A few words of welcome by Astrid Blechschmidt (Associate Partner at Q_PERIOR) were then followed by a specialist presentation by Benedikt Weibel, former CEO of SBB (Swiss Railways). In his presentation, Weibel highlighted the drivers of digital transformation and their effects on public transport and roads. In terms of public transport, he sees a meaningful acceleration in local transport. The new technical capabilities will serve primarily to raise the utilization of capacity on road and rail and to increase vehicle-sharing. Weibel does not think the really big revolutions such as a Swiss metro or the Cargo Tube, will be realized any time soon because the costs would be disproportional to the benefit. It was also fascinating to take a look back to 1984: rail customers back then were asked what additional services they wished to see in the future when travelling by train. The most important innovations that people were pushing for more than thirty years ago were a telephone booth on the train and an office carriage with secretaries. At the end of his presentation, Benedikt Weibel drew the conclusion: “Don’t trust anyone who claims to know the future.”
In the second presentation of the evening, Lars Erdmann (Partner at Q_PERIOR) explained the innovation dilemma and tried to answer the question as to whether the holy grail of innovation management really exists. Lars Erdmann defined innovation as the process of translating an idea or service into a product for which customers are prepared to pay. He answered the question of what digital transformation means, with an equation: digitalization + change of business model = digital transformation. It was fascinating to receive an insight into the company’s internal and external capability to drive innovation. Today, the innovation process is no longer the USP of large companies. In the meantime, networks are releasing more resources, capital and logistics and winning the race. To make innovative business models fly, we have to want to see points of reference and actively promote interconnections that are normally not at the core.
Participants saw out the evening with a late aperitif and took the opportunity to engage with the two speakers, representatives of Q_PERIOR and their professional colleagues.
With its first Innovation Processes roundtable, Q_PERIOR is launching a series of events to be held once or twice a year to which decision-makers in digital transformation from the most important companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will be invited. In the process, Astrid Blechschmidt is focusing clearly on technical content combined with dialog between professional colleagues.