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Female perspective important for digitalisation success

Many companies have problems with digitalisation, and how they should tackle the challenge. In the project Digitalisation from a female perspective, women in the automotive industry have been brought together in order to gain new approaches, and the result has become a series of important lessons. At Hanover Messe, Sandra Mattsson from RISE will explain about some of them.

If you put together a group of women and let them talk freely about digitalisation, will you come up with something new? This is what the Scandinavian Automotive Supplier Association (FKG) asked in a project run on behalf of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth In order to answer the question, they put together a two day course, which ended with a trip to Germany.

Sandra Mattsson is a researcher at RISE, and project manager for Digitalisation from a female perspective. She will give a talk about the outcome of the courses during the Hannover Messe fair, in early April. The programme item is part of the fair's WomanPower track, which with its 1,400 participants is one of the largest conferences for women in industry.

Sandra Mattsson has seen that the courses contributed with many different perspectives that may not otherwise have emerged, such as the importance of involving all employees and starting small.

"What we arrived at, and which I will talk about in Hanover, are three things above all: To have an innovative culture, take small steps and develop a long-term strategy for change processes and competence management."

Characteristic thirst for knowledge

The fact that all the participants were women was perhaps not the biggest difference to a mixed group, rather the thirst for knowledge of the groups that participated in the course was what really struck out.

"When we started the course, many people said they were completely new to digitalisation. Some went from talking about what digitalisation really means, will robots take our jobs? to on the last day discussing what kind of cloud services they should have. It felt fantastic, says Sandra Mattsson, who hopes that those who visit the seminar in Hannover will bring new perspectives on the connection between man and organisation."

"I hope that people take away with them the fact that you have to establish digitalisation in an organisation in a way that it does not take place too high up, and does not fail to become sufficiently robust. It is still people who are going to program and maintain the technology."

Networking improves gender equality and integration

FKG started the 2016 network Woman in the Supply Industry, which currently involves over 200 companies and has regular meetings. The network hopes to improve both gender equality and integration in the industry, and get more women interested in the automotive industry.

"It is important to network. Many of the members of the network are successful women, who often may feel lonely in their roles. The supplier industry is quite tough, says Sandra Mattsson, whose involvement in the network was the holding of courses and workshops on digitalisation and innovation."

The cooperation between FKG’s female networks and RISE continues, of course.

"We will also, together with Woman in the Supplier Industry, hold a course together with younger girls to continue discussing how we can implement digitalisation, and how to get more women into the industry. It is great fun to run courses with defined groups who want to network, and who want to talk about complex issues."