Digitalization appears to be a dense cornerstone in societal development. This realization leads to the desire, at the governmental level, to engage in a ministerial conference on digitalization to further advance the design of digital processes not only in administration but also throughout society1. It’s a typical German approach, where attempts are made from the top down to achieve a positive change in coexistence through political influence.

However, users are often unfortunately forgotten. Which processes can be meaningfully digitized, and where does it make sense to allocate funds for digitalization2 to generate added value? What value can digitalization bring to administration, and more importantly, are the employees in administration even willing to adopt these new systems?3

The whole situation is somewhat reminiscent of the transition in transportation, the modal split4, and the attempt to shift the choice of transportation means towards more ecologically sustainable and less CO2-intensive options. Funds were raised to finance electric cars and charging infrastructure with minimal impact on the CO2 balance. It was only with the introduction of the €49 ticket that transportation companies felt an increase in passengers5. There had long been a demand for an affordable ticket from users and passenger associations.

In my opinion it would be sensible, in line with user expectations, not to force digitalization in Germany from „above“ but rather to listen to people and see which digital processes can truly add value, and to design them inclusively and barrier-free so that everyone can use them. This would help dismantle barriers and drive forward digitalization.

It also helps to take a look beyond one’s own borders and see what other countries are doing and how they are advancing digitization. Of course, not every society is comparable, as I learned during my visit to Dawn Café in Tokyo6. There, drinks were brought to the tables by robots controlled by people with disabilities at home. Additionally, there was a small robot avatar at each seat with which you could interact. On the other side, a person with disabilities assisted with the ordering process. I hope that someday we can achieve this level of acceptance for digital processes in Germany as well.

  1. Link – Digitalisierung: „Es muss vorangehen“ – ZDF heute ↩︎
  2. Link – Parlamentarisches Nachspiel zu ungenutzten Firewalls in Schulen in Sachsen-Anhalt – mdr ↩︎
  3. Link – Digitalisierung: Bayerischer Finanzminister setzt sich für Faxgeräte ein – ↩︎
  4. Link Fahrleistungen, Verkehrsleistung und Modal Split – Umweltbundesamt ↩︎
  5. Link – Deutschlandticket: Deutlich mehr Passagiere nutzen Busse und Bahnen – Spiege Online ↩︎
  6. Link – Das Dawn Cafe´in Tokio: Menschelnde Roboter – Stuttgarter Nachrichten ↩︎