Recently I was invited to attend the Mixed Leadership Conference 2018 (GER) and to participate in a panel discussion about “New Work and Digital Leadership – More Opportunities for Career Women?” and workshops focused on the subject of “Future Work.” The event was inspiring, controversial and constructive – it reflected the impact of digital transformation as we are experiencing it today.
Collaboration in the digital age
Despite 100 years of women’s suffrage, there are still many social firewalls at work and in daily life – like deeply rooted prejudices that keep us from unleashing enormous potential. We need to finally overcome these prejudices to ensure that diversity, inclusion and equality are fully accepted norms in our society. Sylvia Tarves, Managing Director of the LEADING WOMEN (GER) human resources consulting agency, says: “Let’s stop trying to fix the women – and get started on fixing the organization.”
Digital transformation has an enormous impact on daily human interaction in our professional careers and our private lives. At the same time, demographic change in many countries is reshaping how people collaborate across cultural and structural lines. For many years now Fujitsu has launched sustainable concepts such as its Co-creation and Environmental – and CSR- initiatives within the scope of its Human Centric Innovation business vision.
The Mixed Leadership Conference allowed a number of enterprises to showcase their progressive and ingenious initiatives for shaping the way we work in the future – including ways to overcome long-standing prejudices. I particularly liked the idea of special “coffee breaks” at work that would encourage every individual in a company to come up with creative ideas which they could try out and put into practice – this would, for example, let employees discover how easy it is to develop an app. Generating enthusiasm and motivation, along with discovering new ideas and developments together with colleagues from various departments, is a great way to bolster collaboration that will make everyone “fit for digital” and ready to tackle new challenges with confidence.
Shaping the future and achieving success…
… should be our mutual goal – regardless of gender, origin or skin color. Inequality, barriers and resistance to change are extremely counterproductive on the road to the digital age.
Intelligent enterprises have already learned how to leverage the diversity of their workforces and actively rely on mixed teams – because these teams deliver much better results than homogeneous groups. We must also actively launch and use creative processes in order to bring various generations together so that they can share experiences. Younger generations need to be integrated in business processes where they can fully develop and utilize their potential. Each of us must decide whether to passively accept this inevitable transformation, or to actively drive it forward with our participation.
Those who decide to play an active role will stand to profit. The core of Fujitsu’s Co-creation approach to innovation is focused on bringing together a wide range of different perspectives. One good example of this are the Digital Transformation Centers which Fujitsu is now establishing worldwide – these centers let customers, partners and experts come together to discover and develop new ideas.
Fit for the digital world
Mixed teams and mixed leadership are sources of tremendous power when it comes to shaping the future – especially in terms of higher productivity, employee satisfaction, creativity, problem solving and innovation in general. We are experiencing dramatic change at all levels of society, politics and business – everything is in a state of flux – and women are playing a greater role in managing these developments. External networks like Professional Women’s Network global, Woman and Work, Shemeansbusiness (GER), Women Speaker Foundation (GER), WOMAN’s Business Club (GER), initiatives for Diversity and Inclusion, plus programs such as the Female Leadership Development Program from Fujitsu are among the engines of change that are boosting the role of women in business transformation.
However, a lot still needs to be done because the number of women with executive responsibilities – especially in technology enterprises – is still relatively small. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), often called the “mother of software programming,” is a good example of what women can achieve in a technology-centric world. Fujitsu offers women many opportunities to achieve career success – the next highlight of relevance to these initiatives will be Fujitsu Ada Lovelace Day to be held in April in Frankfurt, Germany.