Dr. Daniel Wittenstein

Former Research Fellow

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Areas of Interest:

Digital Technologies, Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Innovation Research, Impact of New Technologies on Society, Value Creation and Business Models

Academic Résumé

2018 – 2021
Doctoral Student supported by the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Doctoral Thesis: “Managing Digital Transformation ‒ Evidence from Hidden Champions and Measurement Approaches”

Since 2017
Postgraduate Studies in Business Research (MBR) at Munich School of Management, LMU Munich

2014 – 2017
European Master in Management

  • Business Administration (M.Sc.), LMU Munich, Germany
  • Diplôme Grande École (M.Sc.), EMLYON Business School, France
  • International Business (M.Sc.),  Aston Business School, England

2010 – 2013
B.Sc. in Business Administration, LMU Munich, Germany


Excellence and Merit Scholarship, EMLYON Business School



Wittenstein, Daniel (2022). Managing Digital Transformation - Evidence from Hidden Champions and Measurement Approaches (Innovation und Entrepreneurship). Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler. DOI

  • The digital transformation of the business environment and its impact on firm performance is of central interest in economics and management. However, it is still an open question how firms should optimally align their business models and strategies for the digital era. Daniel Wittenstein investigates this question by generating novel insights from hidden champions and by developing a machine learning-based approach for measuring firm-level digitalization.

Discussion Papers

Wittenstein, Daniel (2020). Champions of Digital Transformation? The Dynamic Capabilities of Hidden Champions, ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper, No. 20-065 . DOI

  • Hidden Champions (HCs) are small- and medium-sized global market leaders that repeatedly show superior innovation capabilities and economic performance. However, empirical evidence on how the digital transformation may affect their success story remains scarce. I argue that HCs show stronger dynamic capabilities which enables them to be better prepared for the digital transformation than non-HCs firms. To test this hypothesis, I use data from the Mannheim Innovation Panel. This allows me to identify a representative set of German HCs and develop a firm digital readiness index, reflecting the use of important digital technologies and applications. An instrumental variable estimation suggests that higher levels of digital readiness lead to an increase in share of revenue from innovations and productivity. In combination with higher average digital readiness levels of HCs compared to non-HCs, my findings indicate that HCs may indeed be better prepared for the digital transformation.

Presentations and Conference Visits

The Future of Hidden Champions - a Comprehensive Analysis of Their Digital Readiness
Research Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Location: Zugspitze

The Future of Germany's Hidden Champions in Times of Digital Transformation
SASE Annual Meeting – “Fathomless Futures: Algorithmic and Imagined”
The New School
Location: New York City, US

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Society
University of California
Location: San Diego, US