Posted on 06/27/2018 via BSH Home Appliances Group

Diversity and digitalization – a winning team?

A Diversity Week theme night in partnership with Digital Media Women shed light on this question. Here are the highlights.

The theme night #DMWCheck Digital Transformation: Diversity – Key to success? in cooperation with Digital Media Women was one of many inspiring activities at the BSH Diversity Week which took place in the Munich headquarters last month. About a hundred guests joined the vivid panel discussion with expert panelists, followed by a casual get-together later on with plenty of opportunities for networking.

Who are #DMW Digital Media Women?
The #DMW is an organization aiming to boost the presence of women on stage at conferences, in specialist media and on management boards. Digital Media Women promote equal rights and diversity and see the biggest chance to realize their vision in the digital transformation. Eva Christensen, Head of Digital Transformation at BSH, started off the event with her keynote speech that took the audience on an impressive journey showing how digital transformation works at BSH. Innovation and agile perspectives were the main focus of her speech. The following panel discussion moderated by #DMW Chairwoman Maren Martschenko turned out to be a true reality check where well-worn buzzwords deliberately had no place. While many discussions about digital transformation often revolve around fears and obstacles, #DMW’s Maren Martschenko introduced the topic from a different perspective: she focused on personal outlooks and assessing the ideal digital workplace of the future.

What is needed to make the digital transformation work?
In Eva Christensen’s opinion active support and a positive mindset are the key factors for success to make the digital transformation work. For Barbara Lutz, founder of the Women’s Career Index, transparency is crucial. She thinks that companies with open and transparent structures are better prepared for digitalization. Transparent structures also provide better conditions for women to get into responsible and leading positions, thus paving the way for equal rights of men and women. Enno Jackwert, board member of Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH, showed a digital reality of the future where everyone can play an active part with their individual strengths. In his opinion, connecting analog and digital knowledge is vital. The three main approaches towards a successful digital transformation are promoting creativity, tolerance and the sharing of knowledge. Magdalena Rogl, Head of Digital Channels at Microsoft Germany, believes that a good leadership culture is based on diversity. She pointed out a highly positive vision of the future where innovative products improving everybody’s lives will emerge with the help of diversity and digitalization. According to Professor Christian Locher from THI Business School, accepting the digital change process is the basic requirement for success. To be flexible and open for change is absolutely necessary. Only in a multifaceted world and with an open communication culture can companies form the basis for a prolific digital transformation.

Transparency through measurability
All panelists agreed that diversity can only develop from within a company and is one of the most essential conditions for effective digital change. They also shared the opinion that transparent structures are important and should be measured and evaluated with key performance indicators. This led to the question whether measurable criteria merely help boost transparency and change or if they might also be used as control instruments.

Digital transformation needs an open and diverse culture of learning
Strategy, mindset and culture are the three levels discussed in companies when it comes to digitalization and diversity. Some suggestions were presented how companies can influence these three areas positively:
• By cooperating strategically with schools and universities, companies can actively influence stronger gender equality.
• An open and transparent communication culture helps employees to gain a positive attitude towards digital change. Fears have to be taken seriously and have to be addressed.
• The exchange of analog and digital knowhow can lead to a long-term success of digital changes. The more diverse the knowledge, the better the results.

A digital transformation process which feeds off a diverse workforce needs to be actively shaped – that much is clear. It takes time, good leadership, constant training on all levels and fast adaption and learning processes.

What made the event so special apart from the complex and lively exchange on stage, was the inspiring atmosphere throughout the whole evening. The unanimous opinion during the panel discussion and later at the get-together was that digital change offers plenty of chances – for women and men alike.

Photos: Copyright Annika Ritter, Digital Media Women e.V.