Digital transformation from three perspectives

Recently appointed head of department Dr. Nadja Hoßbach looks at digital transformation from three perspectives

Dull and monotonous? Not here! Dr. Nadja Hoßbach heads up a diverse team made up of experts from the social and economic sciences, from the natural sciences and mathematics, from engineering and psychology, plus a large number of students and research assistants. Hoßbach, who holds a doctorate in information systems, took over as head of the Innovation and Transformation department at the Fraunhofer Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services SCS, with its 40 employees, on September 1, 2020. Together, their mission is: “To help organizations master the digital transformation,” Hoßbach says.

In doing this, she and her team look at the digital transformation from three perspectives. The Future Engineering group focuses on technology: What trends and market changes are companies facing? How can machine text analysis methods be applied to process large amounts of unstructured data in order for companies to identify changes in their market and technological environment? The Business Transformation group looks at digital transformation from a corporate angle, the classic business perspective. Here, the focus is on the companies themselves: What impact does technology have on business models? What potentials do digital technologies offer for service systems and business models? And what are the organizational implications of new business models? Last but not least, the Human Centered Innovation group addresses the human factor: How can people be involved in the development of IoT and AI systems? How must innovation labs be designed to benefit those who use and operate them?

Hoßbach’s background helps her with this constant switching between perspectives. Born in Erlangen, Germany, she worked as a management consultant for nine years, which means she fully understands the corporate stance. “In that world, we had to find and work out solutions, initiate change processes and sometimes resolve conflicts of interest,” Hoßbach recalls. During her subsequent doctorate at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, her main focus was the scientific perspective. “These two angles work really well together – after all, our work at Fraunhofer IIS is all about applying findings from scientific research in the business sector,” she says. In addition to being an expert in science and application, Hoßbach’s experience means she is well accustomed to switching perspectives.