Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris – Part No. 2: Recap on the Drivers for the Digital Transformation (2/3)

This is the second post (see the first one) on the Paris edition of the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT and it’s covering mainly the discussions around the practice talks of Accor, Zeppelin, Sanofi, Vinci, Albea and AirLiquide.

Throughout the discussion of the different case studies and journeys we always ended up at two key questions – first – why do some companies better on the overall transformation and change process and, second, how can companies realize a scaling approach to change?

Digital Transformation: No Guts, No Glory

For many companies the digital transformation is a beast that is difficult to handle. Triggered by many different reasons and motivations, driven from different levels and departments within the companies, and characterized by as many approaches as there are companies as well as by its permanent change manner – the digital transformation is a big challenge for the companies. The hesitations of the management as well as the workforce to step into this mess is more than understandable – but also inevitable.

From the discussions at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT we learned the following:

1) It’s the Fearless That Become the Agents of Change

Even with external reasons and threats for the digital transformation – some motivated change agents are needed to drive the digital transformation beyond the boundaries of the organisation. And those boundaries are mostly related to the reluctance to change – by the people of the organisation. Sometimes this is located at the management level, but often at the individual level of the workforce. To work against this anxiety to change or to loose anything because of changes is taken by the “fearless agents” – like Céline Schillinger as Rogier Noort already stated in this post – that undertake small steps to convince and change corporate behaviour.

2) Change of Mindset Needs Strong Leadership

As heard from Dr. Ursula Schütze-Kreilkamp at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT change of behaviour is depended on the change in mindset. For the latter it also needs a strong transformational leadership – that provides a strong and sustainable role model for continous change and positive development. One aspect of this role – that was stressed in the discussion with Céline Schillinger, Jane McConnell, Bonnie Cheuk and Anne Landréat – is the importance for providing inspiration and sense-making on the individual level of change. But also to bring forward unpopular transformational changes – like changing working spaces as in the example of Deutsche Bahn to work in a more collaborative and open environment.

3) Transformational  Management: Move Quick & Fail Fast

Another discussion topic was also the approach to managing the transformation. As said in the expert talk of Christine Overby – the digital transformation needs an agile and distributed approach to enable change. This was also underlined by the case study of AccorHotels where Isabelle Daviaud and Anne Landréat emphasized an agile approach to change – to co-create change actions using design sprints, to call for contribution from the field of the hotel teams, to share what has been learned to explain and to engage the workforce.

4) Strategic Alignment of DT of Work with DT of Company

Last but not least the Zeppelin case study illustrated the importance of the alignment of digital transformation of work with the digital transformation of the business model. Certainly it’s clear that the kind of business model determines the characteristics of the operating model. The transformation from one model to the other needs a strong alignment of external (customer-facing) sense-making of the digital transformation (of the business model) with the internal support and transformation towards changed processes and new forms of collaboration to realize the external models. Thus we have a strong interdependence of internal change approaches and external change approaches – and certainly always the chicken-egg-problem of what comes first. The discussions at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT showed that it must be an interative process of changes.


Summarizing the lessons learned from the first part of the case study presentations at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris we can say that there is no glory without someone to have guts. In this regard the technology plays no role at all but is only the subject to changes. But as said – the overall transformation also needs a transformation of the way of working – and for the enablement of these new forms of collaboration beyond existing limitations of time, space and human information processing capabilites the technology can provide a lever for scale. This is what we want to discuss in the next part of this series.


Stay tuned for the next publications in this series – read in the other parts of this post the following:

Get your Special Summer Ticket for the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / London on November 16!