To anticipate the answer right away: Probably not!

Bettina Stoob, Head of Global Innovation at industrial insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), explained during her presentation at 2017 that global corporations in particular often have problems keeping pace with the speed of digital change driven by technological developments.

Bettina Stoob compared her company with the venerable sailing training ship "Gorch Fock" to match the Hanseatic event location: Although AGCS is extremely stable and well situated in the water, fast turning manoeuvres are difficult to carry out under these conditions. Since AGCS could not be converted ad hoc into a company with a start-up culture any more than the "Gorch Fock" into an agile racing yacht, Stoob pleaded for a pragmatic solution: the mother ship could afford a second boat. A bimodal organisational model in which one group continues to take care of the traditional day-to-day business, while the other group tackles the challenges of the company in an agile and topic-oriented manner, is very promising in their eyes. However, the employees of AGCS, many of whom have been with the company for many years, are not always immediately deployable in a company division with a speedboat character. That's why her company is now setting up a digital literacy program to prepare colleagues for the new way of working.

key takeaways

  • AGCS can be compared to the "Gorch Fock": tall, old, proud, lying well in the water, but sometimes a bit sluggish.
  • The competitors from the tech scene, on the other hand, have a racing yacht character: extremely agile, extremely fast, small, focused team.
  • AGCS cannot be converted into an agile company with a start-up character any more than the "Gorch Fock" can be converted into a racing yacht.
  • The solution: a second boat: building a bimodal organizational model with two groups (traditional and agile)
  • The employees usually want to go the way, but have to be prepared. Provision of Digital Literacy Programs
  • A mindset and habitus clamp for more innovative power and will is necessary.