On Friday, we were in Wiesbaden, Germany attending a Barcamp, which was sponsored by R+V Versicherung, a leading German insurance company and the Heimathaffen, a coworking space, startup resource and event sponsor in Wiesbaden.
The main goal of a Barcamp is for organizations to have an open forum for discussion of new ideas. The attendees kick off the event by deciding on what topics to discuss, which are then added to the day’s schedule as sessions.
R+V has a major focus on growing its innovation strategy to adapt to the changing digital landscape. The theme of this year’s Barcamp revolved around topics such as innovation, digital transformation, design thinking and “new working” so we were excited at the opportunity to attend and soak in whatever was to be discussed.
R+V uses the Barcamp format for employees to have innovation discussions but it opens the doors for external attendees to help provide additional input to keep the discussion from becoming too siloed.
Admittedly, this was my first Barcamp, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Dominik Hofmann from the Heimathafen did an excellent job at moderating, however, so it was pretty easy to fall into the day’s format.
A few of the more interesting topics:
R+V is taking some pretty innovative steps by sponsoring an E-Sports team. They use E-Sports as a way to gain visibility to younger demographics who are just starting to think about purchasing insurance.
What Comes After Agile, Scrum and Design Thinking?
While software-based agile development processes have been around for some time now, there are many industries that are still struggling with the process of digital transformation. One critical challenge is awareness.
There was a discussion about “What comes after Agile, Scrum and Design Thinking” which was supposed to determine the future of agile development, but what was most interesting was to see a very large split in the attendees’ actual knowledge level and experience in working with agile processes.
While some attendees were experienced in agile, others were just getting their first awareness, so the topic was never really addressed.
A very important takeaway from this talk was that, while we in the tech industry often take for granted our understanding of SCRUM, agile processes and design thinking as “matter of fact” there are still a LOT of people, often in management positions who still need exposure, experience, education and acceptance.
Once we reach that critical mass of understanding, then we can plan on what comes next.
It was interesting to observe the attendees becoming slightly uncomfortable and defensive at the idea of what was being discussed. When it was brought up, they determined that the reason could be due to the word Hacking, which was giving the topic a negative connotation. Thomas suggested that perhaps the term would be more widely accepted in Germany by rephrasing the term to Growth Marketing instead of Growth Hacking
Localization is everything!
Dr. Oliver Kemmann from Kemweb and the host of our own podcast, Das Digitale Sofa hosted a discussion about Podcasting. The focus of the talk was about how easy and fast it is to create podcast content to grow and promote your business.
At the end of the day, we met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about what R+V is doing. There is a lot of innovation going on there, and it was exciting to see how the company is accepting the challenge of change in an open forum environment.
The topic of the next R+V Barcamp in 2020 will be about “Lean-Agile Transformation from Experimentation to Scale” which we look forward to attending!
For more information on the next R+V Barcamp, be sure to follow the Heimathafen for all the latest updates.