2018

#zfexperts

Digital Convention - unlock the potential

Min Reading Time
Tags: Connectivity, InternetOfThings

The first Digital Convention was a unique platform for more than 800 employees to network and exchange information on digital topics and trends. Chief Digital Officer summarizes her impressions in a blog post.
Mamatha Chamarthi, November 16, 2018
author_image
Mamatha Chamarthi As ZF's Chief Digital Officer Mamatha Chamarthi is responsible for the digital transformation of products and processes. She has twenty years of increasing responsibility in several industries.
ZF's first-ever Digital Convention is officially in the history book. It was an exhilarating day of ideas and innovation for each of us to take away and apply going forward. My goal for the event was to provide a forum for ZF employees who are intrigued and inspired by all things digital to come together for networking and sharing thoughts, ideas, and best-practices.

One of our employees Robert Copelan summarizes his experience: "The dreams a person needs most are the dreams that intimidate and excite them most at the same time". We had more than 800 such dreamers attended the event in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Wow! I was thrilled to see such a thirst for digital entrepreneurship. My team and I designed the Digital Convention as way to facilitate both a personal and professional journey, so the employees, in turn, can help transform ZF for the digital age.

ZF Digitalization Strategy

ZF Digitalization Strategy

Our ambitious ZF vision calls for developing clean, safe mobility solutions that are automated, comfortable, affordable, and accessible to everyone around the world. With digitalization, we are offering networked products and solutions across diverse customer segments. A great example of our digital innovation is "Sound.AI," a sound recognition system empowering future vehicles to 'hear.' Sound.AI is an exciting result of last year's Digital Innovation Challenge.
We know we can deliver on this strategy with an open corporate culture that fosters new ideas—because successful digital transformation begins w in the minds of every employee.
Align your mindset to a new way of thinking and combine it with best practices from the industry & you will have a whole new set of capabilities to help you grow both personally and professionally.

Digital Convention Highlights

Digital Convention Highlights

Those who attended the ZF Digital Convention saw a wide range of presentations, participated in workshops, and engaged in lively discussions centered on digital transformation. There were so many highlights, it's hard to mention just a few.

CEO and External Keynotes

CEO and External Keynotes

We heard several inspiring keynote speakers, including our own CEO, Mr.Wolf-Henning Scheider, who emphasized the importance of digitalization for the company. And finally, our ZF CEO reminded the employees that EVERY product has to be connected.
Wolf-Henning Scheider motivating ZF employees to embrace digitalization and use the multiplier concept to accelerate innovation

We also heard from Rob Csongor, Vice President of Autonomous Machines at NVIDIA. Amazed by how much AI he already saw on display at the ZF Convention Marketplace, Rob helped us understand the power of AI. He talked about using AI to "solve a problem that really matters because ultimately, the rest of the world will want it." Rob confirmed the critical importance of the NVIDIA and ZF partnership because 300 people die in vehicle accidents every day from human error. By leveraging AI, we can help solve this crisis! Rob concluded with this thought: "If you have a conference like this, you are ready to re-invent yourselves."
Maks Giordano, Managing Director of the kreait digital agency, provided razor-sharp insights clearly defining the shifts in mindset that are required for an organizational transformation. We must go from:
  • Profit to purpose
  • Hierarchies to networks
  • Controlling to empowering
  • Planning to experimentation
  • Privacy to transparency

ZFx Talks

ZFx Talks

I loved the fast-paced format of the ZFx Talks on the Main Stage. Vikas Krishna, from my team had a shout-out from Mr. Scheider! This point from his talk really nailed it:
"The IOT Platform is a foundational capability for a manufacturer, like ZF, to move up the value chain through software. Physical assets only take us so far … but then connectivity and data and APIs allow us to build higher value applications that enable use cases defined by employee ideas. This helps ZF serve the customer of tomorrow … as a leader of next generation mobility."

Market Place

Market Place

The Market Place digital showcase gave everyone an opportunity to see and share presentations featuring the latest divisional and functional projects in digital innovation and IOT.

GenZ Youth Panel Discussion

GenZ Youth Panel Discussion

The discussion during the GenZ panel with several young people ranging in age from 14 to 18 was fascinating. Mobility and connectedness are expectations that must be met to gain these young people as consumers of our new digital mobility products and services. This platform also gave us an insight into what motivates Gen Z when it comes to life decisions. How this impacts their career choices and therefore how can ZF then plan to attract and integrate these young aspiring and digital natives to join ZF and work in harmony with Gen X and Gen Y.

Pitch Night Winners

Pitch Night Winners

The highlight of the day was the Pitch Night presentations. A year ago, employees were invited to submit ideas to create exciting new digital opportunities at ZF with the "Digital Innovation Challenge." The goal of this initiative is to give our employees the opportunity to innovate … to use software and services to transform a product or process … to rethink the way we do business … to launch a new digital product … to create a digital process to make workflows more efficient … to use digitalization to break down organizational hierarchies and boundaries to drive collaboration within our organization.
Many employees took the challenge to explore the potential of their ideas by working with ZF experts and external thought-leaders to develop a business case. As the path to Pitch Night narrowed the field, some of the top contenders wowed us. Each participant displayed an impressive breadth of creativity and talent. I'm thrilled for each of the winners, both in Germany and in Michigan/US where we had another Pitch Night.