Audi, Volkswagen and SEAT to inspire with digital conference

How does a car maker transform into a digital car company with digital products and processes? Audi’s showing the way. At DigiKon22, employees will familiarize each other with new tools, mindsets and forms of collaboration. Volkswagen and SEAT are on board as well.

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Five days, 174 sessions and oodles of initiative: At the internal digital conference Collaboration 2.0 – or DigiKon22 for short – around 140 employees and 25 guest speakers from management will show their colleagues how to live and breathe digitalization and use it for teamwork in their everyday work lives. The topics include specific tips for tools such as Microsoft Teams, methods for dealing with floods of information and positive psychology in everyday work. Just like at the first DigiKon last year, each 50-minute session will provide time for ideas, live demonstrations, workshops and direct exchange with employees and managers. The sessions do not have to be signed up for in advance. What is new this year is the cross-brand approach. Guides and guest speakers from Audi, Volkswagen and SEAT will all be participating in the conference, which takes place from April 4 to 8, 2022.

Audi inspires allied brands Volkswagen and SEAT

The idea for this virtual event came from the Audi employee network “Collaboration 2.0 Guides”. These so-called #z20guides organized – without being asked to do so by management – the first digital conference in 2021 in order to advance digitalization and the cultural transformation at the four rings. Within just weeks, nearly 100 digital sessions from employees, for employees, were set up – more than ever before at Audi. This success did not go unnoticed by the allied brands. “We’re really pleased that SEAT and Volkswagen are participating this year and are supporting us on the teams for both organization and speakers,” said Dr. Anke Rettenmeier, the founder of the #z20guides. “SEAT is even using the DigiKon to set up its own guide network, like Audi and Volkswagen. That’s awesome!”  

Through the digital transformation with no hurdles or hierarchies

But why are self-organized, cross-departmental networks even needed? The #z20guides at Audi help with more than just the company’s digitalization offensives and transformation programs. With no hurdles or hierarchies, the guides show their colleagues how to use new digital tools productively in their everyday work and how to develop a culture of cooperation and collaboration that suits the hybrid, flexible work environment of today and tomorrow. “The goal is thus not only to get better at handling IT tools, but also and especially to establish a new togetherness within the company,” Rettenmeier said. It’s all about promoting collegial support and dismantling silos. And this concept is being very well received. Having started with 15 Audi employees in the year 2018, the network now numbers more than 300 members. “The guides come from a variety of business divisions and are trained for their tasks on a regular basis. In bimonthly meetups, the guides use concrete examples to show Audi employees tips and tricks on how they can improve their everyday work lives. The guides in turn train each other and stay in regular contact through ‘guide calls’, because shared knowledge drives the four rings forward,” said Stefanie Klarner, who organizes the meetups.

Guides and teamwork: Learning independently, sharing knowledge

With their dedication and the DigiKon, the guides are once more demonstrating that independent, self-guided learning plays an important role at Audi. “Because the digital transformation in the automotive industry will only succeed if all employees are willing to further develop both personally and professionally,” said Audi Board Member for Human Resources Dr. Sabine Maaßen. And this development is accelerated when knowledge is shared – within the company at Audi and with the allied brands in the Volkswagen Group.

Audi, Volkswagen and SEAT live and breathe digitalization

The DigiKon22 organizational team will document the sessions in their entirety and continue to make the content about the three fields of tools, methods and mindsets available to the employees. On top of that, the guides will return to various topics in meetups over the next few months and offer a DigiDay on the topic of SharePoint Online in May. Certain conference content will also be added onto for the public over the next few weeks at the website audi.com. Rettenmeier is convinced: “With our digital qualification offensive, our #z20guides and other initiatives, we’re showing that we’re not only talking about digitalization, but also living and breathing it.” Under the motto “Better Normal”, Audi and the works council launched a project to continue to make the work environment more flexible and push toward becoming a hybrid company – for instance, through mobile work and training. Audi’s transformational journey toward becoming a digital car company is thus in full swing. 

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