New Work: “ask yourself what you can do for your employees”
1. February 2021

Digitization: Radical but with brains!

Quality Assurance ISO DIN Service Guarantee Standard Retail Concept.

T he Pandemic challenges companies in many areas from working remotely in the office to production under hygiene rules. Digitization and innovation are the order of the day! Is it only the processes or even their business model what needs to be digitally developed in the future? Studies assume that in the future 80% of business organization will be automated. In my blog post, I show you how to radically drive digitalization without losing your head. The solution lies in an ISO-certified approach that allows them to take their innovation management to a whole new level without having to use their own resources.

Most companies I come into contact with on digitization feel overwhelmed by the upcoming digitization issues. How are they supposed to make the right decisions when so much is uncertain? At the moment, companies are very busy with operational issues relating to new protective measures, so there is often no time to consider the issues of the future.

Compared to other industrialized countries such as the United States or China, Germany is falling behind simply because companies there are already working on the future while we are still fighting the pandemic. In this context, it is important to set the course for the future now by focusing on innovation in order to remain competitive.

Vision: flexible value networks and batch size 1 production

The vision of digital production has remained unchanged for years: Companies no longer produce in rigid structures, but cooperate with a wide variety of companies. The goal is to work in flexible structures that, at the very end, offer customers high-quality products that are as individualized as possible. In the age of Industry 4.0, the keyword “batch size 1” refers to the possibility of offering these individually and custom-manufactured products at prices that were previously only conceivable in mass production.

How do companies get there? For one thing, through higher automation. Even if the vision of a self-controlling automated factory is still a vision of the future, automation of 80% should already be the goal in many areas today. This requires not only new manufacturing technologies, but also innovations in process management. As the following graphic shows, almost all areas of a company can benefit from intelligent automation.

Other important characteristics of companies in a digital world are flexibility to adapt quickly as an organization to changing conditions. In the wake of the pandemic, this flexibility is often equated with “resilience”, i.e. a resistance that allows companies to survive under unfavorable environmental conditions. One possible strategy is to offer products for different markets through innovations. For me, resilience particularly includes the ability to cooperate, i.e., a mindset that promotes cooperation within companies and beyond their borders.

Innovation orientation as a source of renewal and competitiveness

The most important prerequisite for a company of the future is an innovation orientation and a suitable innovation strategy, with the aim of identifying relevant changes in the corporate environment at an early stage. Large companies operate entire innovation teams for this purpose and actively research future trends and track down the latest technological developments.

Small companies lack the resources to do this, although they are actually ideally positioned in terms of their basic prerequisites. An innovative corporate culture is characterized by at least four features:

  • Willingness to experiment
  • Tolerance of mistakes
  • Spirit of cooperation
  • No hierarchical structures

What companies lack, however, is someone who continuously drives the transformation within the company. No one feels responsible for this on the part of the employees, and the management is not in a position to do so due to the large number of tasks. In addition, companies lack the sources to track down new innovations, especially when we talk about trends that are outside their own industry.

What do I start with tomorrow?

The key to corporate success in the future lies in automating innovation management. Here, companies should make sure that they have access to reputable big data sources on the one hand, and on the other hand, a systematic clear procedure for identifying and selecting suitable innovations for the company is required.

CONABO GmbH offers external innovation management for this purpose, which is certified according to the new innovation standard ISO 56002. It is thus the first innovation consultancy to have developed a standardized procedure in accordance with this standard. For companies, this means they can start tomorrow and benefit from the external innovation management in five steps:

  1. workshop to identify the company’s own strengths and competencies
  2. selection and evaluation of suitable future trends based on 50,000 real innovations worldwide
  3. development of a personalized innovation roadmap for the strategic orientation of the own company
  4. continuous market monitoring of current developments and latest innovations based on the jointly identified topics
  5. accompaniment and support of companies in the digitalization of processes and development of new business models.

So let’s summarize: The digital transformation encompasses all business areas, but they should not blindly digitize, but cautiously increase the automation of business processes. With CONABO Innovation Monitoring, a standardized and ISO-certified automated innovation management is now available even for the innovation area. This is the basis for an innovative and future-oriented company that does not want to be left behind. Now it’s up to you to seize the opportunities and make your company fit for the future.