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Tuesday, 5. February 2019


Everything is in motion in Dietmar Dahmen's world. In his stage appearances, he encourages the audience to take radical steps, with the goal of remaining relevant to the marketplace. "From victims of disruption to business heroes," is his motto.


Mr. Dahmen, you have sent us a sensational message from 2038, which of course makes us all extremely curious. Today you are back from the future for this interview. Why don't you tell us what life and work will be like in 20 years?

First we invent a new technology, then the technology reinvents us. The invention of the steam engine brought us large central factories where goods were mass-produced. These were advertised in mass media and sold in mass shops (supermarkets, department stores). People began to live together in masses (skyscrapers), children were trained in masses (compulsory schooling) to function with uniform mass knowledge in the world of mass jobs: standardized education (if one mechanic is ill, the other can do exactly the same job), norms – UNIFORMITY was extremely important for the mass economy. Only in this way could enough UNIFORM products for ideally UNIFORM needs (formed in mass media) of UNIFORM consumers be created:

ALL should want a car.

ALL with four doors.

ALL should go on vacation to XYZ!

Digitalization is the END OF THINKING IN MASSES! Digital production (3D printing) does not need a mass-production factory ... DECENTRALIZED production is possible.

Digital media are NOT mass media – your Facebook, YouTube, Google are different from mine.

Everything adapts to MY needs.

NOW I want a car ... now I don't (car-sharing)!

NOW I want to shop (online shops)!

If I want sports shoes, I expect them to be optimized for my foot, to be the way I want them and when I want them. And digitally controlled 3D printing à la adidas Speed Factory makes it possible!

Digitalization puts the focus on the INDIVIDUAL! Everything is INDIVIDUALLY adjustable, changeable. The product adapts to the person (You want your face as background on you cell-phone screen? Wham! There it is already in digital form!) – and not the person to the product ("We have the car in black only. If you don't want it, don't buy it").

The mass economy lived on willingness to ADAPT. Customers had to adapt to product standards ("The refrigerator is only available in 60cm width"), to opening times ("Sorry, we're closing"), to places ("You have to come to our shop, our office, our factory").

The INDIVIDUAL ECONOMY turns it around. The CUSTOMER is the driver – the company adapts to the customer. There are more and more product variations, shops are open 24/7, work comes to me, rather than me to work (home office has become standard, with some companies operating entirely free of a fixed office).The mass economy lived from SCARCITY YOU MUST EAT WHATEVER IS SERVED! If you want the product, the job, the service ... take it as it is ... or go hungry! The DIGITAL economy lives from overabundance ... I don't like that ... I want it different. If you want me to buy it – adapt to me!

If you're not there for the customer, you lose the customer.



Link to Video:


Blockchain, IoT, various forms of reality like augmented, assisted or virtual reality, ChatBots, artificial Intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing: all just buzzwords or are these services and technologies the key to the world of the future?

All of these things are the EFFECTS of digital transformation.

The BASIC TECHNOLOGY behind all these things is always the same: it's always digitalization! And to ensure everyone enjoys a BIG ADVANTAGE: they always allow INDIVIDUALIZATION, VARIABILITY, DECENTRALIZATION, DIFFERENTIATION!

By the same token, they always mean the END of UNIFORM, FIXED, CENTRAL, STANDARD solutions.

Central uniformity disappears. Decentralized individualization appears in its place.

And this applies to all the points mentioned above:


Blockchain = digital = decentralized = individual: from smart contracts (individual "if/then contracts") to tracking of individual diamonds or an individual bottle of wine in the Blockchain. The knowledge is stored decentrally.

The central expert ("Yes, this diamond is real") is left out.

We see this disappearance of CENTRALIZATION everywhere:

CENTRAL CONTROL (IoT = digital = decentralized = individual control).

CENTRAL REALITY (AR = digital = decentralized = individual reality).

CENTRAL COMMUNICATION (Chatbot = digital = decentralized = individual communication).



Q: Why do we accept all this so quickly?

A: Because it's CONVEINIENT for the customer!

Instead of me having to go to an expert just to prove something, the proof comes (in the form of the Blockchain) to me!

Instead of me having to adapt to the system, the system adapts to me.

From the point of view of the CUSTOMER: MUCH BETTER!!!

