Digitalisation and Digital Disruption Opportunities

I was really honoured when asked to be dinner speaker for reputable consulting firm Horváth & Partners in Germany. Here are some of my thoughts and experiences from the event, which took place in Michelin star decorated Gourmet Restaurant Délice in downtown Stuttgart, Germany. Here, about 20+ CxOs were gathering in a casual atmosphere, a truly inspiring setting and perfect ground for a long and intense evening.

Great setting in Michelin decorated Delice Restaurant
Great setting in Michelin decorated Delice Restaurant

The topic given for the night was about the ‘Chances of Digitalisation and the related agendas of CxOs.’ It became more than clear that the CEOs, CFOs, CSOs or COOs present were all driven by the same challenges, no matter whether they came from automotive grands, or whether they represented highly successful, industrial companies. The digital transformation is not simply a fad, which results in temporarily rising investments in IT, social or mobile infrastructures. Digital transformation and digitalisation are affecting everyone and the current global threats from digital disruptors are a concern to those traditional, mostly bigger industrial players.

My dinner speech focused on digital disruption with the example of scheduling application Doodle, hence I explained firstly what digital disruption stands for: digital disruption usually contains three elements:
· the frustration of a consumer
· an idea
· a digital solution

In Doodle’s case, the founders were frustrated by the way how meetings were scheduled (we are talking mid 2000) and in a recent study with Harvard Business School, Doodle found out that it takes an average of 30 messages (being email, phone calls, fb messenger, sms, whatsapp and the like) to find a date for a meeting of 4-5 people.

Such frustration about this inefficiency to meet resulted in the idea of Doodle as the world’s favourite online group scheduling tool and its digital creation. Doodle is the perfect example of a digital disruption, though this one happened already about ten years ago!

The Discussions on the night centred on the challenges for bigger corporates to identify these disruptions (think airbnb for traditional hotel chains) and how to gain speed within its corporate structures. The ongoing wave of new start-ups were seen as a potential to help become more agile, however it is clear, that integration of these quirky teams proposes a huge challenge to the traditional players and their structures.

Another learning of the night confirmed, that disruption can happen to anyone in today’s global marketplace, even Doodle as the global market leader faces these in its growth story. Hence we discussed the digital challenges until way after midnight. Many thanks to Dr. Michael Kieninger for the invite and the highly inspirational talks on the night, it was a pleasure to join you in Stuttgart.

Michael Brecht

Digital disruption discussed with CEOs and CFOs
Digital disruption discussed with CEOs and CFOs