TinyBox is a global innovation think tank based in San Francisco with teams in London, Munich and Shenzhen.

Let's talk Mail: steven@tinybox.me WhatsApp: +49 171 62 69 720 




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Christoph Burkhard, TinyBox CEO


Why are Chinese companies so innovative? 

Almost every smartphone, eight out of ten computers and 13 of the 100 most valuable companies in the world come from China. The global balance of power is shifting and China has become an international innovation driver.  

While entrepreneurs and board members around the world label the Chinese as copycats while smiling, products and services from Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent, DJI, Byton and Xiaomi are flooding the European market.  

Be among the first to understand and adapt the successful systems and methods of the Chinese innovators in Shenzhen, Beijing & Shanghai.  

● Which megatrends are the drivers in China? ● What tools and strategies do Chinese startups use? ● What can German companies learn from this?  

There are many biases, assumptions and myths about Chinese innovation competence. We're on our way to China to find out what's right and what's wrong.  

We meet companies that have already overtaken their competitors in Europe and the USA and experience first-hand what makes China so successful.

Companies in China are leading in mobility, robotics and deep learning

Companies in China are leading the way in mobility, robotics, deep learning, cloud and more.  

Top 5 AI Companies  

1. DJI, the top manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles. Worth 15 billion USD 2. Ubtech Robotics, a global leading and humanoid robotic company. Worth 5 billion USD 3. SenseTime, an artificial intelligence company that focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies. Worth 4.5 billion USD 4. Cambricon, a newer company that builds core processor chips for intelligent cloud servers, intelligent terminals, and intelligent robots. Worth 2.5 billion USD 5. CloudWalk, an artificial intelligence facial recognition firm. Worth 2 billion USD


AI is changing everything: 

Companies that do not incorporate AI in their business strategy today will no longer exist tomorrow. The companies that already understand how AI improves products, how AI helps to better understand customers, how it optimizes internal workflows, and enables completely new business models will be the winners of tomorrow.

So what are these four weeks going to do for you? We have built this Masterclass for all those who want to ensure their company will still exist tomorrow, and want to contribute to that goal. AI will play a major role in every aspect of our lives and work, and we want you to be one of the first to understand how AI can help you become a Future Leader.

After the trip, you will know:  

- ... why AI is a huge chance for you and your company 

- ... why you need to become an AI expert by yourself - AND:

- ... how to become an AI expert 

- ... many AI-examples from practice

- ... how to get your team to get more involved with AI

- ... how to find out where AI can already be used by you

- ... the common myths about AI and can invalidate them

- ... how you can lead your company into the AI age

- ... which skills are more in demand than ever for managers in the AI age

You will get our new Book: Don't be a Robot Seven Survival Strategies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by TinyBox CEO Christoph Burkhardt

You will get our new Journal: The Innovator's Journal A daily guide to become an innovator by TinyBox Co-founder Steven Mc Auley 


The Masterclass Program:

PART 1 - IDEATION - 2 Weeks (1.-10. November, Remote)

The Masterclass starts on 1 November with a virtual Executive Briefing for all 20 participants. Via Zoom we talk about the challenges of the next four weeks and clarify organizational matters.  

Every day, the participant receives a 90 second microlearning in a private chat via WeChat, in which we present a successful AI use case. We explain how this works, why AI is necessary and how to adapt the solution.  

Over the entire period of time, participants can ask us questions about AI and digital transformation in WeChat.  

Through this approach we collect all questions and ideas of the participants during the first two weeks. 

PART 2 - EVALUATION (11.-16. November in China)

There's nothing like first-hand experience. We fly together to China and visit the companies and start-ups that have already built solutions for our problems. We work with the most innovative companies in the world in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai to adapt the successful methods.

PART 3 - EXECUTION (17.-30. November, Remote)

We worked together for two weeks on the relevant challenges facing the participating companies. Then we spent a week researching solutions. Now we have to integrate what we have learned into our own business model.  

We again work with weekly virtual executive coachings and help our participants to build a strategy to successfully implement AI in their company.

That's in for you:

- 4 week program, 6 days in China, constant learning, 24/7 expert support 

- China Workshop-Days in Peking, Shenzhen, Shanghai &Hong Kong

- Reflective Strategy Sessions with AI Startups

- AI powered video microlearning every day

- Virtual Executive briefings once a week

- AI Masterclass Certificate


Teams around the globe:

TinyBox is a Think Tank for the adoption and implementation of emerging technologies. We help our clients around the globe connect humans and machines using the most relevant business cases. Our strategies create massive value by incorporating business strategy with technologies, people operations and leadership development, to ensure client success well into the future.

7 years of experience in building bridges between Silicon Valley and Europe:

In recent years, over 2000 European entrepreneurs and executives have been connected through us in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with start-ups, universities and enterprises.  

In workshops and strategy sessions the similarities were worked out and possible cooperation offers were discussed.  

We work locally with Google, Stanford, BMW i Ventures, Airbnb or UBER.

