"Digitalisation alone does not solve everything"

If digitalisation made human contact superfluous, no one would have to complain about the postponement of the Mipim trade fair. Aachen architect and major project mediator, Walter Wiese told IZ in Cannes why he thinks technological solutions are pointless if communication and interaction between the parties are not kept in mind.

"I have gained 45 years of experience with real estate projects," says Wiese [62] in the almost empty “caffé Roma” in Cannes. "And the problems are always the same: the coordination between the parties involved often just doesn’t work." After an apprenticeship and then working as a draughtsman, Wiese studied architecture and has been running his own office for many years now.

After a personal crisis, he trained as an individual psychologist at the Alfred Adler Institute. More than ten years ago, this opened up a completely new field for him: he coaches companies as a mediator in large real estate projects. Nothing works if there is a no-go situation between the parties involved.

Digitalisation is no alternative to listening properly

Wiese actually wanted to meet his clients in Cannes. "I come to Cannes every year with my wife for Mipim," he continues. He would have had the costs for flight and accommodation anyway. Now he has time to talk about his philosophy of life, because most of his clients have stayed at home: "If an architect only sees himself as an artist, the tradesman wants to get his job done quickly and the investor is only looking at the return, then a project can easily fail." It is always important to listen to what the other person wants. "Instead of location, location, location, it should be: communication, communication, communication."

And what does someone like Walter Wiese, with so much experience in industry and life in general think of the blessings of digitalisation, which is, after all, the cover topic of the IZ special issue (Investing in Germany) on Mipim? "Digitalisation alone solves nothing," Wiese is convinced. Just digitally distributing responsibilities in a project does not give us a lot, he says. "And 3D planning is of little use to an architect if he has no spatial imagination," he adds. In order to train this, Wiese would like to see the next generation getting more practical experience on the building site.

Technical solutions can trigger fears

Elisa Rönkä, Product Portfolio Manager, Smart Office at Siemens Europe, also emphasises the human factor. She is not actually in Cannes, but is happy to take the scheduled interview by phone. She is convinced that the companies that offer the most friendly and pleasant working environment are well ahead when it comes to the best young talent. Smart Office technology can certainly play a decisive role here.

However, especially when it comes to data security, psychology is often more important than the technical aspects. "On the one hand, we need these regulations," says Rönkä, referring to the digitally networked office. "On the other hand, we have to guide the people working in this process, where we address their concerns. I think this human, individual social aspect is even more demanding than the technological challenges."

A contribution to www.iz.de
from 11 March 2020
by Ulrich Schüppler

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