became one of the earliest fans of Petr Koura’s book. “I am very grateful to have such readers; I guess I mostly wrote the book for people like Petr. He first opened the book in bed, before going to sleep, and the next morning he called to tell me that he only drifted off after page 180,” Koura smiles. And Jarchovský adds: “I just had to find every song mentioned in the book on the internet to listen to it. I am no big fan of social networks, but this convenience I find very entertaining. All at once, you get to understand what that era was all about and can live with every line of the book.” Neither the Swing Kids nor their music received any kind of similar understanding from the Nazi regime. Its main concern was the moral education of youth in Germany, but the Swing Kids in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia also did not escape the authorities’ attention. “Just the fact that the Nazi representatives wrote home about them in their regular reports to Berlin bears witness to what kind of attention they garnered. To some extent they were regarded as dangerous,” Koura explains. The Nazi were not able to subdue them, however. According to historical documents, almost every larger town in the Protectorate had their own brand of Potapkas; overall, several hundreds of them called the occupied lands their home. After the war, the Potapkas gradually came to be called the Belters, as a low-slung belt became one of their main distinctive marks. Eventually, rock and roll replaced swing as the preferred music style, which of course also called for new dance steps. Swing continued to live on, however, even though it no longer had to battle social mores nor suffer through war and occupation. Readers will find Petr Koura’s book, bringing to life the story of the Swing Kids, definitely worth their time. And they will be inspired to listen as well. “When I started my research, I had no idea what fantastic phenomenon I was reading up on. Listening to the music, the entire gamut of this movement revealed itself to me,“ so the author. Koura began writing his book when he started work on his PhD thesis.
37 â€” science
Remembering Josef Ĺ kvoreckĂ˝ â€œEvery aspect of my book is linked with Josef Ĺ kvoreckĂ˝, the writer. It was he who kept jazz and the Swing Kids alive in his memory, reminisced about them in his books and made sure they survived the second half of the previous century. After I decided on this topic for my thesis, I started to correspond with him via email. He would always answer within one or two days and was very interested in my progress, my opinions and the details in the preparations for the book. He even recorded a tape for me with Canadian documentaries, which helped me in my research. To this day, I deeply regret never having met him in person. Six months prior to his death, he wrote my bookâ€™s foreword. Five days before he died, he wrote his last email to me. I am immensely grateful that he was willing to advise me and that he helped to shape my work,â€? Koura describes his cooperation with Josef Ĺ kvoreckĂ˝. Publishing aÂ book with Academia. Lucky chance or fate? â€œThe book has almost 1000 pages, and when I started out, I told JiĹ™Ă PadevÄ›t from the Academia publishing house about it. He asked me whether I already had a publisher. After hearing my negative answer, he just said: â€œNow you do.â€? Only later did I find out that in the 80s, JiĹ™Ă had been a punk and that he had been following my writing career for some time. Without his help and the involvement of the publishing house, my book would have hardly seen the light of day. They also helped me with the rights to the financially demanding photographs, which enrich the bookâ€™s pictorial aspects,â€? concludes Petr Koura. One final mystery: who unified the world of swing? â€œI have to admit that to this day I still donâ€™t understand how at the end of the 30s Swing Youth all over the world came to wear the same type of clothing. I mean, I understand how they were able to unify their style in the US, but how this made its way across the ocean to our end of the woods is beyond me. At first, I thought that the film Gone with the Wind had something to do with it, but no copies of the film existed in the Protectorate and Czechoslovakia officially got to see it only after 1991. But other explanations apart from the dissemination by film elude me. American films would often display rebellious attitudes and wild and outrageous attire, so thatâ€™s my best bet, but I donâ€™t have any proof.â€œ
To recycle is fashionable. People have started making jewellery and notebooks from recycled materials. Young women exchange clothes that theyâ€™ve grown bored of with others; from old shirts, they sew skirts and old but well-preserved clothing more often ends up in collection bins rather than trash cans. And so, one day, teenaged Anna SukovĂĄ wondered whether it would be possible to recycle and pass on toys in the above manner as well. Her resulting project, Toys with aÂ Story, will help members of underprivileged groups in society and ease the burden on the budgets of kindergartens and childrenâ€™sÂ homes at the same time.
