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Executive Roundtable: Digitalization

Partnering approaches and how to benefit best





V. Executive Roundtable – Digitalization 

Friday, the 10th of March 2017: For the fifth Executive Roundtable: Digitalization, Volker A. Pfirsching, Partner in Arthur D. Little’s Information Management Practice, welcomed the participants to Arthur D. Little’s office in Frankfurt.

As in previous roundtables, the aim of the event was an interactive session, with discussions to exchange experiences between participants, combined with selected impulse presentations. 

This event’s focus was partnering in the digital ecosystem.Partnering is a key topic with growing importance across industry, and a pillar to benefit from growing ecosystems, as Michael Opitz, Partner at Arthur D. Little, pointed out in an introductory key note.

Accordingly, the participants ranged from and railway the airline industry to logistics and telecommunication executives.


“Corporates are somewhat incapable of partnering” (Executive, mobility industry)

Corporates’ incapability of partnering with fast, agile organizations is largely due to fear of disruption, attachment to standards, security concerns and numerous habits. These observations are applicable cross-industry.


Executive briefing: Issues corporates face today


  • Decision cycles are too long for start-ups
  • Too many projects in similar contexts
  • Missing strategic orchestration
  • Unclear prioritization and selection criteria: pointed vs. broad search?

As a consequence, first start-up experiences are often semi-successful.
How corporates can successfully manage partnerships – with start-ups as well as other corporates – was shown in three impulse presentations from the invited speakers.


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