Simone Menne

How SMEs could keep up with digitization (Simone Menne)

Simone Menne is very happy that her current job as non-executive director for multiple companies gives her more time to think and the possibility for deeper research. She is disappointed that – in the German economy – digitization is seen more often as a threat than an opportunity. In this interview Simone Menne talks about an interesting approach how SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) could keep up with the newest technological trends.

You will hardly find someone who has as many insights into the status quo of the Germany economy as Simone Menne.
At Ada Lovelace Festival 2018, Simone will talk about
How do managers bridge the conflict between disruption and business interest – or is there none?

Interview with Simone Menne

Simone, your Twitter profile says your heart beats for #digital & #art. You are planning to open an art gallery in your home in Kiel. How is that project coming along? Will there be digital elements?

Simone Menne: The project is moving too slow – it is not easy to start something when you do not know what you really must do. Quite a new experience for me. And it will be very analog – I was even thinking of sculptures to be touched.

After several years on the executive level you shifted your job focus on being a non-executive director. Is that less work? Or is it different work? What do you like about it?

Simone Menne: I like the freedom – I have more time to think and the possibility for deeper research. I like the possibility to work for several companies in different segments and find out the similarities especially talking about new technology.

In a recent interview you said that there is too much whining about digitization on the executive floor. What do you mean by that?

Simone Menne: Well I think there is not enough clear definition what digitization may mean specifically and dig into this deeper. There is this general unspecific feeling of threat instead of the optimistic feeling about opportunities.

The “Mittelstand” (SME) is an important part of Germany economy, but it seems to have trouble to keep track with technologies like blockchain or AI that are defining how business is made. What can be done?

Simone Menne: I think public Think Tanks could help here. And here you could also combine SME with bigger companies as both can learn from each other. I saw several SMEs which were further in specific developments but maybe not as broad as the big ones. And as we must think in ecosystems anyhow I see opportunities there.

You’re a passionate advocate to increase the #WomenInLeadership in Germany. What news that you read in that field in 2018 made you the happiest? What disappointed you?

Simone Menne: I like the increasing number of initiatives where women connect and find rolemodels. It is disappointing that there are less woman in parliament (Bundestag) than in the period before.