"Towards the Digital Champions League"
Netural´s CEO Albert Ortig has reflected on digital transformation for years, long before this term became a popular staple of expert talks. Ever since the agency´s formation he has called for a more strategic view on the change potential of digital media and services.
Netural´s recent move to enter a joint venture with the leading German strategist agency different to round off the range of digital services was therefore an unsurprising and rather logical step. We talked with founder Albert Ortig about the new subsidiary Nd, or Netural different, and its part in a remarkably holistic overall picture.
Albert, “digital transformation” in itself is just another slogan. What do you see as the real-life challenges for companies dealing with digitization?
As a matter of fact, most large and medium-sized players have long put digitization on their agendas, but all too often not as part of an overall strategy, rather on widely dispersed subordinate levels, and in widely varied contexts like product development, production, logistics, human relations, marketing communication, customer service. – Sooner or later, innovative thinkers in one or several departments will start their own projects. Their intention is always to keep up with change, but more often than not they will experience technical, cultural and/or organizational frictions, so compartmentalized digital projects will not necessarily produce overall successes.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.“ – Is that the spirit?
Yes - and no: Yes, organizations of every size need to test innovative technologies and all the fresh perspectives and practices they involve. On the other hand: no. Strategy deficits will inevitably produce frustrations. They are also expensive, burning money that should rather be spent in optimizing established procedures. Many will discover that in tooling with disruptive business models, they are about to sell the mule to buy a plow, and in the dead center of their core businesses. We must take innovative approaches involving e.g. service design paradigms, innovation labs and corporate startup setups, and learning will happen by doing.
Nd sets out with a novel consulting approach. What is so exciting about this?
Netural diffferent consulting integrates concept and proof-of-concept, a logical and necessary step, but long a blind spot in established consulting. Too many promising concepts are shrugged off without even giving them a try. - Unsurprisingly, because clients tend to understand the completion of a strategy process as a more or less total project reset, turning to service providers who were not involved in the underlying thinking. Netural diffferent takes ideas all the way to prototyping and road testing to prepare informed decisions about medium-sized and large investment.
How much Netural will there be in Nd?
Netural is an agency of choice for digital „cutting edge” projects. We welcome ambitioned clients in search of innovation excellence. This was the common ground for Netural and diffferent in founding Nd, and we are not utopians, but rather down-to-earth, shirt-sleeved and operating at a safe distance from conventional consultant lingo. We also have first-hand experience with the challenges startups face on the way up: Roomle is a spin-off we launched into independence, our latest project „Startaparat“ is a brand and advertising agency catering exclusively to startups, and our Co-working Loft „AXIS“ at Tabakfabrik Linz also adds to this competence.
How did you meet diffferent Berlin and how did you enter this cooperation?
It went like something on Tinder, only with humans taking the place of the algorithm: Several mutual acquaintances started independent matchmaking efforts because they felt that these two agencies would make a perfect match. When the CEOs finally met they didn´t take long to find out that our friends had a point.
How will Netural´s Austrian clients profit from this joint venture?
Netural diffferent is a rich source of know-how which will spread into all our existing customer accounts, even those without explicit consultancy agreements. But those who set ambitious goals – and some of our clients definitely do – will find that Netural diffferent offers concrete advantages on international playing fields, especially when aiming at the digital Champions League. We will be able to support digitization processes from initial strategy definition trough the subsequent concept, design and technical implementation steps and on to ongoing service and maintenance for the resulting infrastructures. We are even open to financing and investment scenarios, provided real win-win can be achieved.
Thank you, Albert, for these insights.
Always a pleasure.