Facing the unfamiliar …
At the beginning of this class, I did not feel too comfortable about blogging, commenting, and especially using Twitter. Back home in Germany, communicating or sharing thoughts this way is very uncommon, especially in the classroom.
However, I hypothesized that it only made sense for me to take on the challenge and get used to those unknown methods as I wanted to prove that the key to digital transformation is never to stop learning and never to think that one has learned enough.
In Germany, we say “Der Mensch ist ein Gewohnheitstier”, which translates to “The human is a creature of habit”. It means that the human feels more comfortable in a known environment and tries to create habits around that exact environment. This saying might be true if we assume that our environment stays the same or at least changes with a tempo to easily and comfortably adapt our habits.
However, this is clearly not the case. COVID-19 was just an accelerator next to an already continuously faster-changing environment. Consequently, humans have two options – following the natural DNA of creating habits and sticking to them or adapting the human understanding to this dynamic environment we are living in now. In my opinion, choosing the second option does not mean that we must get rid of all our habits. To me, it is more about making
- The willingness to change
- The effort to research current developments and technologies
- The courage to actively adapt to those changes
I always thought that my grandparents were the perfect example of people that chose the second option mentioned above. They might not have changed the values they live by, but they made new technologies a crucial part of their life. Both own an iPhone and an iPad to e.g., to stay in touch with everyone or read the news. Watching them adapt is why I think that a solid “willingness to change” is the basis for every digital transformation. They are open to hearing about new technologies, and they were always interested to learn – years ago using books, nowadays using the iPad.
Looking back on the teaching style of this course and thinking about my grandparents made me realize that I want to be like them in the future and should do everything to make that happen.
… to see the unknown
Digital transformation (including all of its related matters) is one of the most – if not the most – talked-about topics today. Consequently, we are dealing with loads of information that can distract us from seeing as well as understanding essential digital concepts and ideas.
In this course, I learned about these essential digital concepts and how to deal with the vast amount of information about digitalization. It came down to three learnings that I will remember in the future.
It is impossible to know everything
My classmates’ presentations and blog posts made me realize that it is impossible to know about everything going on right now. Every industry is being disrupted by digitalization – some more than others – resulting in various transformation projects and use cases that I had never heard of or thought about before.
The presentations and blog posts were the perfect way to get a much broader understanding of what is going on in the world as it combined the work environment of my classmates or their general interests with fascinating digital transformation initiatives.
Additionally, our Twitter interactions have helped share recent developments and information with each other, all of which I would never have become aware of myself.
Understanding & implementing digital technologies are two different things
After following this course, I think that digital transformation is not a theoretical concept or a theoretical field of study. Companies need to incorporate digital technologies into their business strategy as soon as possible, which makes digital transformation a very practical and hands-on research area.
The insights that our guest speakers shared made me realize that a good understanding of the digital technologies we are dealing with in the present and the ones that we will deal with in the future is essential.
However, human or customer behavior plays a huge role in implementing or adopting those digital technologies that make a digital transformation successful. This is why organizational challenges and company culture will always be tied to digital transformation.
You do not need to be an expert on every single digital technology
A general understanding of what is going on in digital transformation and its respective trends is critical. However, after following this course, I think that it is not only impossible but also not required for me, a business graduate, to understand every single digital technology to the fullest.
I noticed that I provide the most value to a company or a team if I know which and how those technologies can be part of the overall business strategy. This means that I must identify the technologies that benefit the company or the customers and how those technologies can be implemented.
I distinguish this approach from understanding and knowing every detail regarding a specific technology. To me, it is more important to keep a good overview of various digital developments and trends, as we learned to do in this course.
I can safely say that this course was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. Getting out of my comfort zone to follow a learning approach I was not used to helped me understand the overarching concept of digital transformation. I always have to get out of my comfort zone as I will be confronted with digital technologies I am not used to.