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FIR e. V. an der RWTH Aachen

Business Transformation

Successfully changing companies

"We support businesses by realising lasting change and improving their behaviour when confronted with renovation."

Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Gudergan, Head of Business Transformation

In a globalised world, innovation and the ability to adapt are key success factors for companies. The driving forces that reinforce complexity on the one hand and the intensity and speed of change on the other are, for example, new technological innovations, the fourth industrial revolution or demographic change. Enterprises that produce innovations, that scrutinise their own offerings, business models and organisational forms on an ongoing basis and that adapt over and again in a very short time to new circumstances are more successful than their competitors. Practice shows, however, that many innovation and transformation projects fail. Successfully implementing such transformations is marked by fundamental changes in the processes, structures and the behaviour of the organisation and of each individual employee. To this end, the Business Transformation division concerns itself with the phenomena, processes and methods of transforming enterprises. The questions of how the projects necessary for transformations are successfully kicked-off and carried through and how companies develop into organisations capable of adaptation are of essential importance.

Transformation Strategy

Clear objectives and defining the route

  • What is our company vision regarding future development?
  • What is the appropriate transformation strategy to achieve it?
  • How do I derive suitable objectives from this?
  • How can I reduce the risk of failure?

These are the questions that companies ask themselves shortly before they are due to take major action to adapt. We explore the answers to these strategic questions under the heading of "Transformation Strategy“. Furthermore, we look into the development and selection of appropriate strategies to establish a change of paradigm during the transformation process. The aim is to reduce the uncertainty associated with the transformation and to ensure effective ways of achieving these objectives.

Transformation Design

Developing specific implementation plans and the business case Under the heading "Transformation Design", we deal with the analysis of the business in order to identify potential for improvement and opportunities for transformation. Furthermore, using suitable innovative methods such as Design Thinking, Transformation Readiness Assessment or Transformation Canvas, we develop concrete plans to implement changes effectively. The aim is to develop the methods and tools necessary for a successful transformation and to design transformations in a systematic fashion. Based on the experience gathered from many examples of application and academically-based methods, the target state of the business is defined in terms of adapted structures, processes and behaviour patterns. The focus is on the design of a transformation plan and process that supports the company when implementing changes.


Integrating the employees and the organisation in optimal manner In addition to the strategic change patterns and the methods for implementing change, transformational leadership and an associated use of communication to integrate the individual and the organisation are of central importance for the success of transformations. The employees of a company are the element that bears the weight of a transformation. This is why, under the heading of "Leadership", we deal with the design and application of appropriate models and tools for adapting the behaviour of employees within the transformation process. The goal is to empower the actors responsible for the transformation to superintend employees through the various phases throughout the transformation process and to integrate them into the new structures and processes.

Associated running Projects

(c) 2009-2017 Institute for Industrial Management at RWTH Aachen University   -   www.fir.rwth-aachen.de