European Way of Digital Transformation

Alliances and ecosystems as means of alleviating the effects of the digital technology shock +++ European digital model an alternative concept: “Neither the American nor the Chinese digital model is desirable for Europe.”

Dr. Heinrich Arnold gave his first lecture in the master’s degree module Engineering of Digital Transformation at the Technical University (TU) of Berlin today. The CEO of the management consultancy Detecon International GmbH, who was appointed as honorary professor in January, will be advocating a European path to digitalization during his lecture series.

During his welcoming speech, the president of the TU Berlin, Dr. Christian Thomsen, praised Arnold’s outstanding academic achievements, among them his work as lecturer in the field of innovation management and author of the academic book Technology Shocks on the management of radical technological change. Moreover, Arnold is on the board of the Munich Circle, a member of the Feldafing Circle, and curator at the Fraunhofer and Max Planck Societies.

Dr. Henning Kagermann, who as departing president of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) was a leader in driving forward the development of Industry 4.0 in Germany, classified the topic from the perspective of business and applied science: “This second wave of digitalization cannot be managed by product innovation; it requires a new definition of business models based on technical feasibilities.”

Technology shock forces reorientation of industries 

During his first lecture, Arnold took a look at the drivers and the fundamental character of the current technological transformation.

“This transformation is extraordinary because of its impact – a so-called technology shock. Business and society will not be able to escape the necessity to adapt. Success in this effort will not be possible unless more attention is devoted to the creation of alliances and ecosystems that can be exploited. At the same time, there is fundamentally the question as to whether it is at all possible to expand digitally the established business models of traditional European industry so that they remain viable in the environment of digital competition.”

On the European path to digital transformation

The largely European assumption that it must be possible to expand established business models digitally, thereby making them feasible for the future, differs from the basic assumption of the dominant models from the USA and China. The Silicon Valley model primarily presumes creative destruction, i.e., digital platforms with global reach will rise as new competitors to established companies. The Chinese model, on the other hand, relies on a domestic market massively favored by the government and a subsidized global expansion model.

“Neither the American nor the Chinese digital model is desirable for Europe. The question is how we can create global relevance based on alliances and ecosystems that are competitive and can offer a culturally and economically acceptable alternative for Europe. European special competencies such as security, data protection, reliability, trustworthiness, and the operation of secure infrastructures play an important role here,” stated Arnold in conclusion.

The honorary professorship is maintained by Faculty IV Electrotechnology and Computer Science of the Technical University of Berlin. The master’s degree module for Winter Semester 2018/2019 focuses on key topics of digital transformation in Germany and Europe in the areas of cyber-security, advanced analytics, Industrial IoT, and co-innovation and is offered in collaboration with the Detecon Engineering Center in Berlin.


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