Henning Gerbaulet on how Digitalization will Change Business

Henning Gerbaulet is the CEO and Managing Partner of ETERNA Mode and has more than 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. A member of CURAZE, FemaleOneZero’s innovation network, he believes that willingness to learn, curiosity and adaptability will be key skills for business people as we navigate digitalization

Henning Gerbaulet, CEO of Eterna

1. Which topics and issues drive today's business?

- In general, digital, organizational and cultural transformation are the issues driving business today.

- In the field of B2C: the use of the internet, CRM, social media, social selling and customer care.

- In the field of product innovation: sustainability and casualization.

- Building a sustainable and vertical supply chain, and time to market and on-demand production.

- Using a mixture of online and offline networking in the fields of B2C and B2B.

2. ... And what are the biggest challenges?

Corona, funding, planning under uncertainty, the lack of digitalization, filling new career fields and new job profiles.

3. What innovations and tech trends do you find particularly exciting?

Social media and social commerce.

4. Which ideas have inspired you recently?

Storytelling and the social selling approach.

5. Why do cultural change and digital transformation belong together?

Digitalization is changing businesses’ entire processes as well as individual work tasks. This, in turn, is triggering organizational challenges and the creation of new career fields. Employees will only be able to cope with this transformation if they are highly willing to change and can adapt to changed values caused by a wider cultural shift. Instead of security and daily routines, curiosity, willingness to learn and adaptability will become more important values. Furthermore – and this applies on all levels of hierarchy – a decisive factor will be how well you can deal with the imponderables in the industry.

6. In one sentence, what's a topic that we should no longer be discussing in five years?

Climate change and our contribution to its mitigation.

7. What makes companies and their leadership successful in the long run?

The key to long-term success for companies is identifying with meaningful yet promising corporate goals and brand values. With regards to leadership, success comes from having an open organizational culture with opportunities to improve the business but with an appropriate tolerance for mistakes. It’s true what they say: the better argument trumps the job title.

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