“It is our Task to Face Social and Environmental Needs Responsibly!” – Interview with Senior Project Manager Victoria Funk

Victoria Funk is passionate about empowering businesses and supporting them on their transformation journey toward a sustainable future. In her new role as a CSCP Senior Project Manager, she brings on board years of experience in leading large interdisciplinary global projects in the context of digital transformation and business development. Get to know her in this interview!

How did your professional journey cross paths with the CSCP?

After ten years in the fashion industry, I decided to leave the private sector behind to dedicate my passion and energy to an organisation that adds true value to our society in a more comprehensive way. Why? Because it became my personal conviction that it is our task to face social and environmental needs responsibly. Through my previous work leading the digital transformation in the context of product development on a corporate level, I have acquired a deep understanding of the supply chain as well as of change leadership and strategic organisational development. Now I want to build on this “hands-on” experience. In this context, I believe that the CSCP offers an ideal combination of my personal interests in transformation design as well as in the implementation of truly sustainable solutions.

In your role as a digital transformation lead, what were the major challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Apart from initial excitement, I perceived a great deal of uncertainty at the beginning of transformation journeys, which in turn leads to resistance. There is fear of making mistakes and losing control. In addition, the role of communication is often underestimated. Communication needs to be inspiring, consistent, and repetitive and it should leave room for feedback and real exchange. Three key aspects for successful transformation, in my view, include: Participation – always favour collaborative process rather than top-down strategies;  Establish a “safety net” in order to build a learning organisation in which failure is taken into account and mistakes are not seen as red flags; Set reasonable priorities that allow you to focus on the 20% of change that will lead to 80% impact!

Where do you see the biggest potential of digitalisation as an enabler for sustainability?

In a nutshell, digitalisation can be an important lever for reconciling sustainability and profitability. How so? Based on my supply chain expertise, the digitalisation of entire value chains would lead to multiple positive effects at once. As of today, many decisions are based on missing or incomplete data. Besides that, parts of the supply chain are not fully aligned or connected smartly. Let me give you an example: If demand, product, financial and supply planning are not integrated, there is a high risk that the right product will not be available at the right time, in the right place and in the right quantity. A digitalised value chain means that decisions are made based on real-time data, not assumptions. Moreover, digitalisation enables transparency and traceability, from raw material to the end product and beyond. This makes it easier to identify fields of action and define appropriate measures in order to ensure compliance with legal and sustainability requirements and meet growing consumer demands.

We live in dynamic times. How can we ensure that sustainability is kept high on the agenda in the current transformations?

The current transformations are by no means mutually-exclusive; in fact, they are very much interdependent. Digitalisation, for example, provides a foundation to enable Circular Economy. At the same time, the transition towards Circular Economy continues to be one of the most critical drivers for building a more restorative and sustainable future. Many stakeholders still consider these transition paths to be individual fields of action. This makes it even more important for us to promote a holistic view in our collaboration with partners and clients in order to identify the interdependencies and resulting opportunities.

How do you think your work at the CSCP will contribute with respect to major frameworks such as the EU Green Deal or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

My main focus at the moment is the CATALYST project.  This is a project that directly contributes to the “Pact for Skills”, a shared engagement model for skills development in Europe, which has been launched by the European Commission in 2020. In particular, the CATALYST will strengthen sustainable competitiveness of professionals, students and SMEs. Why is this needed? Up-skilling and re-skilling will be crucial for long-term and sustainable growth, productivity and innovation and therefore a key factor for the competitiveness of businesses of all sizes, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This contributes to the vision of European economies and societies becoming more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. In addition, all CATALYST activities also contribute to SDG4: Quality Education, since the project aims to ensure high quality vocational education, keeping in mind the applicative value of the skills acquired.

For further questions, please contact Victoria Funk.