Digital education? There's nowhere near enough of it in Germany says Verena Pausder, celebrated entrepreneur and sought-after expert in digitalisation. And this is not the only construction site, Hamburg-born Ms. Pausder emphasised at the Vodafone eleVation Days. Here we sum up the three key items on her "Agenda for the New Country" in bullet points.
1. Digital education
… is not only Pausder's core topic, to which she has been passionately committed for years, but in her eyes is also one of the main levers in securing Germany's position as an innovative economic power for the future. Her suggestion to the politicians: Listen to parents, children and teachers! Because the people who are directly involved are best able to articulate their needs. Furthermore, she denounces the bureaucratic structures that, for example, lead to constant conflicts between the federal and state governments – and often make it difficult to implement an appropriate education policy. This could be counteracted, for instance, by establishing a "Ministry for Digitalisation" and by purifying the curricula.
2. A new german error culture
"Error culture" and "German" – a contradiction in terms? Ms. Pausder claims that the courage to experiment and make mistakes is certainly far lower in this country than it should be. Digitalisation simply cannot be planned with German thoroughness and then implemented once and for all, but is a process that requires experimentation and an open corporate culture. This calls for a "sandpit" where actors from the worlds of business, research and politics can try out new things without having to fear the consequences. Berlin has the potential to do so, but is still a long way from the American and Chinese role models.
3. More cooperation and trust
Competence, cooperation and the next generation of skilled workers are still far too strongly disadvantaged in Germany by a mentality in which hierarchical thinking and control mania set the tone, laments Ms. Pausder. More trust and less micro-controlling, more cooperation and less silo thinking are essential if we want to be able to exploit the full potential of competent workers. The past few months have demonstrated quite clearly that New Work can also make a valuable contribution to the competitiveness of the German economy beyond all the hype.