Better change a running system — Into digitalization with courage — Illustration by TEAMS

Better change the running system — Into digitalization with courage

Article originally published in German

Everyone is talking about the path to digitalization. And we are already halfway down it. We as people, as employees, as friends, as customers, as an audience, as a company providing services, as a society. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the way people work, shop, purchase, travel, and administrate has been copied from analog to digital. Machine-readable information, generated in the background of our permanent online activity, is at the core of digitization. Data, i.e. the digitally recordable behavior of man and machine, migrate intentionally (or unintentionally) into clouds and AI systems of highly developed companies, aimed to optimize the processing of information on the one hand and the quality of machine-based decisions on the other.

The digital transformation triggers a change on a societal level and goes hand in hand with a transformation of wishes and demands. People today are well-networked players who expect tailor-made solutions to be promptly delivered with the best quality service — Digital, immediate, high-performing, secure, and without costs. Expectations fuelled by a handful of monopolies in the economy, demands that have to be met — right?

According to a study by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, one out of four companies in Germany still finds it difficult to tackle their own digital transformation or achieve their desired results. The reasons are as diverse as they are understandable: Terms such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing, or the Internet of Things are not self-explanatory; countless providers advertise products that differ significantly in function, performance, price, and service. Furthermore, despite numerous digital and analytical innovations, there are yet to be any standardized paths for a successful digital change.

How should one assess which approaches to digitization are right for one’s own company — or are even needed?

By digital transformation, we understand the opportunity for new and better-developed infrastructures, types of production, and business models that are within the value-added chain and part of the supply chain; for chances to win new customers and retain existing ones.

Digitization is a strategic topic that no company can escape from anymore.

Digitization is a strategic topic that no company can escape from anymore. — Illustration by TEAMS

Anyone who decides to digitize services or products decides to examine their current “analog” status critically and think from scratch instead of merely making existing ones “digitally better”.

Often, companies that are venturing into digital transformation do not know where to start.

People are increasingly challenged to adapt to an ever-changing (working) world and should be motivated to maintain this critical scrutiny. All those involved need courage and self-confidence when entering a new creative and technical territory. They have to be prepared to look at the world of production with different eyes; to rethink the tried and tested, to live risk culture, and to break up restricted framework conditions.

Companies have always gone through technological changes with the times.

Those who do not face these tasks cannot win and those who do not know failure cannot be successful.

Finally a small ray of hope: From our experience, we can say that digitization is forgiving. Internal efforts and costs are always relative because they also create new competencies and opportunities. Even if these appear expensive, risky, and time-consuming at first glance, it is essential to put aside one’s apprehension and tackle the digital challenge.

Direction: Marco Kapetan.

Research & text creation: IxD Team at TEAMS.

Graphics: Diana Izquierdo.


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Heft 03, 2019

TEAMS is one of the world’s leading design agencies. TEAMS is not just a name — it’s our attitude!

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