“Tomorrow’s employees need their own ecosystem” – etventure in the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper

15. February 2016

“Baden-Württemberg has got the message,” says Philipp Depiereux, Founder and Managing Director of etventure, in his interview with Philipp Obergassner and Andreas Geldner, editors at the Stuttgarter Zeitung. The topic for discussion was: “Are innovations more successful outside an established company or within?” And what the important factors are.

The article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung could provide a blueprint for companies who are planning to digitize. Below is a summary of the key points and the accompanying quotations:

The crucial success factor: digitization requires managerial involvement.

According to Philipp Depiereux, in the majority of cases in Baden-Württemberg, the most important prerequisite for digitization in companies is already fulfilled: “More than half of the managing directors that I meet are convinced of the need to undergo digitization,” he says in the Stuttgarter Zeitung. The article paraphrases Depiereux’s opinions on the matter: “Many business players are also driven by the fear that a large online retailer will enter into their area of commercial business. First and foremost, those who want to hold their ground in the digital world need to have access to customers and customer data.”

What is the best way to implement this? Are innovations more successful outside or within an established company? Philipp Depiereux offers a description that is summarized in the Stuttgarter Zeitung article as follows: “In order to counteract potential reservations from the Old Economy, etventure uses a trick: The new digital unit is established outside of the company. For this purpose, employees from the company are brought together with external specialists who have entrepreneurial digital skills. ‘In the initial phase, we leave the organization in peace,’ says Depiereux. Depiereux says that the aim of the digital units is to rapidly develop and test innovations within a protected space. He explains why: “There is significantly less resistance to innovation in an organization if there is already evidence of its success on a small scale.”

In etventure’s experience, new projects and business models that are developed within the company tend to fail because they are often characterized by traditional ways of thinking and standards. They are also subject to traditional development stages and compromises between departments.

Digital units: developing digital solutions in a protected space

In contrast, the digital unit offers freedom. Other important prerequisites include being user-focused and applying suitable methodology for testing and execution. This facilitates the use of new approaches to test and successfully build on innovative concepts. “To begin with, the goal is not to produce the best product, which is what engineers do. Instead, the goal is to always be thinking from the customer’s perspective and to rapidly develop innovative products that solve a key problem for the customer,” says Depiereux. “Tomorrow’s employees do not want to work in a traditional corporate culture,” he adds, explaining the need to create an “ecosystem” for these digital talents to call “their own.”

“Coming soon to Stuttgart”

From March this year, etventure will have a new location in Stuttgart. It will be where part of the W&W Digital team is based, as well as the etventure team that works with clients in Baden-Württemberg, such as Daimler Financial Services and Wüstenrot & Württembergische. The article adds: “[Depiereux explains that] a digital unit is currently being developed for a Swabian plant engineering company with a turnover of one billion euros. ‘And this unit will be based in Baden-Württemberg.’”

You can also read the full Stuttgarter Zeitung article online here (in German). Editor Andreas Geldner also published the article under the heading of “Etventure – Innovationsschule für Etablierte“ (etventure – school of innovation for established businesses) on his innovation blog entitled Neuland.

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Christian van Alphen leitet die Kommunikation bei etventure. Darüber hinaus ist er Co-Initiator des ChangeRider: Ein Video- und Podcastformat mit der Mission, die positiven Geschichten rund um den digitalen Wandel zu erzählen und damit Mut für die Zukunft zu machen.

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