You all know the example of the frog that is thrown into water that is too warm in an experimental setup and immediately recognizes that this is not good for it and jumps out again. If you put it in cold water and warm it up slowly (!), it does not recognize the changing environmental conditions and stays in it.
The specified measures to contain the pandemic have led to a variety of findings: Global supply chains are not transparent and secured enough. Digital process chains are not used sufficiently and are interrupted. Many contacts with customers have so far only been conducted in analog form - unfortunately, there are a lot more examples.
At the moment, many companies are still busy fighting for survival. So the question of what I can do more innovatively in the future takes a back seat.
This phase will - hopefully and positively - soon be over for many companies. Then they will continue in one of three directions: "lick their wounds" and carry on as before, position themselves more crisis-proof, which includes a higher degree of digitization, or be among the innovators who determine the content and speed of their environment. Here, with a few exceptions, we in DACH were further along than we are today.
If we at least make greater use of the innovations and platforms that help us to achieve our goals, we will have already gained a great deal. Using our own existing IT infrastructure and transferring data and applications to the cloud is a first step.
Developing new applications right away "Born in the Cloud" then next. Basically, we need to create a more technology- and innovation-friendly culture that includes not only employees, but also customers and suppliers. However, it is also important to remember that this does not and cannot mean the same thing for every company.
Not every company can afford to call every day "Day 1", as Amazon does. This is the first day of a start-up, when mistakes can also be made and every form of innovation is allowed, even if it is later (expensively) buried again. Even Alphabet (Google) has greatly reduced the free time that employees could use for their own innovations.
Education is an important building block. Employees must be trained in new technologies and understand what is possible with today's solutions in IT and production. This increases the competitiveness of companies and creates the basis for understanding the technologies, which in turn increases the ability to innovate in companies.
This is not limited to production and corporate processes. Service in companies is often still very much open to expansion: If a customer is supported by the manufacturer or its partners throughout the entire product life cycle, receives important information early on and, if it suits, is also happy to be in permanent communication with the manufacturers via "digital twins", predictive maintenance, networking, additional products and so on, then this builds up a competitive advantage and also opens up additional sales channels.
However, it would help a lot if topics could be discussed with a CxO (CDO, CIO, CEO, CTO ...) that do not conform to the conventional pattern. And if there is a technology scout function that reports to the company management.
We need more innovation, and the right time is now. There is no longer just pure enthusiasm or complete rejection, not just black and white.
Now change, gray over gray, is coming into play, and those who don't jump on this bandwagon will have a hard time surviving in a world as digital as ours. The "old" frog knew "Love it or Leave it." The frog 4.0 also masters "Change it" with innovative behavior.