Institutionalised Digital Transformation

I am starting to switch all my online content to German. This is a first: Original German post on my main website, English translation here. This model will evolve, no doubt, but for now I like it like this. 

I’ve spent the last two weeks on business course – I’ve been self-employed for a long time and have started businesses, but never here at home. So I am always looking to grab all the knowledge I can.

By some lucky coincidence, the course leader was interested in the topic of digital transformation.

I’ve worked in the field of digital communication, so it was interesting to have an insight into how small and medium companies get to grips with the new technology and the changes it brings. In Germany, where everything is so well organised, it should be a wonderful process. At the same time, I don’t see anyone, at any level, communicate digitally with the outside world. So maybe it does not work?

How the programme works (or not) is worth sharing.

There is a support programme to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to implement a modern HR approach. It is called Unternehmenswert:Mensch, Enterprise Value:Human and aims to make work more human-friendly. It discusses a more intelligent management of people, the advantages of more diversity in the workplace, the importance of a good flow of information, and generally a healthier work environment. This is already revolutionary, especially in this state, where employees are very often treated like an easily replaceable resource.

Companies can apply for funding for this program. Their costs are kept to a minimum, and consultants are still well paid.

This year, UW Mensch has been expanded to include “Unternehmenswert Mensch Plus” – Enterprise Value:Human Plus. (If this is starting to sound like a joke to you, you are catching on to the reason I’m feeling such a need to blog this. It is all true.) This is where digital transformation and digital communication come in. The course leader had studied business administration and was very good at that, but had no experience with anything digital, neither social media (not even facebook) or any digital communication. He had been certified as a process consultant for UW Mensch Plus.

This program requires employees to watch videos and then sit in a room and talk about what digital things they want to do.

I won’t share my initial gut feeling – I’ve learned not to trust those.

But I think we can agree that digital transformation, and a better flow of information, also means a move away from hierarchical, centralised forms of communication. The organisation who runs these programs, INQA, doesn’t connect with anyone online. Can it really teach anyone else to?

It could use all its digital channels to enthusiastically connect with their network of consultants, as well as invite and encourage all attempts by anyone on their programmes to be more open and human online.

Sure, it’s hard to institutionalise enthusiasm and passion. But institutions opening themselves up at least enough to be able to invite those who still burn for something, to bring in new ideas, and the building of lasting connections into networks of humans, is also part of the transformation that digital technology brings into our working lives.

It’s a shame all seems to be falling by the wayside.

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