Boldly embracing change. This motto epitomized Kulturwandel 4.0 (cultural change) at the Otto Group from day one. We have radically questioned our attitudes and existing structures since 2015 as a way of reshaping our present and future. This process is continuous and participative. In other words: We have and will always experience this change together, irrespective of hierarchies and roles. The Otto Group has become more flexible as a result and is now more agile in its responses to far-reaching processes such as digitization.
Working differently, taking paths less trodden. Openness, connectedness, and communication define collaboration within the Otto Group. We trust in the greater effectiveness of personal responsibility. We abandoned the notion of top-down leadership a long time ago. Our executives are conduits who create leeway for their staff and establish frameworks that are built on trust and empowerment. Only then can a foundation for personal responsibility at work be built. We cultivate collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the Group to facilitate the management of challenges affecting multiple companies. We encourage a culture of feedback and a frank approach to mistakes as essential elements in fostering innovation. Failure is allowed, as long as we experiment courageously and learn from mistakes. Our teams are agile and mixed and composed of experts from various disciplines who collaborate assiduously on ideas and implementation strategies. For our customers, for the best results, and for our shared success.
We see diversity as prizing and protecting individuality. As signatories of the Diversity Charter, we believe it is our duty to give all our colleagues space to develop and to nurture their talents. Regardless of what their sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, age, social background, ethnicity or nationality, or physical and mental abilities may be. Everyone can find a home with us, and everyone is invited to contribute their potential. The Otto Group has introduced a Diversity Management system across the Group to make this possible. It organizes conferences on relevant topics, develops support programs, and acts as a first port of call for all related issues. We also assist the various networks within the Otto Group.
It is easy to lose direction in an increasingly fast-paced world. So, we are called upon to rise to fresh challenges as best we can. The Otto Group has always provided training measures for colleagues as a matter of course. They are broad-based and designed for the long term. But progressive digitization demands that we acquire new knowledge and skills in shorter intervals. And this calls for new methods of further training. In TechUcation, we have developed an initiative that engenders a uniform understanding of digitization throughout the Group. Employees are required to take a foundation seminar and can then book additional online courses to suit their knowledge and preferred disciplines—always reflecting the demands of their actual work. The curriculum is updated and expanded continuously. This ensures that we remain on the cutting edge of the latest developments.
Constant upheaval is a hallmark of our market environment. E-commerce especially demands continuous innovation to meet customer needs with even greater precision. We must identify innovative solutions and build awareness for new technologies which are useful for our purposes—and which are not. We experiment, try things out, and build prototypes to stay ahead of our competitors or to respond instantaneously to fresh developments. As a retail group, new technology must not be foreign to us, and we have to handle it quickly, creatively, and with agility. We’re good at that. Our cultural change has contributed a lot in this area. And will continue to do so going forward.