Digitalization needs personality 

 28 August 2020

"You don't have to fight technology, you have to master it." the German journalist and hacker Wau Holland once said.
After my return from the companies in Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Shenzhen, it became clear to me again how skeptical we are about technology here in Germany and Europe. That is also understandable. We live in security and prosperity, and this is largely based on industries that we now quite naturally cling to and keep alive. That's okay, as is the fear of job loss due to Digitalization. But it's not a solution. Because the Digitalization is not's already here. Deal with it. The question should not be: Will technology affect my business? But rather: How can I actively shape this change?

We are lazy, full, content and feel safe. And if things go badly for us, others will sort it out - at the latest the state. But that is a false sense of security. Apple, Google, Amazon and others prove every day how quickly it can happen to corporations and industries. And the impacts are getting closer. Tesla now has a larger market capitalization than VW, Daimler, BMW, GM and Ford combined and is setting up its Gigafactory outside the gates of Berlin. If you travel further and take the ICE west for 1 hour, you might think you're driving past an open-air museum.
Whether Tesla or e-cars are any good is a matter of debate. But impulses are delivered. And we should, and must, actively take these on board instead of putting all our energy into maintaining what already exists.


Silicon Valley has created a well-functioning ecosystem where tech startups and corporations can scale and thrive. And you can walk in amazement through Shenzhen, the "Silicon Valley of hardware", where road traffic consists almost exclusively of e-cars and city planning is supplied with city data in real time. But how do we manage the transfer to Germany and Europe? And of things that work well, without the downsides such as the self-exploitation of employees or complete surveillance including social scoring.

Adopting individual aspects in isolation doesn't work, or only by chance: a bit of Scrum here, a kicker there, and Casual Friday at the end of the week. It is often forgotten that some things are different here: our framework conditions, rules, values, social system and our history - it cannot be adopted 1:1.
A bit of fair-weather agility then leads straight to frustration among the employees ("yes, what have they come up with again up there") and at the management level ("can't they just work efficiently in an agile way").

Digitalization needs personality development

In order to continue on "our" path into the digital age and not head for dystropies, we must put a value that has sometimes gone out of fashion back at the center: humanity - in the end, it is always the human being who is the employee or manager, software architect, trainee or senior, supplier, provider or customer. It is he whom all the technology is intended to serve, and he is the most important resource in this transformation.
Thus, successful Digitalization requires not only technical development, but also, and in particular, the personal development of those involved and of the teams. Put an end to shock rigidity. Sort out clothes, breathe and actively shape the future. Then agile values and an agile mindset also have a chance of not just being empty phrases on the foyer wall, but lived practice.