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Digitalisation up close and personal

Inspiring senior managers

“Something involving digitalisation” is the ironic comment one is often tempted to make on hearing yet another argument about the upending of our working lives. Companies can and should expect much more of themselves and their senior managers.

The challenge:

The term digitalisation is now so widely used that it is on the point of becoming meaningless. While this scarcely matters in private conversations, it is critical when digitalisation becomes a key parameter for specific performance requirements. This short “workshop report” from a newly launched in-house project provides an example of how we work co-creatively with our clients to specify programme requirements and components step by step, and then fine-tune the design of the various modules that comprise an effective digitalisation programme.

An industrial enterprise that operates globally and employs some 20,000 people on nearly 200 sites around the world, is planning a training programme for senior managers who are preparing for top management positions. The programme will last for several days. In a highly competitive market where there is significant pressure – especially from customers – to optimise both efficiency and prices, the company wants to highlight the real-world opportunities associated with digitalisation. In a module lasting several days and entitled (still in very general terms) “Digitalisation”, together with the explanatory keywords “techniques, options, environmental influences, connectivity (tools)”, the module is expected to enable participants to identify and systematically exploit such opportunities in their respective areas of responsibility.

Our approach:

Where the content specifications for a training course are still comparatively broad, designing the course to meet the company’s needs and objectives requires close cooperation with the client’s representatives right from the outset, due to their awareness of in-house targets as well as the target audience’s specific situation and range of interests. This means taking the following carefully coordinated approach:

  • Developing a generic modular structure for the programme as a whole.
  • Focusing the module description “Digitalisation” more precisely on the target audience’s defined management functions.
  • Executing a design process involving the step-by-step refinement of both content and methodology, in a joint effort by the client’s representatives, Frankfurt School’s project manager, and the designated trainers/consultants.


The first step is to determine which programme components best meet the needs of the company and the course participants’ (future) management functions. At this stage, the idea of using one of the company’s own recently developed products as a benchmark case is proposed. In a subsequent design workshop involving the client’s principal, the client’s key managers, and Frankfurt School’s project managers and experts, the content specifications for a five-day module covering various facets of the comprehensive transformational process known as “digitalisation” are fine-tuned and signed off. Now entitled “Digitalisation as transformative undertaking”, the module is ready for launch.