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Our Team

consists of 24 specialists.

LEAD Innovation introduces itself.

LEAD Innovation was founded in 2003 as a spin-off of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration by Michael PUTZ.

As the first and leading provider of the LEAD User Method in the German-speaking area, we contribute our experience and our extensive network to the innovation process of our customers. With a comprehensive range of management tools, we accompany companies from a wide variety of industries to innovation success.

We are innovation partners and support you from structuring and planning to inventing and marketing innovations. We accompany you unerringly to new products, applications or markets. With our innovation team of experienced employees, we support leading companies from many different sectors, from medium-sized companies to DAX corporations.

Michael PUTZ

Michael PUTZ_Managing Partner

Born in the Salzkammergut. He studied business administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, specializing in entrepreneurship & innovation, market and opinion research. After working at SHELL and PORSCHE, he concentrated on innovation management as a study assistant at the Innovation Department of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. He regularly lectures at MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in front of companies such as Google and NASA. In 2003 he founded LEAD Innovation.

+43 1 929 40 38

Daniel ZAPFL

Daniel ZAPFL_Partner

Born in Graz, Austria. Due to his personal interest in structured innovation management, he completed a Bachelor's and Master's degree with a focus on innovation management in Graz after several years in business. It is not coincidence that creates innovation, but a lived management approach is his credo. As a partner at LEAD Innovation, Daniel Zapfl is jointly responsible for the success of the innovation projects of his innovation partners. Well-known companies such as Carl Zeiss AG, Volkswagen AG, SAP or the Liebherr group of companies are among LEAD Innovation's customers.

+43 1 929 40 38

Carlos BELLO

Carlos BELLO_Director of Innovation Iberia

Born in Madrid. He is specialized in management of international innovation projects from Polytechnic University of Madrid and has accomplished an Advance Program in Innovation at IE Business School. He regularly works since 2007 with the European Commission in developing innovation strategies and evaluation of projects. After graduating in Architecture at Polytechnic University of Madrid he studied a master’s degree specialized in Design and Energy Efficiency at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He gained experience working at DRAGADOS and IBERDROLA, managing the european innovation strategy. He has also worked for medium and small size companies leading innovation departments. At LEAD Innovation he is responsible for leading the Spanish and Portuguese business from the office located in Madrid.

+34 664 066 405

Franz Emprechtinger

Franz EMPRECHTINGER_Director of Innovation DACH

Born in Ried im Innkreis. Matura at the Höhere Land- und Forstwirtschaftliche Bundeslehranstalt St. Florian near Linz. He then completed a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Social Sciences and a Master's degree in Strategy, Innovation and Management Control at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. After working in the sporting goods and food industries, he joined LEAD Innovation as Innovation Manager, specializing in fuzzy front end and business model innovation. As Head of Innovation, he was responsible for the entire range innovation management. He is currently on educational leave.

+43 1 929 40 38

Business Development

Angela Hengsberger

Angela HENGSBERGER_Head of Business Development

Born in Vienna. After graduating from a higher vocational school for tourism and economics, she completed her studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, majoring in Business Administration with a focus on Trade & Marketing, as well as Transport Economics & Logistics. In 2017 she obtained the Inbound Marketing Certificate, in 2018 a series of Sales and Marketing Certificates. 3 living foreign languages. Professional experience in marketing and sales. At LEAD Innovation she is responsible for Business Development.

+43 676 93 900 45


Tülay AKARSU_Business Development Manager

Born in Vienna. Matura at the Commercial Academy of the Vienna Business School with a focus on controlling. Studied business administration with a focus on foreign trade and diversity management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. During her studies she worked in the financial sector in the areas of private and corporate clients. Most recently, she gained practical experience in consulting at an international bank. She speaks 4 languages. At LEAD Innovation she is Business Development Manager.

+43 664 232 89 81

Julia klein

Julia HALUSA_Business Development Manager

Born in Vienna. Matura at the HIB Boerhaavegasse with focus on art education. After completing her bachelor`s degree in Italian Romance Philology and Spanish as second language at the University of Vienna, she gained professional experience in Italy and Austria, among others in Marketing & External Communication and Supply & Primary Logistics at ENI Austria. Currently studying for a Master`s degree. 4 living foreign languages. At LEAD Innovation she works as Business Development Manager. 

+43 664 881 67 520

Teresa Kropatschek

Teresa KROPATSCHEK_Content Editor

Born in Vienna. While studying journalism and communication science in Vienna, she specialized in PR, advertising and communication research and began to gain experience in PR agencies. After a few years, she moved to the company side to become even more familiar with this perspective. At LEAD Innovation she works as a freelance copywriter.

+43 699 1818 28 65

Innovation Management

Tanja Eschberger

Tanja ESCHBERGER_Head of Innovation

Born in Lower Austria, she graduated from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and George Washington University, where she specialized in strategy and innovation management. After professional experience in tax consulting, logistics and cash-in-transit, as well as voluntary project organization and management, she led her way to LEAD Innovation, where she works as Head of Innovation. She has led projects in the areas of building and structuring innovation management and developing product, process and market innovations. She also specializes in agile innovation management and has Scrum Master and Agile Coach certification. She has project experience in the automotive, construction and window industry, pharmaceutical, chemical, furniture and automation industries.

