Christine Wang, Lufthansa Innovation Hub
Christine Wang is the head of business development Asia at Lufthansa Innovation Hub, the innovation and corporate venture arm of Lufthansa, focusing on travel and mobility tech. Previously, she was the China CEO of an AI startup in Shanghai and did global strategy at Alibaba in Hangzhou.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to the start of the coronavirus crisis, what would you do differently?
I think we completely underestimated the degree to which COVID would impact our business and sector. Knowing what we know now, I think we would have urged us more to take the first signs in China/Asia more seriously and prepare more proactively what a spread of such a virus would mean for us or the travel sector.
On a personal note, I would have traveled more, rather than deferring travels to later in the year (such as a ski trip to Japan, or a surf trip to Sri Lanka).
What have you learned from this time about the way you’ll manage and communicate with your team moving forward?
Crises bring people together. And crises require more transparency, vigilance and touch points than usual. More frequent check-ins with the team, emotional pulse checks and also activities to raise team spirit (e.g., sports together) is something that I will preserve going forward, especially with the continuation of work from home and remote work.
What do you miss the most about travel?
Human touch and connecting with loved ones around the globe. The inspiration that comes with discovering new countries, connecting with other-minded people and self-growth by exposing oneself to new environments.
What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
Calming down and finding inspiration and stimulation by discovering new things (new trails, new sports, new hobbies) around one's neighborhood/city as well as the time to read more.
What lasting changes will there be to you personally from this time?
Being more grateful for every trip that I can take. Arranging myself to work flexibly and remotely.
What’s been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
I've been thinking hard about this question - but actually lockdown was just a blur in hindsight - I didn't really have a guilty pleasure, more like tried to discipline myself to "survive" the lockdown (creating routines such as running every morning, reading, doing intermittent fasting, etc.).
WiT Europe: Pockets of Recovery
Where are the pockets of recovery? Clearly, it is first in the markets with domestic travel possibilities. What are the trends being seen and where are the pockets of opportunities being seen for travel brands, suppliers and startups across markets in Asia?