Text: Jana SamĹĄukovĂĄ, photo: Barbora MrĂĄÄ?kovĂĄ
While spring cleaning several years ago, Anna Sukova and her siblings filled two bags with old toys they were no longer playing with. They intended to donate some of them to their old kindergarten, but others were to go straight into the trash. Instead, Anna got the idea that if the broken toys were repaired, cleaned and then sent on, they would probably still bring plenty of smiles and playing time to other children. And behold â€“ the future winner of the first annual â€œCompete and Run a Businessâ€? competition was born â€“ Toys with a Story. Compete and run aÂ business, the first step towards aÂ dream come true The Compete and Run a Business project aims at high school students with interesting entrepreneurial ideas and the drive to turn them into reality. In the eight weeks after application and acceptance into the project, students complete specific tasks and consult with mentors to help them sort out and fine-tune their ideas and to come up with a business plan â€“ they may also conduct market research or surveys of their potential customers. Anna also put to good use the feedback she received from jurors in the preliminary regional round, which she won easily. On her path to the national competition Anna was also
38 â€” CSR
AÂ teddy bear for CZK 800 or aÂ toy with aÂ story?
39 — CSR
aided by her high school teacher Ms Palová, who supported Anna not only with her enthusiasm but also with many valuable ideas and guidance. Anna Sukova’s Toys with a Story So what will be the story of the toys that Anna will get her hands on? Damaged and soiled toys will be cleaned and repaired by people from underprivileged social groups, including seniors, single mothers, parents living in shelters. “Once my project gets under way, we will need all the help we can get – we will need drivers, warehouse workers, repair staff. I will offer work to people that need to supplement their income,” adds Anna. The resale prices of the toys will hence depend on how much work went into the restoration of the toy and on a particular item’s size. “You’ll be able to buy a teddy bear for 800 crowns. Or you can get a toy with a story – you’ll know who restored it, you’ll contribute to a good cause and you’ll save. The toy won’t be new, but it’ll be just as new.” The social aspect of the project impressed the jury of the competition’s national finals the most. On the panel were representatives of the start-up Liftago, the UP21 incubator, the creative agency Zaraguza and advisory firms Blackfox Advisors and KPMG Česká republika. “The appreciated how sensibly I approached such a fairly sensitive topic and they also really liked the Toys with a Story name,” Anna explains. “Anna’s idea really intrigued me and very early on it was among my three favourites. Her Toys with a Story project’s social aspect played a very important role – giving toys a new life and involving underprivileged women. I believe that this idea has a good chance to succeed in real life. I definitely got my fingers crossed for Anna,” so Roman Maco, marketing director at KPMG Česká republika, who also had a seat on the jury. So what are the plans for the future? Anna is still at the beginning of her entrepreneurial career but plans to found a limited liability company next year. In the meantime, she is contacting kindergartens willing to help her organise toy collection drives and that also may buy her restored products in the future. Anna is also preparing a website and an e-shop to sell the refurbished toys. She already has taken care of her business’ logo – based on a photo she took of her younger brother holding a teddy bear. At this point, she is restoring old toys by herself in her room – from her friends, she has collected several dozens. “I am also working on raising the funds to pay my first employees, ”Anna adds. During the summer, Anna will also travel to the US to gain valuable experience. The ten-day trip to Chicago, which will include several entrepreneurial seminars, was one of the prizes for the winner of the competition. Anna also received financial start-up support and a three-month membership in the Prague StartUp Centre. The young entrepreneur is happy to report that she received may offers after winning the completion, for both finances and cooperation. But Anna first wants to, in her own words, “learn how to swim” and work on her dream by herself. “I don’t do anything halfway” The 18-year old high-school senior, a student at the Karlin Business Academy in Prague, is getting ready to enrol at the Business Administration Faculty of the University of Economics in Prague. While studying, she still plans to devote a lot of time to her start-up project. “I now feel that I am at a great starting position and I really want to take advantage of that. Before me
are my final high-school exams and university admission tests, and trying to do business at the same time is really demanding. I’ll either sink or swim, but I am definitely rearing to go. I am not the type of person who will do things only halfway and I definitely will not give up,“ Anna adds, smiling with determination. She envisions depositing toy containers around town, to give everybody the chance to contribute to her project. In all your future endeavours, the best of luck to you, Anna!
