What happened at Frontiers of Dialogue Forum?

We had a great third and final event on the series „Managing the Future of Global Work“ on March 5th.

At the first part of the event series (Sep19), distinguished experts explored the trends on how to manage workforces, and at the second part (Dec19), we discussed how to plan and manage workplaces. The third event concluded on the topic of trending business processes.

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I initiated the event series „Managing the Future of Global Work“ to raise awareness.

My mission is to help improve an understanding of how internal and external factors are forcing organisations and individuals to adapt to imminent changes in the areas of people, places and processes.

Last week, Frontiers of Dialogue Forum featured respective experts in their field, above all keynote speaker Jacobs Edo (OPEC for Industrial Development), Caroline Hahn (Arenberg Beratung), Katharina Bisset (Nerds of Law), and Prof. Michael Heiss (Siemens and Vienna University of Technology).

Each speaker shared their Visions on the Future of Business Processes.

Opening FoD Forum, as the initiator and chair, I welcomed our guests at the cosy venue of SPACES06 Funkensprung in Vienna.

Frontiers of Dialogue Forum sponsor, Funkensprung Coworking Company and its co-founder Bernhard Hoetzl, shared his insights into how to use co-working spaces for an agile workflow process.

Jacobs Edo, author of numerous books, including the bestseller „The Digital Transformation: Evolving a digitally enabled Nigerian Public Service“, pointed out that often the technology is purchased first and only then planned, or that there are only visions but no concrete objectives. The more complicated the situation, e.g. due to missing infrastructure, the more necessary it is to map possible workflow systems. And these processes must then be continuously monitored to identify and implement potential for improvement. The future of business processes will be machine-based. The difficulty here is not to develop the technology for this, but to get people used to it, says Jacobs.
In the following panel discussion, Caroline Hahn took up the human factor as a significant challenge in the business process. Management, in particular, is responsible for understanding human behaviour and taking fears seriously; otherwise, business processes become too complicated to implement. Communication would be the most important thing here.

Also, senior managers in need of reforming workflow systems often resist superior knowledge of digital natives and agile methods as well as rapidly changing markets. Therefore, Caroline pleads for „conscious“ leadership. In classic hierarchies, which are prevalent in companies across the globe, bottom-up management is a challenge to implement, as Caroline also notes in her consultations.
Katharina Bisset pointed out the necessity of transparent business processes. Otherwise, as a lawyer, it is not possible to draw up specific data protection regulations for the company. For Katharina, the most significant data protection risk is the human being, because the best privacy policy is of no use, if, for example, someone’s laptop or mobile device is lost or stolen.
Katharina encourages remote despite the issue of data protection. Many industries, including the legal sector, have a lot of catching up to do to adopt modern business processes, such as home offices.

For Prof. Michael Heiss, digitalised business processes are an aspect of survival for many companies. However, old habits die hard. Even at a technology company such as Siemens, some employees print out documents to enter data from paper into an information system. Here, too, human errors are preprogrammed. Convenience continuous to prevail. The issue is that, as an employee, you often do not even know that you are part of a business process.
If machines take over processes, there will be more room for more pleasant things for people, says Caroline Hahn when asked how she sees future developments. Automation enables employees to communicate more and work on more creative tasks.

The redesign of offices in some large companies or the option of relocating to coworking spaces takes into account the evolvements on new ways we work. If you are looking for a change of scenery for your working group, feel free to contact me or Funkensprung.
Frontiers of Dialogue Forum, Visions for the Future of Business Processes, 05MAR2020
Photo Credit: Andreas Hoyer