Staufen AG regularly invites guests to an atmospheric evening with renowned guest speakers to discuss current business topics in a small, exclusive circle of participants and to deepen conversations during a joint Speakers Dinner.
Germany is a country that is proud of its well-thought-out ideas and inventions and of its high-quality work. At the same time, the economically decisive players – our companies and organizations – are often inflexible when it comes to innovations in their own “businesses”. Some revolutionary ideas are rejected because they seem too daring or even too far out of the box. But this kind of thinking must be allowed, because voicing every interesting idea is important for innovation.
Microsoft Germany CIO Anna Kopp spoke to 25 participating business leaders, board members and managing directors at Köngen Castle in April 2022 about the meaning and importance of leadership in digital times.
“Many business leaders know that the new world of work is changing and that they need to do something to keep up with the competition. However, a simple commitment to change is not enough. A Successful transformation requires investing time, money and people,” Anna Kopp reflected. “Only executives who study the transformation topic in depth and learn the necessary tools can implement real change in the company. It reaches deeply into all areas of the company and can’t just be done ad-on.”
One area that may suffer from the new decentralized and flexible work environment, the guests agreed, is innovation. To make sure that doesn’t happen, leaders are encouraged to ensure that ideas are given room to flourish. “Idea boards or meetings for hackathons, for example, are good ways to maintain innovation in the new work environment,” Anna Kopp reported from her own company experience.
We need more confidence in the future. I would like to see more courage for new technologies and more will to change to make our business world more flexible and better.Anna Kopp, CIO, MICROSOFT Germany
“Not every idea has to be completely finished or mature to be set into action. Teams are there to think collaboratively. If you are stuck with an idea at a certain point, you can ask colleagues and superiors for advice and rely on the development strength of your own network. In a team, fruitful discussions and, ultimately, innovations emerge.”
When asked which companies will be the most successful in mastering change, Anna Kopp honestly communicated her point of view: “The best chances are those that live a healthy culture of trial and error. Those who motivate their employees to also express unusual ideas must try out different things. It is important to use measurable points to continuously check whether a procedure is proving successful or not. In this way, the organization can quickly adjust or, if necessary, replace the adjustment with a new one. If you don’t allow change for fear of making mistakes, you’ll stay in place and block your future.”
“We need more confidence in the future. I would like to see more courage for new technologies and more will to change to make our business world more flexible and better. When it comes to the topic of new work, the introduction of hybrid work models or digital approaches, many companies and their managers fear a certain loss of control over their organization and their employees. But the vision is different, namely, to improve working conditions for employees and to make organizations more efficient. We need more optimism in order not to fall behind in the digital transformation,” concludes Anna Kopp.
A continuation of the Rittersaal series is planned for late fall.
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Anna Kopp has been working at Microsoft for more than 16 years. Head of IT since 2015, she is in charge of the technology company’s office in Munich. A power woman who like no other executive has lived and breathed new work for years.Read more