Humanoid Robot ‘Pepper’ Demonstrates Leadership Skills During Visit to Executive MBA Business & IT

On Tuesday, 23 July 2019, participants in the Executive MBA Business & IT had a special opportunity to work under the guidance of a non-human business executive and reflect on their experiences. This was made possible by three units of the ‘Pepper’ humanoid robot, brought into class by Dr. Ellen Schmid, Center for Digital Leadership Development, as well as Dr. Franziska Emmerling and Jakub Cichor of the Chair of Research and Science Management at the Technical University of Munich.

After an introduction highlighting the latest developments regarding the use of robots in the workplace, participants split into small groups to meet their Pepper unit. During a three-minute presentation, Pepper provided insights into its marketing department and commenced to assign a task to the group: to create a marketing strategy for a new product that facilitates the seamless proliferation of botanical knowledge.

During the following project work session, participants completed Pepper’s assignment. Afterwards, they were given a chance to reflect on their experience via rating surveys and open questions. In the next step, Dr. Ellen Schmid, Dr. Franziska Emmerling and Jakub Cichor hosted a group reflection session, during which participants could openly share their impressions on working with a robot and weighing the resulting opportunities and challenges.

After the academic part of the visit wrapped up, the three Pepper units posed for a photo opportunity and spent some leisure time with the group; chatting, taking photos and playing tic-tac-toe.

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