The Compete and Run a Business competition for high school students The Compete and Run a Business Competition is the brainchild of Martin Vítek and David Friedl. It aims to support high school students in their entrepreneurial plans with the help of a mentoring programme and special competition tasks. Anna Suková and her Toys with a Story project dominated the first annual contest. Anna was followed by Klára Urbanova and her Hade Made hair accessories project. Second runners up were Vít Černý’ s Eko Nuts project and Barbora Romová Bus Radar application. The competition is open to young entrepreneurs as well as to established companies that would want to serve as mentors or contribute financially. For more information, please visit www.soutezapodnikej.cz.
A lonely trip around the world. Not a soul anywhere, just a yachtsman, his boat and the dream to make it to harbour among the first. And then, just getting there. The best of the best complete the famous Vendée Globe yacht race in three months. Of the initial entries, only half make it to the finish line. The wait for the first Czech competitor may soon be over; Milan Koláček is in the middle of preparations.
Milan Koláček (1979) The Czech Offshore Yachting Association’s Yachter and Personality of 2012, Milan Koláček also won the French SoloYachting Championships in the same year. He is the multiple winner of the Czech Offshore Yachting Championships. At the World Championships, he gained a bronze medal in the Fireball category and a bronze medal from the Mediterranean Generali Solo 2000 Championships. You can read about his other successes at www.milankolacek.eu.
Text: Ivo Půr, photo: Barbora Mráčková a archiv Milana Koláčka. Our thanks to the Café Prostor for allowing us to photograph in their premises.
A thrilling spectacle for 80 days
These days, extreme and endurance sports attract masses of spectators. The age at which humans are able to deliver peak performances continues to rise. One race combines the desire to surpass human as well as technical abilities with extremes of both race duration and route length â€“ the famous VendĂŠe Globe. Those lucky enough to follow the last running of this roundthe-world single-handed (solo) yacht race, sailed non-stop and without assistance, have to agree that the voyage of lone yachters in forgotten corners of the globe can be, thanks to modern technologies, quite a thrilling spectacle. As things have it, it is quite likely that the next â€œlast true adventureâ€? will also have the first Czech contestant at its start. For this edition of Marwick, we met Milan KolĂĄÄ?ek and talked to him about his plans. Of course, we also wanted to find out details about his preparation for the VendĂŠe Globe.
KPMG ÄŒeskĂĄ republika has also agreed to carry out a feasibility study of the tax and legal set ups of all transactions involved in the realisation of this dream to limit possible tax inefficiencies.
42 â€” interview
43 — interview
Vendée Globe A lone yachter without any stops and without any assistance, those are the three main conditions of the Vendée Globe race, which has been taking place every four years since 1989. The only acceptable exception to the above rules is granted to those trying to save a fellow competitor, a common occurrence in the race. The start and finish of the race is in the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne (and a participant may return here once during the first ten days of the race), its route leads competitors once around the globe and takes more than three months to complete.
Where do you get the courage and the determination to take part in the extreme Vendée Globe? To participate in an event like a nonstop yacht race around the world, one needs expertise and experience from a wide array of fields; you have to know about the logistics and technology involved and of course also how to sail a boat. The idea to participate comes to you gradually and over a long time. In every sport, athletes set themselves higher and higher goals and only today, I feel that I can say that I have sufficient knowledge and experience to even start preparing for something like the Vendée. What did your beginnings in yachting look like? When I was ten, my father began to build his own boat and I helped him. We went to the Orlik Reservoir and other Czech waters. Later, my dad bought a 420 yacht (a two-man yacht for circuit yachting with three sails) and we started to race and sail oceans. In 2002, I moved to Ireland, where I raced smaller and larger boats and also worked on them. To participate in a Transat race (a transatlantic race of either solo or two-handed boats) was my dream. How long is the road towards the fulfilment of such a dream? A dream is one thing, reality another. The biggest problem was getting a boat, so I went to New Zealand, with the intention to learn how to build yachts there. I would build my Transat boat by myself, which seemed like the most viable way to get a boat. So I saved and learned. Then I came home, found several partners who all helped with something and, within a year, I was at the start of the Minitransat in France. This turned into several Transats. Three times, I raced single-handedly between France and the Archipelago of the Azores, then almost 5000 nautical miles between France and Guadeloupe via the South Atlantic, via the North Atlantic from Quebec to Saint Mailo in France and participated in tens of solo and two-handed off-shore races in the Atlantic.
