The digital transformation comes and brings with it numerous challenges. Complexity and dynamism are increasing rapidly and people and companies are constantly being called upon to “reinvent themselves”. Since then, people often read job advertisements in which digital heads are searched. But what are these #digitalheads? To this end, I came across the term Streetsmart and Booksmart. Both terms are not defined uniformly and I have therefore tried to draw information from current articles in the context of digital transformation. In the end, I try to evaluate what type we need more in a digital future.

STREETSMART

A Streetsmart is a person who has extensive practical knowledge. So this person knows “how it’s going in the world”! The term comes from street combat, which has no logical rules and in some way redefines its own rules. It can therefore only be successfully passed through experience. In jargon, they say “know the rules of the road.” He knows the groups and events around him and can react to them again and again. He makes decisions in chaos and thus reacts again and again to his environment. So a streetsmart is someone who has a practical understanding of his environment.

BOOKSMART

The Booksmart is the opposite of the Streetsmart. As a rule, he has extensive knowledge, which he has acquired theoretically and knows the events in the ideal state. Here, however, there is a lack of implementation of this knowledge. A practical example would be a mechanical student who calculates the moment a nail penetrates, but cannot hit it in any wall.

SMART IN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

The question now is which of the two we need more in the digital transformation. To this end, I would like to take two areas or topics of digital transformation and look for arguments there. Of course, there are fundamentally more areas to consider, but I think it is enough to look at the two concepts first. This is how we evaluate areas of application of the two types in Industry 4.0 and Big Data.

DIGITAL Streetsmart

Digital transformation is complex and certainly it is not easy to implement models in a complex environment such as Industry 4.0. It becomes particularly problematic in the rollout of these products and in the creation of real benefits. Production in particular has its own rules and it is important to understand the problems in this area. One of the strengths here would be the handling of complexity and the unforeseen. The Streetsmart can react again and again and keeps a cool head in any situation.

DIGITAL Booksmart

Especially topics such as big data are very abstract and move in high conceptual effort. Here, the Booksmart can play to its strengths and implement complicated concepts. Many concepts currently exist only theoretically or are associated with strong abstract models. Thus, a clear multi-vastness of this type is shown here in the course of the digital transformation.

Conclusion

The example shows that, as always, the healthy mix is what makes up, but there are areas where booksmarts are required more and vice versa. Certainly, not every person is either book- or streetsmart, but a mix in which one of the two characteristics prevails. So we can talk about personal weighting. What about you? What property do you assign to?

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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