+43 676 574 5117

Gerhard Berthold

Gerhard BERTHOLD_Innovation Manager

Born in Vienna, Matura at the De la Salle School in Strebersdorf. After completing his bachelor's degree in Experience Marketing & Communication in St. Pölten, he gained professional experience in campaign and brand design as a consultant and project manager in advertising agencies. Due to his great interest in innovations and their successful diffusion, he completed a master's degree in product marketing and innovation management at the Austrian Marketing University of Applied Sciences/FH Wieselburg. Since 2019 "Strategic Play® Facilitator for LEGO® Serious Play®“, at LEAD Innovation he works as Innovation Manager.

+43 664 41 71 735

Julian Eberling

Julian EBERLING_Innovation Manager

Born in Vienna. A-Level at the commercial academy Vöcklabruck in Upper Austria. As lecturer and project manager for a non-profit project in Kenya, he studied Management, Communication & IT at the Management Center Innsbruck and at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Two years as a founder in the Austrian start-up scene were his entry into the world of innovation. He focused particularly on process and business model innovations. In one of the largest IT system houses in Austria, he was responsible for New Business Development, the design of mobile services and the development of the partnership with Apple. As Innovation Manager at LEAD Innovation, he leads innovation projects in New Business Development, Service Design. In 2018 he received the certificate "Certified Service Design Thinker" in Frankfurt. His project experience spans the industries including sports, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.

+43 664 913 91 92

Simone Müller-Keplinger

Simone MÜLLER-KEPLINGER_Research Analyst

Born in Innsbruck and raised in Seefeld, Tyrol. She completed a master's degree in sociology at the University of Vienna with a focus on labour market and organizational sociology. She is an expert in quantitative and qualitative methods of market and social research. She gained professional experience at the university as a research assistant and in the private sector: Telecommunications, health, construction and technology, renewable energy. At LEAD Innovation she works as a research analyst.

+43 664 12 69 339

Max Knot

Max KNOT_Research Analyst

Born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Grown up in the Czech Republic. At the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, where he successfully completed the specializations Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Consumer Research and Marketing Communication, he discovered his interest in innovation. In numerous projects during his studies, he gained experience in New Business Development and Business Planning. After working in Marketing & Sales in media consulting, he now works for LEAD. As Research Analyst he is responsible for the identification of LEAD users and experts. He is currently completing his Master's degree at the Austrian Marketing University of Applied Sciences in Product Marketing and Innovation Management. Besides German and English he speaks Mongolian and Czech.

+43 664 417 16 69

Pawel Miedzinski

Pawel MIEDZINSKI_Research Analyst

Born in Milicz, Poland. After graduating from high school, he completed a voluntary service in a children's facility in Graz and gained his first professional experience in waste management. In addition to his work, he completed a bachelor's degree with a focus on innovation management at the University of Applied Sciences Campus 02 in Graz. Since 2016 he has been living in Vienna, where he worked in the field of strategic technology management. He is currently completing his master's degree in innovation and technology management at the FH Technikum Wien. At LEAD Innovation he works as a research analyst.

+43 664 881 667 87

Janina Kepczynski

Janina KEPCZYNSKI_Illustrator

Janina Kepczynski is an illustrator and designer based in Vienna, Austria. After her communication design studies at the University of Applied Arts (Vienna) and Wdka (Rotterdam) she founded her graphic design studio JANINSKI with the focus on illustration. Her illustration style is playful, cartoony and is mostly a mix of analog and digital drawings. With a background in advertising she enjoys coming up with concepts for corporate identities, packaging, walls or customizing objects. She also does visual performances and live drawings at events. Together with Florine Glück she founded the Drawing Ladies Vienna, an open collective of female illustrators based in Vienna. Together they host the event Ladies Drawing Night and hold lectures about networking.

+43 1 929 40 38

Heyko Stoeber

Heyko STOEBER_Illustrator

Born in Frankfurt am Main. Graduated from high school in 1980, then studied "Communication Design" with a focus on illustration in Wiesbaden. Since then work as freelance art director and illustrator, since the turn of the millennium focus on visualization of ideas, concepts and complex facts from innovation, strategy and future workshops. At home near Wiesbaden.

+43 1 929 40 38

Bernd Trübswasser

Bernd TRÜBSWASSER_Illustrator

Born and living in Graz. After graduating from the Ortwein School for Art and Design, specializing in graphics and communication design, he gained professional experience as an advertising and commercial artist. Since 2012, after a relevant training as a comic draughtsman, focus on illustration and drawing comics in the US style. He supports LEAD Innovation with illustrations of ideas and concepts.

+43 1 929 40 38

Toni Trauner

Toni TRAUNER_Illustrator

Born in Korneuburg. Qualification to study at the adult education centre Floridsdorf. Afterwards studies at the FH Salzburg Multi-Media Art with focus on media design. Since then he has worked as a freelance illustrator. Main focus on storyboards for film, advertising and design for board and video games. Visualizes concepts equally with traditional and modern media.

+43 1 929 40 38

Management, Accounting & Controlling

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LEAD Innovation

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