Alone on the ocean, what does one think about? You enter every race to arrive at your destination as fast as possible, so most of the time is taken up by collecting data and evaluating your strategy and tactics based on that data. That also involves the continuous tuning of the autopilot, which is set according to a slew of parameters. I also have to watch and study the weather or repair some equipment that may not withstand the stress of such a long sail. There’s constantly something to do. During the rest of the time, one has all kinds of thoughts. Not enough sleep, a stormy sea, solitude – sometimes it indeed is a kind of purgatory. You wonder about your values; you figure out what’s really important and realise that in real life, we get too absorbed in our environment. Alone on the ocean, you are confronted with its size and with nature and all that it entails. Your only friends are the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky and the ocean, which is either calm or stormy. Other people go to the mountains or to the woods for such an experience. Once you see the sunrise or a clear starry night at sea, it becomes part of you.
So what are your plans for the next four years that remain until the start of the next Vendée? In the upcoming season, I plan to participate in the 48th annual Solitaire du Figaro. This is a solo race of approximately 40 boats and most Vendée contestants take part in it. This is really the best way how to prepare for the longer race in four years. The Solitaire du Figaro is raced on the English Channel, the Irish Sea and the Bay of Biscayne in four stages of ca. 650 nautical miles each. Usually, about a half a million spectators come to see the start. Apart from this, I also will continue in my preparations for the Vendée and talk to potential sponsors and partners that will want us to represent them. Do you still have time to do something else other than yachting? This is probably the same if you ask hockey or tennis players or skiers what they do when they are not on the ice, on the court or on the slopes. People can imagine that they train in a gym or discuss theory with their coaches or travel. My sport has a couple of additional areas that we need to be experts in, for example, meteorology and its analysis, telling us which way to go so that we reach our destination the fastest. We also have to know how to deal with electronics, mechanics and various repairs that are just about omnipresent. Our boats are equipped with the latest technology and most often, we are dealing with prototypes. I race among the top of solo-yachters; all of them are professionals. I constantly try to keep up with them, even though I don’t have the same conditions. Between races, I have to look for work on other teams or I am hired by other competitors. My family supports me 100%, even though things are all the more difficult because we live abroad.
44 — interview
Vendée Globe is nevertheless a somewhat bigger mouthful. What does one have to do to be able to start? For the last couple of years I have been living in France, commonly considered the cradle of solo yachting. Here, I am in direct contact with the elite in this sport. I am gathering all the information that I need and training with the best. A second crucial element is a team. For similar undertakings, this team needs six people who aren’t doing anything else but prepare for the race and about three experts that get hired to work on the boat. The actual race is then up to me, and the technical team can then breathe a sigh of relief that I’ve left. (He adds with a smile.)
Text: Anna Batistová, photo: Barbora Mráčková
46 — business lifestyle
Our brand is our biggest asset
Fifteen years ago, a new, fairly haphazardly organised music festival premiered on Ostrava’s Stodolní street. Today, it belongs among the ten best music festivals in Europe – at least according to the British Guardian. The Colours of Ostrava have become an event surpassing Czech and often even international standards. To find out how the festival has gained this reputation and what its future holds, we talked to two members of the festival’s inner management, Colours of Ostrava’s sales director Philipp Malý and Antonin Prama, head of Meltingpot, an international discussion forum.
