“Conferences and trade fairs are things of the past; we now have the virtual space” – this was a view that could be heard frequently at the start of the new millennium in the days when “Second Life” was popular. Those days are long gone and now the general consensus is actually the complete opposite. To meet the challenges of the digital transformation, we need direct, authentic, personal communication – within businesses as well as with customers, partners and professional institutes.
That is why an event such as the prostep ivip Symposium is now more important than ever.
Some 700 participants (which is to say 100 more than last year) came to the MOC in Munich this year to find out more about best practices for the digital transformation of products and processes.
I was there in the company of the CENIT team. What did I find there? There was a committed, open and extremely well-informed discussion about Industry 4.0 and digital disruption. The participants took the opportunity to test the viability of new ideas; some opinions were confirmed while others were reformulated.
This type of possibility for active dialog must be encouraged. Since, given the dramatic acceleration in the speed of technological advance, we need a debate on the use of these technologies. How much of our autonomy do we humans want to give up? I believe that that is the decisive question in every sphere of life – in both the private and the professional environments as well as in social interactions.
If we fail in the future, it will not be because the technologies were not available to us but because we could not agree on how to use them.
What does that mean for our everyday business life? We must move on from the project-driven introduction of new IT solutions to the continuous assessment of the technologies of the future. We must give our organizations the capability to adapt innovation quickly and instill in our employees the confidence they need to adopt the process of change without anxiety.
Naturally, IT skills and the choice of the right technologies, the definition of the optimum processes and the choice of how people are organized and the skills they need will remain key elements for a successful digital transformation.
However, the weighting of the elements in the magic triangle for successful change projects is itself undergoing a dramatic transformation. Two components, the human and the process, are significantly increasing in importance as critical factors of success. Fear is the natural enemy of all change; confidence is the fuel for every successful transformation project.
In the future, we will therefore undoubtedly entrust much to artificial intelligence – but will NOT cede areas in which our agreement is essential, because how can we then remain in control and take our place as autonomous human beings in the autonomous world?
We think it is important to use smart technologies in smart ways. That is to say, to design a future that moves us forwards rather than consuming us.
Victor Hugo said that the future has many names: “For the weak it is the impossible; for the fainthearted, it is the unknown; for the valiant, it is the ideal.”
Let us be valiant!
Kurt Bengel, CEO CENIT AG