How to escape from a moving car – Illustration by Nick Hardcastle.

Industry 4.0 is the claimed buzzword by German government, a high-tech strategy to promote the computerization of the manufacturing industry. Locals here are hooked on this Web 2.0 crap.

European technology phobia is real. The antiprogress movement of German news publishers is real and spreading to the EU.

Politics have now been identified as biggest issue for the digitization of the German economy by Munich think tank “Münchner Kreis“.

By 2020 education will surpass politics as biggest issue.

It is also real, that the internet economy has become the central innovation driver for classic industries in Germany. 36 percent of the native producing operations have introduced innovation or new business models since 2013, for which the use of information or communication technology was essential.

The world believes in German design but it is true that famed German designers are all dead as Anthony Bourdain pointed out. Not long ago Germany was pitied for its service desert which has since been relocated to the web.

The one thing that may propel Germans to finally get digitally going is e-commerce. E-commerce forces German web design or the lack thereof to take on the steep learning curve of usability.

Today German chancellor Merkel used her World Economic Forum visit in Davos to remind of the urgency to catch up in the European race around the digitization. Merkel at the same time spurs the European Union to more curiosity and higher speed.


Europe is called old world for a reason

One big issue for the digitization is that it is true, that the German digital agenda is not centered around knowledge transfer, the empowerment of citizen media and sharing of business insights. Suits in Davos are listening for the German government to decide on extending their fibreglass broadband network to rural areas and that big business awaits them. It may sound awkward, but broadband has very little to do with improving knowledge transfer. Social (equal opportunity) is not on the agenda.