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It takes creative leaders with strong opinions and human touch to change the world. We are fortunate for having a brilliant mentor network full of people like that. Today we’ll share thoughts about digitalization from one of our new mentors, Rudolf Vogl.

Most of our programs are part of some form of digital transformation program. And those programs require a mindset change from many people. It’s easy to change paper forms into online forms. But that misses the point of digitalization. Rudolf has a brilliant take on this – a digital transformation that is never done, never enough, and in which we’re constantly exploring new opportunities is now more important than ever with the global situation we live in.

Are you thinking digital? 

In the world of start-ups and fintechs everybody wholeheartedly would say: YES! In the world of the “old economy” – banks, production industry – senior leaders would say: Of course!

I believe both are wrong! 

Thinking digital is not what you have by nature because you are under 30. You also don’t have it because the board decided: We must become digital!

Thinking digital is a mindset developing, evolving, changing. For many years I served as senior HR leader in the banking industry. During that time, I experienced the power of corporate processes. I lived through an amount of transformation activities under the label of “digitization”. I want to prove that thinking digital is neither a matter of age nor technology.

“Thinking digital is a mindset developing, evolving, changing.“

Rudolf Vogl

It is about how we manage the increasing amount of data and latest technology with our body and brain. The current version of the latter is about 100.000 years old!

Thus, in the core of digital thinking must be the human aspect.

What does this mean for start-ups? Their new products have to provide customers (=humans) with better outcomes or more meaningful experience. Like with many other – physical – products on the market, not every new app is a real advancement in customer experience. 

In classical corporates the same applies. The meaningful experience for demanding customers should be in focus. Yet, traditional product development is driven by cost constraints. “Ordered” innovation cannot deliver or cannot deliver in time.

“The meaningful experience for demanding customers should be in focus. 

Yet, traditional product development is driven by cost constraints.”

Rudofl Vogl

Surviving in the digital age means developing a dual strategy:

  1. Building up digital competence with leaders in the organisation – a longer term effort but a must
  2. Creating new ways of cooperation with small units as the chance.

All companies must launch their successful products in the digital world. In the cooperation of big and small units it’s about immersion into the other’s world. This only happens via human relations, the bridge both sides must cross.

I love to help building those bridges and digital competencies wherever needed. 

Rudolf Vogl, Smartbird

About the writer

I have spent my professional live in public service and then in three different types of industries. The last 15 years I was heading the corporate HR function for a big bank. Now with “smartbird” – still in formation – I have started my journey into the digital age. As a “baby boomer” I want to proof that a digital mindset is not matter of age. And with repositioning soft skills into power skills I want to develop managers and organisations for future and return and beyond.


Rudolf Vogl, Smartbird
& Nestholma Mentor

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