Clients around the globe


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From Invention to Implementation From Mission driven to Market driven From Mobile First to AI First


Artificial Intelligence can be divided into four waves with different starting points and speeds:

1 Internet AI

The first wave, Internet AI, is driven by the huge amount of data flowing through the web (YouTube, Gmail, Facebook, Netflix).  

It takes advantage of the fact that users automatically label data while surfing: buy vs. don't buy, click vs. don't click. These cascades of labelled data form a detailed profile of our personalities, habits, requirements and desires: the perfect recipe for customized content to keep us on a particular platform or maximize sales and profits.

2 Business AI

The second wave is called Business AI. Algorithms can be trained on proprietary data sets to improve decisions (IBM Watson, Palantir).

For example, Medical researchers can use deep learning algorithms to digest vast amounts of data about patient diagnoses, and discover a worthy personalized treatment protocol that would otherwise have been overlooked. By identifying hidden relationships that escape our linear cause-effect logic, Business AI can outperform even the most experienced expert.

3 Perception AI

The third wave of artificial intelligence, AI Perception, is enhanced with eyes, ears and other senses by collecting new data that has never before been captured (Amazon Echo, Face++).  

As sensors and intelligent devices spread through our homes and cities, we are on the verge of entering a trillion-sensor economy. These include voice interfaces (from Alexa and Siri to future super smart assistants who remember everything for you) and computer vision applications - from facial recognition to manufacturing quality testing.

4 Autonomous AI

The fourth wave is the most monumental: Autonomous AI. The autonomous AI gives machines the ability to grasp and respond to the world around them and move intuitively (Robosense, Waymo, Tesla).  

This wave contains autonomous vehicles that can "see" the environment around them: Recognize patterns in the camera (e.g. red octagons); find out what they correlate with (stop signs); and then use this information to make decisions (apply pressure to the brake to stop the vehicle slowly).



2pm: Arrival in Beijing

4.30pm: Check in Hotel

6pm: Welcome & Dinner

7pm: Keynote Speech presented by Christoph Burkhardt


9am: FACE++ 

The idea of a facial recognition system in your office that accurately identifies your face and grants you access to your workspace is already a reality in many Chinese companies.  

Megvii, an AI start-up which was founded in 2011 by three Tsinghua University graduates, is the company that developed one of the leading facial recognition platforms worldwide called Face++.  

The algorithms can accurately confirm people’s identities and allows them to conveniently use that face scan to enable services such as making payments or access to public transportation.  

China announced in 2018 that it wants to become a world leader in AI by 2030, and Megvii is eager to fuel this development with its facial recognition solutions, along with its other AI applications to drive progress in China’s smart cities goal. 

11.30am: AI Startup

1pm: DiDi 

Started as a copy of UBER, DiDi is now the model for UBER. DiDi has managed to change from a pure driving service agent to a system for all kinds of services, such as car purchase, insurance, car repair or weather data. Driving service agent; company value: 56 billion US dollars. 

4pm: AI Innovation Workshop with Steven Mc Auley

- How do data-driven business models emerge? - How do innovative corporate cultures emerge? - How do companies react to new technologies? 


8am: Departure to Shanghai

11.30am: Check In Hotel

2pm: Tongdun

Tongdun Technology is a Chinese Fintech company specializing in risk control services. The company develops online software solutions for anti-theft and fraud management applications in the areas of finance, insurance, payments, online shopping and social networking. The company was founded in 2013. 

4pm: Alibaba

Alibaba was founded by former English teacher Jack Ma in 1999 and operates the B2B platform of the same name Alibaba.com and the online auction house Taobao, among other things. According to the company, Alibaba is the largest IT company group in China.

7pm: Dinner Keynote presented by Steven Mc Auley


8am: Departure to Shenzhen

11.30am: Check In Hotel

1pm: Lunch & Startup Pitches @ Bee+ Coworking

Started as a copy of UBER, DiDi is now the model for UBER. DiDi has managed to change from a pure driving service agent to a system for all kinds of services, such as car purchase, insurance, car repair or weather data. Driving service agent; company value: 56 billion US dollars. 

3pm: DJI

Largest drone manufacturer in the world. Today, drones are already changing entire industries. Insurance companies, farmers and retailers are already relying on drones.

5pm: Tencent

What started out as an instant messaging software service in 1999 called QQ, has now developed into the world’s largest gaming company, technology giant, and multinational investment holding conglomerate.  

Tencent, which just recently invested US$150MM into Reddit, an American social news and discussion website, is an astonishing example of a Chinese success story in the realm of internet services and tech.  

Although it is best known for its super APP WeChat, which has more than one billion monthly users, Tencent is investing heavily in AI research and development. It launched its AI lab in April 2016 in Shenzhen and pushes the integration of AI into various fields such as cloud, smart hardware, healthcare and autonomous driving.  

The slogan “AI in all” shows the confidence and commitment of the company regarding the new technologies. 



Humanoid robots that teach pupils and students artificial intelligence and other languages. And service robots that are used in car dealerships, retail stores or airports.

