The digitalization is rolling like an avalanche through the industrial countries at the moment. Everything is absorbed and changes the complete environment or society through this. This digitalization, the so-called digital transformation or also revolution, running through our country – for my taste actually much too slow – changes us and our complete culture.

The culture of work, of collaboration as well as also of development and education. Hierarchies get flatter in enterprises, agile management and development methods are introduced, employees are regarded as a partner on the same eye-level, as a team member with a lots of autonomy. Employees cannot squeeze the responsibility to bosses now any more – now everybody is responsible to take his/her part into the company and society. More flexible work with regard to place and time, open and flatter structures? Yes! But only for a more independent and with more sole responsibility way of working.

Firm structures will be less in future. Within few years there shall be only 40% of steady employments. The employee of the future, but also already of today, works in different projects once as freelancer, once in a steady employment position. Flexible, open, independent, available – from sluggish “arm chair potatoes” to agile laptop porter. Absolute mobility, consuming ecologically, analyzing critically, participating, lifelong learning – these are only some of the new guidelines which become naturalized due to the avalanche.

But what does lifelong learning mean? My grandfather has anyway always said the quotation of Laozi to us: “Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back.”. And at his times the digitalization hadn’t yet dragged the avalanche along. But through the fast changes, mainly through the digitalization and the connected new technologies, it is not anymore possible to stop with learning. Otherwise the stream carries one away and one goes down in the society. But lifelong learning says now as well that one has the responsibility for the further education of one’s own, for continuing the education, for the informal and formal learning and for collecting of knowledge in his own hands. One can’t anymore push this responsibility away. Why should an enterprise be interested to pay for your further education if you only support the company’s core team for one project?

But this self-responsibility for knowledge and learning draws a much bigger circle: to the beginnings of learning, to schools. Education and the understanding of it must fundamentally change. Not only, that new subjects must be imported into the teaching curriculums and the teacher-training in principle must change. No! Children must already learn in schools how they take on responsibility for themselves, for accumulating knowledge and for their learning. Already today students go on youtube in the afternoon to get explanations of theories and possible solutions if they haven’t understood this in the lesson in the morning. And this must be extended. How does one become a lifelong learner, how does one accumulate expert knowledge and how does one use this most efficiently to further develop products innovatively or to push developments?

Today’s StartUp scene already exemplifies it a little how the future will be. More and more companies follow this way. Because they must. Let’s infect now from the revolution, let’s change and form our culture. It is one of the most thrilling times with great and long-lasting changes – it is exciting to be able to experience this.


THE MAK’ED TEAM, Ann-Katrin Hardenberg