47 — business lifestyle
The two businessmen, Philipp Malý, former CEO of JTI Czech Republic, and Antonín Parma, former co-owner and front man of Blue Events, a leading business event agency, jumped on Colours of Ostrava’s bandwagon fairly recently, at a time when it was already running at full speed. Even so, both have witnessed at least two of the festival’s breaking points. The first of the two was entirely positive and happened in spring of 2016, when British daily The Guardian included the Colours of Ostrava festival among the ten best music festivals in Europe. “We had been collecting awards before; in 2014 we were nominated for the European Music Award among the largest music festival. The Guardian’s ranking wasn’t the first one but all of us were really happy about it,” says Philipp Malý. As we are talking about how an originally miniscule festival got to where it is today, one name comes up repeatedly. Zlata Holušová has been at the helm of the Colours since their inception. From the start, she had the vision of creating
a big international festival of European calibre. She also is the mastermind that scripted the entire multi-genre music event. “When we poll our visitors to ask them what they are looking forward to the most, the answer most often given is: We look forward to all that is new and that we don’t know. This speaks of the incredible trust that the audience has in the festival’s dramaturgy and this has also inspired our slogan: In Colours We Trust,” explains Philipp Malý. From its inception, the festival has been trying to offer to the audience a broader definition of culture, bringing to Ostrava more than just bands that usually get radio playing time. “We want to educate, that’s our calling,” adds Malý. Hence, this year, alongside big stars like Jamiroquai, Imagine Dragons, Norah Jones and alt-J, the Colours festival will feature artists who are just starting out on the road to stardom, among them Michael Kiwanuka, Faada Freddy and Benjamine Clementine. But not just the dramaturgy plays an essential role in the success of the Colours festival. A lot also depends on the production team. Even though its budget can by no means compare to that of similar festivals aboard, according to Phillip Malý, the Colours team refuses to make compromises: “From our artists, their agencies and tour managers we receive such positive feedback; for them, we are one of the best festivals.” The Colours of Ostrava team refuses to take shortcuts when it comes to sound quality. “This is one of the reasons why our festival is so popular among bands and tour managers. We let
Antonín Parma (on the left), chief of the Meltingpot forum and Philipp Malý, CFO of Colours of Ostrava
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them make beautiful music, which is something that isn’t standard procedure elsewhere. And I don’t just mean other Czech festivals, but also abroad,“ says Philipp Malý. The festival’s exceptionality is certainly also aided by its location. Since 2012, it has been taking place in industrial zone of Dolní Vítkovice. “Most people that visit the Colours for the first time feel that they happened upon a movie set,“ so Antonín Parma. British singer and songwriter MIKA, for example, has fallen in love with the premises. In his words: “Colours is a festival that looks like the movie set for films like Mad Max and Waterworld, filled with pop, rock, world music, jazz and electronics.” Apart from the almost magical combination of world music and industrial smoke stacks, Dolní Vítkovice also offers practical advantages, for example its segmentation. “Because of its location, people aren’t afraid to take their children to our festival. If you want to take a break from the music, the area offers plenty of space to hide away. You can walk around, take in a photography exhibit, go watch a movie or relax in a beach chair. Compared to other festivals, we don’t have a throng of people cumulating in one airfield or one strip of grass. I think people very much enjoy and appreciate that there’s no pushing and shoving,” says Antonín Parma. The festival’s extensive supplementary programme was also highly valued by the Guardian in its assessment. The festival’s premises offer a climbing wall, a bike rental, playgrounds, animation programmes for children as well as babysitting and even a tent for breast feeding mothers. Not surprisingly however, the festival’s atmosphere remains the most significant reason for the Colour’s inclusion among the year’s music events of European quality. The festival’s ambience emanates from the interaction between the environment and the festival’s organisers, the artists and their audience.This brings us to the second of the event’s breaking points, which at first sight seemed purely negative for the festival and its organisers. Last year’s event was rained out with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. The festival’s tent area stood under water; puddles, lagoons and mud everywhere. The organisers expected full-fledged failure, a total washout. But something entirely unexpected happened. “In all humility and modesty, the way the organisers were able to manage the situation and especially how the audience reacted to it all, to us confirmed that the festival has become an event that exceeds normal Czech production standards. Even in the biggest downpours and in the cold, thousands of people continued to dance in front of the stage – it was truly heart-warming,” remembers Antonín Parma.
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Colours of Ostrava Philipp Malý agrees and adds: “When I saw those thousands of different-coloured raincoats at Caro Emerald’s concert, I finally understood why the festival is named Colours. I had no clue that raincoats could have that many colours. I mean, it was really raining hard but the audience acted as if the weather was glorious; all were dancing and having a great time. Without such an audience, we would have never been able to create this atmosphere. People really love the festival and its brand. That experience provided us with energy for the next 365 days.” And it really does take plenty of energy to organise such a festival. The smooth organisation of the festival involves four thousand people; today, its turnover runs in the triple digit million Czech crowns. The festival’s business strategy has become just as important as its dramatic composition. “Our brand is most important to us. ‘Colours of Ostrava’ as a brand resonates very positively and not only among our visitors but also in the general public. We are watching the brand’s direction very careful and shape it the way we want it to go. We want it to remain young, current and attractive to the festival’s audience,“ explains Philipp Malý. The Colours’ leadership very much appreciates that for its business partners, the festival’s attractiveness emanates in particular from its interesting multifaceted audience. “Our partners feel that they can easily address the Colours’ visitors and that part of the festival’s positive image will rub off onto their brands,” says Malý and continues by illustrates his statement with interesting data. The Colours are by far not just a regional festival, as 65% of its visitors come from outside of Ostrava. This
A multi-genre music festival organised since 2002 in Ostrava with annual visitor numbers in the tens of thousands. Since 2012, the festival has been taking place in the unique Dolní Vítkovice area. Past performers include stars like Björk, Robert Plant, Bobby McFerrin, Sigur Rós, ZAZ, Sinéad O’Connor and John Newman.
