CEO

Lost in Transformation

24.06.2021

What the next stage of transformation may look like.

Ambitious goals now

The recent CS virtual conference “Transformation of Business” featured exciting speakers, great insights and a lively discussion. At the beginning of the conference, I had the opportunity to have an inspiring discussion with Carsten Knop and exchange ideas. Our main focus was on what the economy and society need now, in the post-COVID world. 

The message is clear: Now is the time to define ambitious goals. Why do things not move forward at the moment? Here a brief summary of how we see it: 

  • The frequently referenced error management culture is still wanting — both in enterprises and in the public administration.   
  • Projects and regulations are often specified down to the smallest detail, trying to eliminate any unexpected or unplanned occurrence beforehand. And that' s how we get in our own way. 
  • Carsten Knop couldn’t have summed it up better: "Politics is just a reflection of society. We need more pragmatism, and more risk. When managers make a decision, they also have to acknowledge when the make mistakes; we finally need a corporate culture that allows us to make mistakes and to learn from them.”  
  • What went through my mind was: try out more, think less about making mistakes!


After the pandemic, the corporate world will have to define their own future once again. So far, many companies have been flying by sight. But the fog has lifted. Now it's all about foresight — we need to define where we're headed. To this end, we now need new corporate visions with far-reaching, ambitious goals. This applies equally to the economy and the government: Ambitious goals that lead us to take bold action, that take us forward in the long term, and for which we will jointly develop solutions that will comprehensively change processes in day-to-day life and society. Ambitious goals will inspire us, both as employees and as citizens, and provide a sense of new beginnings after the COVID period. This mindset will not only drive digitization and digital transformation in a unique manner. The topic that will need our urgent and immediate attention in politics and in the economy is sustainability. 

Sustainability now

My personal suggestion is that sustainability should not be seen primarily as a matter of regulations or prohibitions. I see sustainability primarily as a driver for innovation. It is important for me to understand sustainability as an opportunity. A sensible, holistic sustainability strategy can provide us with the decisive competitive advantage. We shouldn't sit and wait for politicians to do something, but instead move forward purposefully as a company. 

For example, product origin: from supply chain and product labeling to holistic transparency. All this doesn't have to be a tiresome chore, but can be leveraged in terms of customer benefit. Then our customers will be willing to pay extra for it. The success of the Fair Trade Certified seal is just one of many examples. 

The relevance of sustainability strategies also becomes more than clear in the soon to be published Future IT Report — where we will see that: Two-thirds of all companies surveyed already have defined sustainability targets. Over 80% of respondents said that IT makes it easier for them to reach their sustainability goals. But: More than half of the companies say that, at this stage, IT and sustainability goals are not yet coordinated and aligned with each other. 

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Conclusion

Future business models must be digital and sustainable at the same time. Companies combining both will be “ahead of the game.” Let me say in closing that sustainability needs to be at the core of all transformation processes.  

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