Throwback: Birte Gall of the Berlin School of Digital Business as trend scout in Silicon Valley
02. November 2015
Birte Gall, CEO of the Berlin School of Digital Business spend a week in Silicon Valley, on the hunt for the newest trends. On her way to discover, she made stops at the large digital players such as Apple, Google, SAP as well as several startups like MobileIron, Inkling, Ghostery, FireEye, Wandera, and Zscaler. For the etventure blog, Birte wrote down all her impressions and experiences about company culture, digital developments and trends such as cloud and mobility.
We started with world’s most valuable firm: An entire day full of interesting discussions and conversations with representatives of the iPhone, iPad, Mac and AppleWatch – departments which gave insights into the development of Apple. A central point of topic was, which strategies Apple pursues for its shift from B2C to more business-like solutions. There were shortcuts for all of our questions like MDM (Mobile Device Management), DEP (Device Enrollment Program) and VPP (Volume Purchase Power which allows firms to purchase applications for their employees and push them to their devices), which are some of the many ways Apple uses to convince firms to utilize Apple devices.
Or the question of “what business case is behind the AppleWatch?” The answer: we aren’t too sure. Possibly the “Apple Halo Effect” that turned users of the highly successful iPod over to the Mac. This effect has also translated over to the iPhone. Due to the popularity of apple smartphone, more and more people are considering buying a MacBook or an iMac but will this also apply to the AppleWatch? This is definitely going to depend heavily on what apps will be developed for the apple watch. Dexcom is one example: here, a small sensor is placed under the skin which directly sends blood reports to the iPhone or AppleWatch. From here the information can be passed on directly to your doctor. Perhaps the first step towards Ray Kurzweil’s “Medical Nanobots” which we may soon have inside us.
After the very corporate-style apple campus, we drove to Google. On our way through the day to day traffic, we passed a small self-driving, spherical cars from Google. On the roof, a laser that scanned the surrounding streets. Inside, people who stared at mobile devices. In contrast to Apple, the Google campus feels more like a college campus. Wherever you look, coffee shops and benches, beach volleyball fields and small, inviting workplaces. The newcomers, the so-called “Nooglers” are wearing their propeller hats in traditional Google colors with pride, they were chosen from over 2 million applications which Google receives per year.
Googles Head of Innovation & Creativity program, Frederik Pferdt tells us that their teams are systematically introduced to the design thinking methods. Frederik has build up this program with round about 300 fully trained design thinking coaches. It is their job to support teams with their questions and projects. Google has already implemented what we always advise our customers: building up new competencies in a way that allows the implementation into the firm’s DNA.
However, it also became clear that many firms are lacking a “mobile strategy”. What role do mobile devices play in customer dialogue and what significance do they offer for internal processes. Whatever the answer may be, a solution must be found quickly because “mobility will happen by you, with you or to you” (MobileIron)
Lastly, there are even some analog experiences to be made in the hub of digital innovation and development. The very open approach to communication, collaboration and exchange of ideas make this place truly unique. For example, in the Valley it is very easy to make appointments with important personalities. The communication culture is astonishingly low in vain and habitus and very open-minded.
Ideas are not only discussed in secrecy and only within the own firm but rather discussed openly and without fear because only through open dialogue do you receive the input you need in order to improve that idea. We can only learn from this approach!
Thank you a lot, Deutsche Telekom, for arranging appointments with Apple, MobileIron, Inkling; Ghostery, FireEye, Wandera, Zscaler and many more.
Brite Gall is CEO of the Berlin School of Digital Business (BSDB), a 100 percent etventure daughter. At the BSDB we provide managers and employees within the company a deeper understanding of the elements and processes of digitalization, for the methods of agile working and for driving the digital transformation.