Rebuilding in Retrospect
Basic concepts for future-proof economies and organizations such as ecosystems or self-organized teams have long been the focal points of studies, conceptual work, and consulting projects at Detecon. Above all, however, they are the basis for our own transformation in the sense of “practice what you preach.”
What is driving the transformation of our economy forward at all levels? An answer to this question must be found today by examining Europe across many diverse industries and organizations down to the level of employees. Our answer: ReBuilding! Our aim in writing this article is to make it understandable why ReBuilding is less a specific approach to a solution and instead the result of an exploratory process on the transformation of our times and for future-proof solutions. From this perspective, ReBuilding becomes, in the best sense, a transformation from the old to the new logic.
Recognizing sameness in what is seemingly different
On the surface, it would seem that different topics are being treated in the Rebuilding Europe Magazine:
- Dealing with the new internet monopolists
- A new economic and corporate policy for Germany and Europe
- The transformation of sectors and industries
- The restructuring of companies and other organizations in the direction of future capability
In actual fact, however, these are different areas of application for a new economic reality with relatively similar building blocks and logics.
This is not surprising: The same drivers of change are affecting all levels and therefore leading to the same structural consequences, all aimed at mastering the necessary dynamics and complexities and meeting the demands for adaptability and innovation. This realization is not really anything new – for Detecon, at least.
From a Detecon study in 2004 to the new market paradigm in 2018
In 2004, a Detecon team under the leadership of Dr. Gerhard Wohland published a study on precisely this topic. The issue at that time was the same as it is today: How must we respond to the new dynamics of the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world? The efficiency-oriented, collaborative structures of a mass market or Taylor economy were the ideal response to relatively stable markets for many decades – and this is still the case today within the scope of ambidextrous solutions.
But even at that time, it was becoming apparent that the previous silos, monoliths, and hierarchies would break down on a broad scale into collaborative network structures and ecosystems, as one will be able to read in an article on the “4l Principles” by Dr. Herbert Meffert describing a new paradigm of market orientation.
The path from the customer- and market-centric units in dynamic-robust companies in Dr. Gerhard Wohland’s work to an ecosystem- and cell-oriented restructuring of corporations and midsize businesses was not a long one – especially because many different insights have driven this transformation forward.
Detecon goes New Work, Beyond Consulting, Engineering, and Company ReBuilding
The concepts of New Work and Beyond Consulting are among these insights. Our studies from 2016/2017 that we conducted jointly with Professor Hackl’s team confirmed our viewpoints for the topics of People, Places, Platforms. One chapter of this book was devoted to the topic of People: from rigid structures and controls to liquid networks and a culture of trust. In keeping with our standard of “practice what you preach,” we transformed ourselves as well in this sense of New Work – and thanks to this experience, we can offer intense support to many clients.
Moreover, our parallel viewpoint encompassed the transformation of sectors, business models, and services. We examined these areas empirically in the Detecon study “Success Factors of Digital Business Models” of December 2017. Our general conclusions regarding the significance of business ecosystems for transformation were incorporated into the rethinking of our sector and our services as part of the Beyond Consulting approach.
We at Detecon are now taking another step forward with Company Rebuilding (CRB). The CRB concept is based on the principle of cell division – steering organizational growth organically and inorganically via platforms that steer communicative interaction and added value, thereby laying the foundation for the creation of new, transformational products. This approach makes it possible to transform corporate tankers into small and agile speedboats that are better suited to handle the new circumstances on markets.
Digital Engineering Center as an example of new ecosystem logic
We believe that the successes of the digital lighthouses would not have been possible without the rethinking of value generation in the direction of networks and partnerships. Detecon has always built on specific partnerships. Business ecosystems are built up within the framework of our ambidextrous approaches, above all in sectors with a high level of innovation.
