Brave new world – about the art of skilful digitalisation. Possibilities are not necessarily a must.

Everyone is talking about digitalisation – it embodies the promise of tremendous simplification and the exciting realisation of dreams – the moment when all of a sudden everything becomes smart and intelligent.

On top of my personal wish list are autonomous cars, namely the possibility of being “chauffeured” from one location to another by a driverless car. This wish is followed very closely by the longing for a domestic robot that can cook, wash and iron. In addition to this level of convenience and comfort, I would also like to see an improvement in health-related issues – to extend one’s life, stay healthy and grow old while staying active.

There is no doubt that all of this will eventually become a reality – the implementation, however, will take longer than initially assumed. And in addition to the numerous dreams of mankind, we will also encounter a lot of scrap metal on this highway of technology, which, instead of offering additional value, will be nothing but technological fantasies or dangerous ideas. Just because they are possible does not mean they are automatically beneficial! Not everything that is possible actually translates into being useful.

The above-mentioned wishes can also be interpreted in very different ways, as more or less useful and as ideas of greater or lesser benefit or value.

If we are to know the user’s demands, it is vital to keep the user’s perspective in mind and to apply design thinking throughout this process.

Their implementation radically changes both business models and processes alike and carries risks for which conventional company structures are suitable only to a limited extent. In an ideal world, it would be up to start-ups and incubators to address the issue while being backed by the resources, experience and infrastructure of well-established companies.

In this brave new world we must truly think about how to deal with the use and misuse of data and what kind of benefits these seemingly endless possibilities bring to people that are increasingly becoming transparent.


– a guest post by Prof. Dr. Johann Füller



Since the winter semester of 2012, Dr Johann Füller has been holding the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce’s endowed professorship of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Department of Strategic Management of Innsbruck University.

He is a board member of Munich-based HYVE Innovation Community and a fellow at the NASA Tournament Lab-Research of Harvard University and received his PhD in marketing with a dissertation on “community-based innovations”.

Johann Füller studies the innovative behaviour of clients in online communities and the use of online communities and crowdsourcing with regards to development. In addition to his research activities, he regularly holds lectures and publishes articles and papers in a range of magazines including Harvard Business Manager, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Science, MIS Quarterly and the Journal of Business Research.



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