Toughest question first: What is Digital Transformation?
I’d say, it describes the profoundest change of our times associated with digital technologies and applications. While digitization can be described as the conversion of analog information into digital information, digitalization is the actual process of the change that the introduction of new digital technologies induced, enabling phenomena known as the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Big Data, Blockchain or Virtual Reality and many more. Now, digital transformation can be understood as the total and overall societal (and thus economical) effect of digitalization, accelerating the already ongoing change in society and economy, that actually started long before computers entered our homes.
You have professionally focused on digital transformation for quite some time already and have gathered a lot of experience. What exactly is your professional background?
As an entrepreneur and consultant I have been involved in several projects dealing with the digital transformation of our economy and society and the future of work for the past 9 years. After studying Political Sciences, American Studies and Italian Culture both here in Germany and abroad, I started my professional career in Denmark in an „old economy“ corporation. Moving back to Germany I got the chance to dive deep into the upcoming startup ecosystem of Hamburg. As a co-founder and former CEO of the startup-hub betahaus Hamburg, I have been creating a well-known infrastructure for innovation, technology and new work, consulting both young startups as well as traditional large organizations in all kinds of transformational projects.
You have been building bridges between those different eco-systems, bringing the new spirit of tech-startups to the old economy.
I wanted to enable large organizations to develop a more entrepreneurial mindset and manage innovation-projects differently. I am interested in what a real agile mindset looked like, collected all kinds of new innovative methods and organizational models of entrepreneurship. My team and I curated and moderated tech-conferences, published articles in tech-magazines and were curious how our knowledge could be adapted to traditional companies, designing and implementing co-creation and intrapreneurship projects in large international corporations. I got the chance to write some of our experiences down in my book together with my co-author Christoph Giesa „New Business Order“ (Hanser, München 2014), taking the reader on a quest for answers, how startups might fundamentally change society and economy.
What will be your main focus as Head of Digital Transformation at GBS?
I am responsible for the concept and implementation of the Goethe Digital Transformation Lab, designing programs around agile, entrepreneurial and creative leadership. This includes bringing the competence cluster „digital transformation“ to live and connect it to the Digital MBA as well as the Leadership Lab. I am looking forward to introducing agile project methods and digital work tools and creating our very own „Co-Creation Space“ at the GBS.