Externally, we put our trust in ecosystems, some of them of a highly international nature and which also include the association and the academic levels, so that we can hold our position at the forefront of the current innovation drivers artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and digital leadership. Moreover, we use our company’s own freelancer network for fluid, cooperative collaboration within the scope of our corporate cells. This documents both within and to the outside world our aspirations of being a matchmaker and community manager that brings innovation together with talent.
We practice ecosystem logic especially intensely in our Digital Engineering Center (DEC) in Berlin for the sectors cybersecurity, co-innovation, analytical intelligence, and industrial IoT – and we do so in the direction of partner as well as of client.
The DEC is the embodiment of our dedicated orientation to the opportunities and risks of digitalization. Shortened innovation cycles and disruptive technologies are certainly giving rise to new challenges and requirements for our clients – but at the same time, they are also the source of completely new innovative opportunities. Our address of clients from consulting activities is linked consistently with high-level technology and innovation expertise, our current level of expertise is expanded by the addition of specialist skills, and our consulting services are continuously enhanced with more tools and methods, all via the Digital Engineering Center. Moreover, we assure their transfer from the innovation and partner ecosystem to daily practice and their implementation there.
Example partner: In the field of cybersecurity, we assess the security level of our clients’ infrastructures. Recommendations for action based on penetration tests or security by design of products are just as much a part of this as security innovation scouting, a security boot camp with our partners in Israel, or the planning of a stalwart cyber-defense, e.g., with the aid of a cyber-defense center. The networking of cyber-competence with the colleagues in Israel in particular is a special asset here.
The personal connection to the Cyber-Sec Hub in Israel has been in place for a very long time. About 12 years ago, Dr. Heinrich Arnold, Detecon CEO, was a co-founder of the Innovation Laboratory on Cybersecurity at the Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva. The best-known experts from the security ecosystem in Israel are working with us today – including concrete work during our consulting projects.
Example customer: The co-innovation team works together with our clients throughout the entire innovation and implementation process. We re-engineer analog and digital processes and turn them into viable digital products and services.
Portfolio elements such as trend scouting and scenario modeling help our clients not only to keep pace with current and future developments, but to stay one step ahead and avoid technology shocks. Using UX Design – fast prototyping in close cooperation with the client – we can realize tangible results to demonstrate the feasibility of the ideas and concepts.
Our methodological approaches such as ecosystem analysis/design and co-innovation help us to develop viable platform business models for our clients suitable for dealing appropriately even with complex, crossover challenges such as those presented to us by smart city concepts.
On the way to mainstream
Topics such as ecosystems, collaborative cells, co-innovation, ambidexterity, and their compatriots are not yet mainstream, but are gaining in relevance. Many of these topics are already a part of our DNA at Detecon. This enables us to advise our clients credibly in the digital age and prepare them for a new orientation to customers, partners, and employees. This path reveals that ReBuilding is less a specific approach to a solution and is instead the result of a long exploratory process on the transformation of our times and for future-proof solutions.
The world is currently going through a so-called technology shock. The digitalization as the trigger redefines the parameters of economic action and changes whole societies. The drivers of our global economic system deal with it in different ways. The Silicon Valley model from the USA is based on creative destruction, i.e. digital platforms with a global reach are emerging in competition with established companies. The Chinese model, on the other hand, is based on a domestic market massively protected by the state and is currently proving to be particularly competitive in economic terms. The distribution of Fortune 500 companies shows significant growth, especially in Asia, while the number is declining in the USA. A shift to the East can also be seen in technological competence, including standards.
How do Germany and Europe move between these two dominant digital models? There are signs that a "European path" of its own is developing. In our view, cutting-edge technology and leapfrog innovation, originally the foundations of our established industry, are once again the key competencies in which we must invest all our resources. The "European Approach" requires ecosystems and a digital reengineering of established businesses for global relevance.
Our customers and business partners also confirmed this orientation at the premiere of the Detecon Red Carpet Event in September 2018. We have compiled the essence of this "European Path" for you in the magazine Rebuilding Europe.