The art of digital transformation – etventure at the Handelsblatt C-Suite event
13. July 2016
“Mission 2016: The art of digital transformation” – This was the tagline for the Handelsblatt „C-Suite Next Level Leadership“ event last week, a meeting of giants from the areas of politics and business. The aim of the event was to discuss the contexts, opportunities and challenges of digitization and to include a range of different perspectives. The C-Suite event was launched by Gabor Steingart, Editor of Handelsblatt, Roland Berger, Founder and Honorary Chairman of the eponymous consultancy, and Prof. Dr. Dr. Ann-Kristin Achleitner, Chair of Entrepreneurial Finance at the Technische Universität in Munich. Philipp Depiereux, Founder and Managing Director of etventure, was also there as an expert and a speaker.
The Handelsblatt C-Suite event on July 7 and 8 at the Schlosshotel in Berlin’s Grunewald district was attended by a group of very high-level participants. Alongside those who launched the event, attendees included EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Wolfgang Clement, the former Minister President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and former Federal Minister of Economics and Labor (whose birthday was on the first day of the event), Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, Founder of visioning, Fabian Kienbaum, Managing Director of Kienbaum, Heinz Dürr, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Dürr AG, and numerous other well-known representatives from business and politics.
According to the follow-up report published by Handelsblatt, the aim of this “future workshop” was: “[…] together with experienced mentors, pioneers and unconventional thinkers, to get to know the driving forces of transformation and the techniques for mastering them – over the course of a two-day closed conference.” Even just the high level of interest in the event shows that digitization is the issue that defines our times. Digitization is not an opportunity, it is a necessity. It is about renewing our industrial society.
What is the digital future going to bring and how can companies prepare for it? What type of skills are expected from future leaders? At the C-Suite event, these questions were discussed in confidential surroundings. “It is precisely this opportunity to discuss the challenges of digital transformation in an open manner in a confidential environment that made the event so valuable, particularly for discussing the problems and misgivings regarding execution,” explains Philipp Depiereux.
In his presentation, the founder and managing director of etventure explained what companies can learn from unsuccessful innovation processes. Above all, it is important to recognize that, in light of the structures and processes that have been in place for decades, internally-led digitization is very unlikely to be successful. Digital transformation should therefore be pursued in a protected space that is outside the confines of the company. Gabor Steingart also made it clear that digitization requires a changed mindset as well as changed processes: “It is time to rethink business – saying no to the fear of failure and saying yes to enthusiasm about the future.”
Yet as it happens, business and entrepreneurship are not operating in a vacuum. Accordingly, the other big topic at the C-Suite fireside evening was politics, with a particular focus on Brexit. EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger gave particular warnings about “Europe bashing” and retreating into a romantic German valley of tranquility. He said that the value of the EU and its contribution to peace and prosperity was sometimes valued more highly by countries outside the EU than by the member states themselves. According to Oettinger, this means that for all issues relating to the future, business and politics need to pull together – whether for digitization or for the stability of the European area.
etventure was also an official sponsor of C-Suite and hosted the event’s dinner evening.