Or put differently:

Q: How can you tell nobody wants mass-produced goods?

A: By the fact that everyone had only as much as NECESSARY!

We NEEDED a phone:  So we bought ONE, and installed it in the middle of our home.

EVERYONE could use it.

There was ONE TELEPHONE for 4 people in the household, 6 people in the shared flat, 14 students in the dormitory.

The phone was UPGRADED ONLY AS OFTEN AS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! Why should it be otherwise?

The telephones were mass-produced and accordingly all the same!

Today ... EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT! How many connected devices do you have in your household? How old is your cell phone?

Your computer? Your car? We WANT new stuff ... because it's FUN, NEW ... and looks DIFFERENT!

You DON'T NEED the new cell phone (computer, car)!
You WANT it!




In your opinion, what will prevail / what will disappear?

DD: The technologies mentioned are in fact DIFFERENT EFFECTS of the same BASIC BENEFIT: Individualization!

Individualization wins ... mass thinking loses!

The DRIVER is the human NEED (for individualization, recognition, Maslow etc.). TECHNOLOGY SATISFIES these basic needs.

The NEED remains ... the TECHNOLOGY that fulfills the need CHANGES!

We have the NEED for mobility.

We used to walk. Then we rode horses. Then carriages. Then came the car. Now we have UBER and soon maybe even drones or Hyperlink systems.

THE NEED is constant.

CHANGE AND INNOVATION are related to technology.


Companies must find out which BASIC NEED to satisfy. The AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY satisfies the BASIC NEED FOR MOBILITY!

That's why Daimler and BMW have entered CAR-SHARING with DriveNow and Car2Go, even with connection to railways, air travel etc.

AUTOMOBILE (a technical solution) becomes MOBILITY (satisfaction of a basic need).


People always have this need.

People have needs – products don't!

Companies that transport GOODS do NOT fulfill the basic need for mobility. The chair that the logistics company delivered to me doesn’t want to travel. The chair has NO need. The HUMAN BEING has the need: I want a chair!

The job of the transport company is to meet the NEED OF THE INDIVIDUAL – that is, to make sure that I get a chair.

Whether the chair is transported by train, ship, streetcar or truck is IRRELEVANT to me! It can even be 3D printed in my backyard.


Transport companies and 3D printers fulfill the SAME BASIC NEED! That’s why transport companies also need to enter 3D printing!

At least that’s what they say: MY BUSINESS GOAL is that people get objects that they need. (And not: MY BUSINESS GOAL is to drive around in trucks).

What should companies put their stake in to ensure they will still be successful in the market even 20 years from now? Are there any industries that will change a lot in your opinion?

DD: Companies need to recognize what BASIC NEED they fulfill! If you see a technology that meets the SAME basic need faster, easier, more individually, more energy-efficiently, better for the planet: TAKE THE PLUNGE AND ADOPT THE NEW TECHNOLOGY!

This is the only way to stay in the MARKET! It’s called being MISSION-DRIVEN!

Every industry that does NOT yet work individually and in a decentralized form can be attacked more easily than industries that already do.

Q: Why are the industries that already do this better prepared for the future?

A: Because they already have FLEXIBILITY at their core. They have already LEARNED to adapt to the needs of their customers. In a VOLATILE WORLD, FLEXIBILITY is the ONLY GUARANTEE OF SURVIVAL!


If you were a candle-maker 100 years ago and
the light bulb came along, you would have had
two choices to react to it.
CRAFT-DRIVEN: I can make candles.
The light bulb is better, but I can't make light bulbs ...

I'll jump out of the window!


I sell light, the light bulb is better,
so I’ll learn all about light bulbs (or hire people who are familiar with them)
and sell MORE LIGHT than ever before!


Dietmar Dahmen’s natural biosphere is the stage. The charismatic speaker has been working in advertising and marketing for over 20 years. He’s made an international name for himself as an expert on disruption at the European Association for Communications Agencies (EACA), as the Chief Innovation Officer at / IBM Company. In his shows, he doesn’t hesitate to use drastic effects and stagings to shake up his audience. Similarly radical are his hypotheses, which he developed together with the digital pioneer and PR professional Marcus Bond and presents in his book, “Transformation. BAMM!” in which he illustrates strategies to compete with the digital revolution.