Evolutionary Development Strategy for ThyssenKrupp Academy
The ThyssenKrupp Academy was founded for top management in 2006. The idea was to establish innovative learning formats in addition to classical business school programs. ICL was commissioned to provide support in the process of positioning and establishing the academy. In addition, ICL was charged with designing and piloting learning architectures tightly interwoven with the business.
The process began with an agreement reached with the Executive Board to draw up an evolutionary development strategy.
Instead of a radical transformation, the intent was to ensure sustainable organizational buy-in for manageable, discrete changes using new learning formats. Traditional business school programs provided important support; at the same time, favorable opportunities to expand learning formats that were more tightly integrated into the day-to-day work experience were identified.
Managing Director ThyssenKrupp Academy
"It was a positive experience to start with classical learning opportunities, and then gradually push these in the direction of new formats in which learning and working were more closely interlinked."
In order to gain a broader perspective, ICL conducted numerous benchmarking interviews. It was on this basis that strategy workshops were held with the internal Academy team to define the cornerstones of the new learning formats, such as the appropriate business, partnership and control models.
Forum for identifying topics
An initial important step towards developing the formats was to identify topics of immediate relevance to the business areas. To this end, an overarching forum comprising select top management was established. This forum met regularly to identify acute issues, such as the content of the new learning processes.
Initial pilot programs
At this point the first pilot programs were drawn up; these launched under the heading “Impact Workouts” in the first years. These interlink individual and organizational learning, and are characterized by their twin focus on the specific challenges faced by the business areas , and feasibility. Learning does not occur on a “cookie-cutter” basis, but through the process of dealing with existing challenges, in the form of regular reflection phases. One example is the “Building a High Reliability Organization” program. ICL designed and conducted a multi-module, international learning program to improve quality and safety, continuously refining it over the course of eight years. Today it is an established Group cultural development program (see Gebauer and Kiel-Dixon, 2010).
In 2016, the ThyssenKrupp Academy celebrated its tenth anniversary as the central Group-wide platform for along-the-job qualification for top management and Group-wide change management. The piloted learning process resulted in a structured change practice that provides professional support in cultural development and change initiatives throughout the entire Group.
Success factors for the change process
Evolutionary development strategy
Using classical learning formats to develop business-relevant topics
Early involvement of the “client” in the development process
Partnership-type relationship with external learning partners