Digital transformation or digitalization is on everyone’s lips today. Digitalization offers a wealth of products based on new technologies and technological platforms that have the ability to reshape business processes, organizational structures and working methods. It has the power to reshape entire business models or even the entire market situation.
A few months ago, we talked about a four-stage approach to digitalization, which includes an analysis phase in which ideas are collected in workshops and business models are reconsidered. Today, we would like to explain this step in more detail.
Innovation phase with ideas workshops
To find out what you can do in a particular area of digitalization in a company – let’s say mobility or big data analytics – you have to take two approaches: Firstly, there are the technological and market developments to consider. They offer new ways of doing work or new ways of working and doing business in general. And then there are the people in the company’s departments who are familiar with most of the day-to-day processes, customers and applications.
We organize or design workshops to incorporate both sources of information:
Introduction: The workshop participants receive an introduction to the topics and objectives of the workshop. The client’s project manager is invited to say something about how the workshop fits into their organization’s digitalization efforts.
Impulses: In one or more keynotes, we offer information on the workshop topics. This can be a general introduction to digitalization (followed by a few key questions), an overview of a specific digital topic (e.g. what is big data all about) or the presentation of new functions of a specific software. Sometimes impulses are also given by technical experts from the customer or the project manager.
Collection of ideas and discussion: The workshop participants are given time to think about ideas. The ideas are written on cards and collected on a pin board. Each person who sticks a card on the pinboard is asked to present their idea. If desired, the ideas are prioritized together.
We have held several such workshops over the last year and a half and have always ended up with a surprisingly high number of suggestions. Most of the suggestions were quite simple and offered ideas for quick-win solutions to improve existing processes. Some of the suggestions were quite unorthodox – but we still thought they were valid, because in today’s business world, it’s the unorthodox business idea that wins through.
Momentum for change
As with all changes in a company, digitalization should involve all members of the company. They will be the ones to implement the changes in strategies, services and processes.
We see these workshops as a means of participation and use them explicitly to involve people in the transformation process: They are allowed to reflect on their work, put it in a different perspective with the impetus provided and make useful suggestions.
The client’s organizational management is required to accompany the idea workshops with a transparent process on how and why the ideas collected are dealt with further – which of them are prioritized, implemented in (pilot) projects and ultimately introduced in a department or the entire organization. In the workshops, we repeatedly experienced people who were willing to get involved and collaborate. This momentum can become a strong support for the changes driven by digitalization.