Digital change takes place. Whoever locks up to him often has to expect far-reaching consequences. For a long time the Brockhaus Encyclopaedia was regarded as the lexical reference book par excellence. On 30. June 2014, the distribution of the printed version was discontinued, 13 years after the founding of Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia was not only against the analogue Brockhaus, but also against the digital Microsoft Encarta and has established itself in the long term thanks to the vision to create a freely licensed and collaborative encyclopedia.
But what would have Company how can Brockhaus do that to prevent that? The answer is simple, at least in theory: to reconsider and redefine your own vision. The traditional motto "A Brockhaus in every living room" has served the brand for a long time, but has lost relevance in the emerging Internet age. A more timely vision á la "Making knowledge accessible to everyone!" Might have given the company the idea to reposition itself much earlier and initiate the (first) 2015 transformation "from knowledge provider to education provider".
Often companies lack a certain openness to innovation in order to develop these visions. The communication strategist and author Kerstin Hoffmann once said it aptly, albeit drastically, in a video interview: "I always tell my customers: you do not have to worry about digital change, that's the good news. The bad news: if you do not do that, you'll be dead (entrepreneurial) in five years. " It also provides the answer to the question of how digitalisation can be counteracted: the establishment of an "open mindset" in the company.
But how do you open up to new trends as a manager, managing director or employee? The implementation of an innovation team within the company can help. The purpose of this unit is to provide constructive answers and suggestions on the subject of digitization and to develop new ideas, even if they may not be directly integrated into existing company structures or business models.
In this way, hotel chains could have realized very early on that the share economy will have an impact on their own industry as well, and will be able to develop a new, matching vision - "accommodation in all locations" - as soon as Airbnb's private lettings first emerge. The professional mediation of hotel rooms and private rooms from a single source would have been the consistent response of the industry to an emerging trend. Or classic video stores could have taken an example from Netflix, which in its early days sent DVDs and BluRays on a subscription basis in the US and only later developed the streaming service. The long-established video rental chain Blockbuster has recognized the signs of the times too late and was ultimately pushed out of the market by Netflix in the US.
Digitization as added value
But: Companies should not take on digitalisation for their own sake. Rather, they must concentrate on the added value for the customer, which is made possible by digitalization. The expectations of the users are nowadays big: everything has to be as simple and comfortable as possible and new or improved products or services should bring a noticeable relief in the everyday life of the customers. The iPhone 2007 is an often-tried, but no less impressive example: the user was instantly clear about every user and the new device brought added value with his apps.
The above-mentioned innovations and visions in the course of digitization therefore always have to serve a specific purpose so that companies can be successful with them. This purpose or surplus value must be immediately visible to the customer, especially if it has to change established processes or even the habitus. Smartwatches, for example, have a significant advantage over various sports apps on the smartphone: they automatically record the movement and do not have to be started as usual on the mobile phone. Such details often make the difference and often lead to new technologies and trends being picked up and adapted quickly.
Open-minded in the future
In order to be able to use digitalisation for oneself, one should learn from the mistakes of others and always check their own actions for timeliness and usefulness. It is important that the customer is always at the center of the innovation project, tailoring services and products to the daily needs of the users. Otherwise you run the risk that innovations will be developed by people.
The in-house innovation department ensures that this user-centered development really happens. Because on the one hand she knows the customers and the trends, on the other hand she pays attention to openly approaching changes in order to be able to adapt the visions of the company if necessary. One possible strategy is to see visions as solutions for tomorrow, not just the day after tomorrow, and work accordingly. Because the digital change has increased the speed - so walk on the gas!
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