means that they have to pay not only for their festival tickets, but also for travel and accommodations, which presumes at least medium or even higher purchasing power. The festival’s audience is young, as 80% are between the ages of 18 and 35; and discerning; 66 % of the Colours’ visitors have a university degree. The above characteristics of its audience were the main reasons why the organisers came up with the idea to upgrade the festival’s entertainment and music with the intellectually challenging Meltingpot, an international discussion platform. Last year saw the premiere of this combination, while in the past the festival also featured two or three discussion scenes. “The moment when we said ‘Eureka!’ came during a presentation on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, organised together with the Pant Association and the European Commission. Something utterly amazing happened: The hall where the presentation took place was standing room only, even though the weather outside was great and headliners were playing elsewhere. People decided on this topic, instead. So that certainly was an impulse to go into this direction,” explains Philipp Malý. Antonín Parma thus became the head of the newly founded Meltingpot forum, which runs independently of the festival. Parma’s ambition is to create another strong brand and an internationally respected discussion platform that will break through the confines of being just part of the festival’s supplemental programme and will become an attractive destination in its own right. According to Parma, the platform’s potential could already be seen it its first year: “Even though it was our inaugural year with plenty of shortcomings, Meltingpot’s individual venues were visited by 14 thousand people, all in the four days of the festival, during which people initially planned to be entertained only through music. So for us, this proves that our plans make sense and have a future.” What’s more, last year, Meltingpot was able to secure many international stars and respected speakers – Dana Shechtman, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Historian Timothy
of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University in England, and many others have already confirmed their participation in this year’s second annual Meltingpot. Maybe the most urgent topic to permeate this year’s Meltingpot will be education. “We cooperate with EDUin, an non-profit organisation focusing on systematic propagation of education, and they suggest interesting topics and guests. We are also talking to a number of successful firms that want to communicate a similar message to the world and they are interested in aiding the development of education. If, in the future, we are able to hook up with some significant brand, we would like it to be a brand that corresponds to the ideas behind Meltingpot. We wouldn’t want to cooperate with a company that is only trying to upgrade its brand,” Parma elaborates. Meltingpot does not want to be just another conference or summit, where people just get together to talk. Instead, its
The international forum alongside Colours of Ostrava. With the motto "Ideas without borders" is conceived as a modern platform for the exchange of opinions and ideas in the areas of current politics, economics, education, science, arts, travel, personal development or philosophy.
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Snyder stand as examples for a much larger group. And their response was great. “These are people who present all over the world, but the discussion forum in combination with a music festival and the ambience of smoke stacks and factory halls gave them goose bumps; they hadn’t experienced something like this before. Without us having to ask, they gave us great feedback and some of them even recommended us to other personalities and told them to participate in Meltingpot,” explains Parma. Robert Fulghum, the famous writer, confirms Parma’s word. Last year, the author probably experienced the largest book signing of his life at the festival: “It’s a perfect combination that makes sense both to the body and the soul. One gets to think as well as to have fun and dance. In the US, people mostly go to festivals to be entertained, to drink, smoke and not to think. But here, it’s the thoughts that count, too. “ Political Scientist and Historian Jacques Rupnik, Educational Innovator Sister Cyril Mooney and Sugata, Mitra Professor
creators envision a large communication platform. “Especially for young people, who often times are surrounded by negations, we would like Meltingpot to provide inspiration from the stories and successes of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. So that they maybe get to realise that it makes sense to vote, become an entrepreneur, support new forms of education, work on one’s personal development and to confront one’s experience with others, maybe even abroad,” so the head of Meltingpot. According to Parma, the Colours of Ostrava and Meltingpot brands have one thing in common. “If we manage them well, both events will be without any borders and will let us realise anything that we can come up with. We only have to make sure that is all makes sense and that it creates something that will provide value and inspiration for tens of thousands of people,” adds Antonín Parma.
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