The learning journey at Siemens towards shaping digitalization

For several years now, the topic of digital transformation has been a constant focus of the business community. We’ve all heard about the risks of digital disruption and the need for transformation in the digital world. But what does digital transformation really mean applying it to your business? Foremost it requires new ways of thinking, acting and a willingness to disrupt well-established patterns. Read on to discover how Siemens is coaching its people to drive the transformation.

Make digitalization work!

This goal is one of our top priorities for 2018. The message is clear: It’s not about the why anymore it is about the how. So how to make digitalization work in a company with a workforce of 380,000 people? Our CEO Joe Kaeser empazises the importance of further education and training of people in this context. Much of it would boil down to learning new skills and unlearning patterns that stand in the way of digitalization. Subsequently, our Board set the ground and trusted us with the task of launching a global initiative to accelerate the digital transformation.

After forming a global, cross-functional team of experts and business leaders, we co-created a learning solution built on five pillars:

–       Inspire customers: Make sure everyone speaks the same language when it comes to digitalization and brings across a consistent story when connecting with customers.

–       Understand technology: Brief our people on the fundamentals of IoT, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, and discuss potential use cases

–       Experience technology: Hands-on experiments with digital technologies on realistic use cases relevant across businesses: building chatbots, “hacking” into a system, programming of cloud applications, connecting sensors to MindSphere (the Siemens open IoT operating system), and analyzing data with platforms like Knime

–       Design business: “Build-test-learn” for rapid business prototyping taking the customer’s perspective. Exploring business opportunities in co-creation with customers and a joint view on the entire value chain.

–       Implement and scale: Discuss and brainstorm the required changes in organization, processes, tools and competencies when implementing digital business.

Trickle down or bubble up?

First, our top 200 managers attended two days of classroom training; 3,000 more leaders covering more than 60 nationalities in customer-focused functions followed. These leaders are acting as ambassadors, inspiring their teams to join, learn and share their insights. At the same time we put together a massive open online course to be delivered to the employees worldwide.

This learning program is voluntary and available by invitation. The objective was for 20,000 employees to complete it in 2018 spreading the word across the organization. More than 24,000 are already part of the community. Many more will follow as the global rollout picks up momentum and the program expands to more and more countries in more and more languages. An additional 50,000 have already started their learning journey.

Better together!

There are several reasons why our team was able to rise to the challenge of successfully implementing this initiative. With its global reach, Global Learning Campus was able to conduct 100 face-to-face workshops around the world and is delivering the e-learning package to its far corners within a few months. But the bottom line of what made this story a success story is teamwork and the strong spirit to make it happen.

A truly global and cross-functional team with strong support from our top management created a learning experience that ties in with our business strategy. It provides real-world insight that our people can put to good use in the context of their business. A big thank you to the team for the commitment and a big thank you to our management for the strong support we received during the journey toward making digitalization work.

Learning to love it!

Siemens colleagues have taken this learning opportunity, going at it with enthusiasm, curiosity and the open-minded attitude making this global community so special. They liked the interaction with our “tech experts”, experimenting and super hands-on learning about the opportunities of digitalization.

For me on a personal level, the biggest kick I got out of this is the feedback from our participants about their successes implementing of what has been learnt. Seeing them sharing the digitalization story with customers and partners, continuing to passionately shape the way into the future with their teams.

They are connecting the dots, sharing with us the feedback on further learning needs and engage in co-creating the next topics to further raise the bar!

Now that’s the kind of learning I love!

Dr. Matthias Reuter, Siemens Global Learning Campus

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