11am: Robosense LiDAR

How can self-driving cars “see” their environment? Robosense gives them eyes.  

Robosense are a world leading LiDAR environment perception solution provider, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China. The majority of their approximately 200 employees are in R&D, and they strive to innovate core LiDAR technologies and AI algorithms.  

The LiDAR solutions have been widely used in a variety of application scenarios, such as self-driving logistics vehicles, buses, passenger cars and so on. As a CES 2019 Innovation Award Honoree, Robosense will demonstrate a solid-state LiDAR that is suitable for mass market commercialization, and continues to develop breakthrough technologies that accelerate the advancement of self-driving autonomous vehicles.  


Founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, Huawei is a telecommunications supplier based in Shenzhen, a special economic zone in China, in the immediate vicinity of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Group has around 180,000 employees and is owned by them.

4pm: Dorabot

Smart logistics solutions are enabled more and more by AI technologies. One of the market leaders in AI and robotics for logistics is Dorabot.  

Established in 2014 in Shenzhen by Spencer Deng, Dorabot is disrupting the logistics sector with robotic arms and computer vision.  

Optimization with ever-improving algorithms, image recognition and other AI technologies can drastically lower costs, improve speed and efficiency and achieve real smart logistics that constantly correct and enhance themselves. 


9am - Week Reflection Workshop with Christoph Burkhardt

- What have we seen and learned in the last 5 days? - What can we do directly from home? - What do the next steps look like and how do we have to adapt our corporate strategy in order to remain competitive in the future?

11am: Ferry from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

from 2pm: Individual sightseeing and departure

YOUR TINYBOX TEAM: Leading AI & China Experts

Christoph Burkhardt, TinyBox CEO & Busines Strategy Lead  

The German born cognitive psychologist and economist lives in San Francisco, California. Christoph is a sought after keynote speaker. His think tank TinyBox provides companies like Deutsche Bank, Intel, SAP, BMW or Merck with the tools and systems for technology-inspired use cases and an approach to cultural transformation that forms the basis of innovation-driven growth.  

In his most recent book “Don’t be a Robot - Seven Survival Strategies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” he uncovers seven survival strategies which will be crucial for businesses to respond to the massive AI paradigm shift approaching so many industries.

Steven Mc Auley, TinyBox Co-founder & AI Strategy Lead  

Business psychologist Steven Mc Auley is currently researching human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence and the future of work. He lectures in Dubai, Moscow, San Francisco and Hong Kong.  

As a member of the Association for the advancement of Artificial Intelligence and in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, he investigated why companies are currently failing in the use of machine learning. Steven expressed his desire to start his own business at a young age. He has founded two profitable companies and presented his research work to various institutions and companies such as Munich Re, Infineon, Süddeutsche Zeitung and SAP.

Raj Hayer, TinyBox Co-founder & People Strategy Lead

Understanding the impact and effect of cognitive and cultural diversity, and leveraging diversity of experience, can help propel innovation within organizations. Born in England, with Indian ancestry, a naturalized Canadian, and three years living in Germany, has influenced my interest in differing corporate cultures and the barriers to innovative thinking. 

Ideas. Innovation. Inspiration. But first, coffee. Connections happen over a cup of coffee, and cultivating strong, authentic relationships, and connecting like-minded people, is my passion. This skill has enabled me to deliver award-winning results and to lead with professional excellence. I look forward to connecting and collaborating with you.

Isabel Sum, TinyBox China Relations Lead

Currently living in Shenzhen, China, home of tech-giants such as Tencent and DJI, Isabel is fully immersed in a thriving AI-environment which resembles a unique ecosystem of innovation and growth.

She is born and raised in Germany and through her Chinese roots, always had a deep connection to the culture and mindset of the Chinese people. With her dual studies majoring in International Management for Business and Information Technology at IBM where she partly studied in San Diego, California, and worked in Cape Town, South Africa, Isabel has a very broad cultural understanding and deep experience of working with global teams. 

Dr. Heiko D. Müller, Financial Services Expert

Seasoned Financial Services executive developing innovative and leveraging existing businesses. Analyzing competitive environments to increase revenues and market share. 

Combining elements of B2B-sales, marketing and strategy to define and execute the game plan. Navigating implementation and bridging gaps between corporates and Fintechs. Using excellent networking and relationship management across hierarchies to enable trusted business results. Strong in identifying excellence and confronting weaknesses to unlock value in organizations and spur growth. Well versed in international settings and backed by robust skills and digital experience for large scale projects.

China Podcast from Shenzhen

Charming China is a podcast created by Isabel Sum, a German entrepreneur who moved to China to build up her company and explore Chinas vast culture and possibilities.

This podcast will feature interesting guests, foreigners as well as Chinese, who share their experiences of working and living in China. It is meant to help debunk some of the myths around China and give useful tips about how to start a business and how to succeed in this quickly changing environment. 

It is a business podcast with cultural context and aims to build a cultural bridge between China and the West.

Listen to Podcast