A story about who actually controls digitization!
In less than 40 years, the Internet has had a greater impact on our society than you could ever imagine. In the world of work, data could travel at a frenetic pace from one place to the next, and an unimaginable amount of information suddenly became available to everyone. Thus, data and communication have lost their connection to a physical place and have become something flexible, unbound. Welcome to the world of digitalization!
Information and data are collected, processed and then stored in the cloud without pause. New forms of joint work emerged in a short period of time; Video conferencing enables meetings with employees in different countries, customer data can be made available in a cloud in seconds in the telephone exchange on another continent and so many companies do not even have a classic office anymore – because the good old home office makes it possible to carry out all activities even from their home desk.
Companies as drivers of digitalization?
All these things are now so fundamentally anchored in our society that they don't even surprise my grandparents anymore. During the last Skype conversation, they happily told me how nice it is that we can now do most of our work with the help of the Internet, even during a pandemic. Working together with the help of the Internet, as well as communication via WhatsApp or Telegram have arrived in every age group.
In our minds, we always assume that technological developments are driven by innovative Silicon Valley companies. The best innovations in communication and automation will go directly from Silicon Valley to companies, the theory goes. However, my experience is different and I tell you a story from my life:
Last week my car window window cracked. In order to receive a refund from my insurance company, I had to fill out some forms and send them by letter (!). The letter was intended to include printed photos of the damage, which I had to print elsewhere. The editing lasted forever. I think that my insurance company already scans all the letters and thus digitizes their work, but unfortunately the communication with me cannot be done digitally. The poor person who has to scan all the letters sent. I've been annoyed about the situation in our WhatsApp family chat for a very long time. An unnecessarily tedious situation for me and the poor person who scans.
My sister, a great insurance clerk, then recommended an insurance policy, where you can also submit your applications online. This is just one of the many examples from my everyday life. The feeling creeps in with me that digitalization is not brought to us by the companies.
Who is actually digitising whom?
The digitization of work and communication is not controlled by companies. Most companies have already been overtaken by society. Above all, young adults, who hardly notice any difference between online or offline communication. A well-known and at the same time very impressive picture are the many grandchildren who become the wise counselors of their grandparents. You are available for any questions via chat function and explain how voice messages are also a way of communicating. My grandparents are thrilled with how nice it is to watch each other via video chat. They particularly like the fact that many holiday photos arrive via chat before the postcard, which of course is also sent. Young people communicate digitally with a self-evident digital thing that many companies would like to see. Digital working methods are also a natural component in school classes or in youth groups and open up many paths.
Digitisation a social phenomenon
Digitization has already arrived in our everyday lives. What is more, it is a social phenomenon than just a revolution in the world of work. Many company executives look admiringly at the creative forms of digital communication of their children. In the class chat, the math results of the homework are sent to all classmates within a few seconds. You can get jealous if no one has read the last email with the important Morning Briefing.
Of course, it can now be argued that this generation has already grown up with the Internet and is therefore not comparable. But getting information in a hurry or making workflows more flexible has something fascinating, all generations agree. This even leads to the fact that, according to a study by the D21 initiative, 42.9% of all Senior_innen aged 70 and over use the Internet. A considerable number were mainly measured by the fact that they were already over 60 years old at the time of whatsApp was founded! Among the 60-69 year olds, the rate is as high as 79%. This fascination is a great incentive to immerse yourself in the world of digital communication!
In our society, digital communication and collaboration are indispensable. This was already the case before the Corona pandemic, but it only becomes clearer. Easter greetings are shared with pictures of self-painted Easter eggs in chat with their work colleagues, homework is sent by email for control reading and the own Instagram channel serves as a modern holiday photo album, which can be viewed directly by friends and acquaintances. Digitization is understood as an enrichment, especially in the moments when it enables communication and collaboration when it was previously not possible.
In our world of work, we repeatedly encounter the limits of digital work. Old and retracted structures make digital work more difficult. In our private lives, it is very easy for us to be digitally connected, but it is difficult to be so in our working lives. According to a study by the Institute for Labour Market and Occupational Research (IAB) and the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) from 2018, only about 1/4 of all Germans had the opportunity to work in the home office. A surprisingly small proportion, considering that digital communication occupies so much space in our private lives.
Digitisation in their lives
Finally, I have good news and bad news for them: The digitization of work processes still has a long way to go, in clubs and companies usually an extra piece more than you think. The good news, however, is that they can learn a lot if they look closely at their fellow human beings. Digitisation is not driven by companies or from the USA, but is shaped by our society. You too can become a part of it!
With many tips and tricks, it is not difficult to bring the digital collaboration into your office/association. We have put together many articles on digital team management.
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