More courage and personal responsibility

Digitisation is changing everything: the way we gather and use information, the way we communicate and our ways of working and living. In order to remain relevant in the digital world, companies also have to question their previous business processes, their patterns of thinking and their actions. Our answer is the Kulturwandel 4.0.


The aim of our Kulturwandel 4.0 (cultural change 4.0) process is to make the Otto Group even more efficient and customer-centric. To do this, we need diverse personalities who are fearless and unconventional, have the courage to try out new ideas and take responsibility. This also means that traditional leadership as we know it will no longer work. This is being replaced by more freedom, greater individual responsibility, a changed culture of making mistakes, shorter decision-making processes; we are abolishing the power of knowledge and accepting of the ‘controlled loss of control’.

Since 2017, in addition to the Kulturwandel 4.0 division at Group headquarters, local Kulturwandel teams in the individual Otto Group companies have been shaping the change processes. It is important that the management itself participates in and models the change.

“In retrospect, it was a very courageous step to instigate the Kulturwandel, because none of us were able to appreciate what it would mean in the end. We only knew that the opportunity cost of doing nothing would be higher in the future than if we took action and made a real change.”
– Tobias Krüger, Division Manager Kulturwandel 4.0, Otto Group Holding

New worlds of work

Neue Arbeitswelten

A huge loft, small coffee tables, seats swinging from the ceiling: even this coworking space ‘Collabor8’ is part of the Kulturwandel 4.0, available around the clock to Otto Group employees on the Hamburg campus. Colours, shapes, materials – all this creates atmosphere. On the campus, there are a number of such social spaces in very varied designs for meetings, events, project work or simply for having coffee with colleagues. And where we can, we desk share. Mobile working - for example working from home - is normal for us.

To 'Du' and 'Du'

Auf Du und Du

A small German word with great effect: In 2016, the Executive Board of the Otto Group offered the informal German 'Du' form to all employees, inviting them to call them by their first names. This is a voluntary offer, not a commitment. The aim was to overcome hierarchies – linguistically. The effect has been noticeable. The ‘Du’ form has generated commitment and an equal footing with mutual respect.


Kulturwandel – What it’s all about!