A Job for Developing the Future (Both Mine and That of Others)

2 months ago I started a new job after finishing my Master Thesis (which also happens to be the reason that I did not blog that much lately – sorry for that!).

So far I have to say that I simply love it! I have the feeling that I am building the future for myself and the company, both driving the company to the next level of innovation and preparing myself for the awesome job of sharing, enabling and promoting opportunities for personal and professional development as a business model. But how does this actually all pan out? Bear with me as I go through the different points of explaining the setting, the changes, and the outcome for both the company, my business model and innovation…

Initial Setting

I now work in a German IT company, which does both software development for shop-, learn management- and information systems and spends its “marketing budget” on their passion and creating something that will stick in your head: Developing Robots. These robots shall have a personal touch and e.g. provide a partner for elderly people to hold meaningful conversations with and monitor their health functions and medication intake at the same time.
That is the current idea, but as soon as we get more we will surely aim at implementing them. Suggestions welcome! 🙂

First examples of our robot :)
First examples of our robot 🙂

RobbieWe have a googly athmosphere in the initial sense: if you have ideas, we will provide a platform to drive them. E.g. did we just get the Oculus Rift, which are 3D glasses with which you can immerse yourself in a virtual environment. Lets see what we can do with those, e.g. program some games and maybe also combine them with the robo project to create a full telepresence…? At 4pm you can help yourself to the company-provided beer or play on the XBOX on the big screen with colleagues. Surely a cool and friendly athmosphere … (We may also order a company Hookah soon :)). With such creativity all around some structure was missing to drive and funnel this creativity while organizing the running projects at the same time. The average employee age at the company is somewhere in the 40ies which have been there since its inception in 1995. At the moment we have about 25 employees.

Coming on Board

Then my friend came into the company at the beginning of this year and asked me to tag along. “I am changing companies and need somebody with a passion to drive things and some IT expertise – wanne join me?” I surely did! While he is driving the areas of HR, Marketing and Company Strategy, I started working on IT Project Management, Internal Collaboration Tools and Processes as well as Social Media presence.
I started to introduce some tools for Unified Communication and Collaboration (shared calendars, company-wide messenger and easy sharing platform, task management platform) while also taking over responsibility for IT projects for partners. At the same time, my friend is creating outside awareness for the company, bringing in new projects and fields of operations the for the company (like Innovation Management, Mobile Application Developement, etc) and hires new people to fulfill these new needs and also improve current areas of operations. A culture for documenting stuff was already in the company, which was a lucky start for me, but it could still be improved further.
Together we introduced new processes like BrownBagLunches to improve company-internal communication also on a physical and conceptional level and bring out new ideas from inside the company which based on personal interest and passion. Of course we also want to bring the current employees forward in their own development goals and keep them inspired! More concepts are already in the pipeline and will follow soon. All employees can feel a new drive in the company and so far welcome most of the changes.

Developing Improvements with Change Management / Impact for the company

Of course there are also some obstacles which have to be handled, which is where I also come in with the function of a Change Management responsible (while consulting closely with the rest of the management of course). As I said, several employees are more of the not-so-recent generation, while we also have some younger ones in our ranks already. This means that there are different adoption speeds and concerns. Since several of our tools are now also in the cloud, there are different concerns about information security and privacy, but also new expectations towards these tools for increased productivity. Since we are in Germany, the main challenge is to drive innovation while also adhering to the law and deliver on clients’ expectations, which are sometimes not moving as quickly forward as we are at the moment. This is my learning playground where I am challenged and can bring in my university knowledge as well as personal experience with previous similar projects. These previous experiences have mostly been in a student organization (AIESEC) which evolves and improves on a quick paste and does not carry old baggage along for that long. Fortunately I have the same general mindset in my new company, while of course nobody works for 15 years in a student organization and changes do not come as easily at the age of 50 as with 20.

This is also why we aim to join the best of both worlds and newly employ students and (international) interns through AIESEC with the aim of giving them the option to stay permanently in the company. This makes me feel like an AIESECer all over again! 🙂 I am also included in HR decisions and kept in the loop about other developments that my friend and new co-worker is introducing.

Impact for Me and the Company

Thus you can already imagine some impact for the company, which has been better communication and also several new projects in the pipeline, but of course several planted seeds still need to be reaped in order to see their yield. 🙂

I personally can already see some impact for my career and business model by gathering important hands-on experience in change management and internal collaboration. I am working towards my dream – are you?

On a related note maybe a little inspiration for getting on with your life and not taking it for granted. I am surely making the most of it!

As always welcoming comments and questions! Looking forward to hearing from ya! 🙂

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