Current research findings show that in the course of Digital Transformation, tensions repeatedly arise that motivate the players involved to question previous responses and habits and to search for new solutions. In this process, their space for action and decision-making is regularly limited in trajectories. This background prompts us to reflect more closely on various tensions and trajectories and thus to search for answers to current challenges in the course of technology-driven change processes.

The Project

In the video podcast series “Tensions during Digital Transformation,” individual representatives from academia and practice give interviews in the area of their expertise. The central topics of the conversations conducted by Prof. Dr. Martin Gersch (Freie Universität Berlin) are which tensions can arise in the course of Digital Transformations and why, and how to deal with them. What factors and mechanisms limit experienced spaces for action and what organizational and technical options are available to perhaps even be able to transform them into advantageous opportunities.

“Tensions during Digital Transformation” is a cooperation of:

Episode 01: "Shadow IT"

Prof. Dr. Hannes Rothe, from the Department of Business Informatics at the FU Berlin and an expert on IT entrepreneurship, provides insights into the phenomenon of “Shadow IT”.

In this case, a separate landscape of decentrally implemented hardware and software applications is usually created bypassing the central IT department of a company.
This is usually already an expression of a developing tension and often develops its own dynamics. In addition to advantages and disadvantages, the discussion also outlines solution options in the direction of so-called “Managed IT”.

The following two publications are recommended as supplementary literature:

Episode 02: "Path Dependency and Market Penetration"

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Güttel, Institute of Management Science and Head of the Continuing Education Center at the Vienna University of Technology, reflects on his decades of experience in research and practice.

Tensions show up in a wide variety of situations, including trade-offs in focusing, for example, on radical innovations or penetrating established markets.
Path dependencies limit room for maneuver in this regard. The clear differences between startups and small companies on the one hand and large companies on the other are also discussed in the second episode of “Tensions during Digital Transformation”.

Further reading recommendations:

Episode 03: "Tensions in (Digital) Innovation Projects in the Healthcare Sector"

Prof. Dr. Volker Amelung is Chairman of the Board of the Bundesverband Managed Care e.V. (German Managed Care Association) and Professor at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) for Health Management and Health Systems Research. As managing director of inav, the Research Institute for Applied Health Services Research GmbH, he reports in particular on his experience in supervising innovation fund projects in the field of health care.

These tensions arise over the entire course of an innovation project: from the application for funding to the first months of project implementation. They can be traced back to very different technical, organizational, but also personal causes. In the interview, Prof. Dr. Volker Amelung emphasizes, among other things, divergent risk appetites and business models. He goes into great detail about the various causes of tensions and shows initial experiences of how to remedy the situation.

Further literature can be found at:

Health Innovation Hub

Episode 04: "#dedoc° - Pioneer of Digital Patient Communities"

Bastian Hauck is the founder and CEO of Dedoc Labs GmbH – a company that professionalizes the work of an online community (#dedoc) that has evolved over many years and thus benefits people with type I and II diabetes in many ways .

What initially began as a network for friends under the hashtag #dedoc° has developed into a professional platform that gives diabetes patients a voice and advocates for their interests. For example, at the world’s largest diabetes congress EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes), #dedocday° is an annual community event that connects those affected, associations, initiatives and companies. The #dedoc° community supports the development of new, mostly digital solutions for people living with diabetes mellitus in a variety of formats.

How did Bastian Hauck turn an idea into a successful and professionally operating community, and how did he use Digital Transformation for this group? This expert discussion will also focus on the influence of Covid 19 and the associated impetus for Digital Health Applications (DiGA).

Episode 05: "Jelbi - Digital Transformation in the Mobility Revolution"

Michael Bartnik is project manager of Jelbi, the mobility platform for Berlin offered by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), which provides mobility services from a single source.

Since 2019, Jelbi has been implementing a multimodal mobility hub for Berlin, pursuing a platform strategy with integrated mobility services (“Mobility as a Service”) as part of the mobility turnaround in a rapidly developing European metropolis.
More and more mobility hubs (Jelbi stations) with area and mobility partners are being established at train stations and hotspots. The Jelbi app offers one-stop shopping as an individually bookable combination of public transport, ride services and sharings, including for bicycles, e-scooters and cars. Journey times and prices can be conveniently compared, while users’ data remains anonymized.

The realization of this project involves areas of tension externally, among other things in view of legal conditions, in the interaction with public companies and administrations, private partners and agile start-ups, but also internally within BVG, as this represents a completely new field of activity. The Jelbi platform is “One for All” – and how to reconcile external structures and diverse stakeholders is discussed by Michael Bartnik and Martin Gersch in this interview.

Related links:

This post is also available in: German