#SHIFTHAPPENS2023: Germany in a polycrisis

Nadine Wittleben

In our #SHIFTHAPPENS2023 study, we were able to survey over 462 experts on current transformation activities. We gathered exciting insights on transformation drivers,the measures companies take and the most affected industries. The focus of the study is on how companies are reacting to the multiple crisis situation.

What is the #SHIFTHAPPENS study row?

The #SHIFTHAPPENS series was launched in 2020 by Dr. Jonas Steeger, co-founder of Nordantech and Data Scientist. Every year since then, he has interviewed well-known industry experts about the current changes in transformation activities. The survey examines the recent drivers of transformation, the measures taken and their effectiveness, as well as the industries most affected. In 2020, 138 participants took part in the survey, while in 2023 there were already over 450 experts. What's particularly interesting is that every year a few selected experts are included, sharing their opinions on specific focus topics and providing exciting insights in the form of a detailed quote. In recent years, the study has already gained recognition in a number of business media and has been mentioned in Harvard Business Manager and consulting.de, among others. You can download the current, digital edition of the #SHIFTHAPPENS study via this page. We love it when #SHIFTHAPPENS goes international - which is why we will also be happy to send you a print version on request.

2023: 462 participants with more than 4000 years of professional experience

This year's study includes 462 participants from the business world with a total of over 4000 years of experience. Here, it can be noted that just under half of the participants come from the PMO or project management sector. However, consultants and executives also have their say.

Subdued forecasts for the economy: Germany in crisis mode

As in previous years, Dr. Jonas Steeger again asks the participants in the study about their economic forecasts. Once again, this year's forecasts look anything but rosy, and the numerous crises cannot be ignored anymore. The term "polycrisis" (meaning several crises at once) stems from the fact that, in addition to the effects of the Corona crisis and the geopolitical situation (the Russia-Ukraine war), the climate crisis and supply bottlenecks in the area of energy and raw materials, and the associated issues such as inflation, are currently interacting. Only 11% of the participants surveyed see a positive economic trend for Germany in the coming year. Overall, however, the experts' assessments have changed somewhat and are looking much more positively into the future - just a year ago, when the first war inside Europe for a long time started, the situation looked much worse.

About the concept of polycrisis

Polycrisis is a term that has gained importance over the past few years and refers to the complex situation countries face, when multiple crises occur at once. The term was coined significantly by the famous historian Adam Tooze. Adam Tooze is a British economic and financial history expert and has published several seminal works on global crises. His research focuses significantly on analysing and interpreting economic and financial crises, particularly in terms of geopolitical contexts.

Unwaveringly high need for transformation- these are the main drivers

This year, price and cost pressure once again tops our driver ranking, closely followed by digitalization and the geopolitical situation. In third and fourth place are the current geopolitical situation and overall economic development. Fortunately, the effects of the pandemic are now positioned in last place. More than half of the respondents see only minor pressure from it.

Do you already know the study results from 2022?

Do you find this years’ results interesting? Then the comparison with the 2022 study from last year, which just coincided with the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war in Europe, is certainly exciting for you! Were we able to arouse your interest? Download last year's study here for free and take your #SHIFTHAPPENS knowledge to a whole new level!

Measures: German companies are still focussed on cost-cutting

Considering that the experts currently see price and cost pressure as the strongest driver, it is not surprising that at company level, measures of a maintenance and efficiency-increasing nature are currently prioritized. At the time of this year's survey, cost reductions and process optimization were ranked first and second, closely followed by the creation of business transparency and price increases. The chart clearly shows that companies are currently focusing on surviving the current rather tense situation as well as possible. By contrast, investment and risky measures, such as business model innovations, new products or services or other strategic aspects, are rather deprioritized at the moment.


The #SHIFTHAPPENS2023 study not only shows that Germany is experiencing a polycrisis (according to Adam Tooze) with subdued economic forecasts, but also that companies are struggling with ongoing transformation pressure. They are focusing primarily on cost reductions and efficiency improvements, while risky measures are put on hold. The study provides valuable insights into the current state of transformation and in some cases offers companies a basis for future strategic decisions. An outlook shows that companies should remain open to transformation, as it is precisely the strategic measures that provide a high impact. In addition, the experience of the surveyed experts shows that the implementation of a PMO can have a positive impact on realization success in the case of more strategic measures, such as a company transformation. Consequently, companies that want to hit the mark should now start to implement a PMO.

Would you like to get more detailed insights into what's currently happening in transformation?

Download the study now for free and in full length and bring your transformation knowledge to the next level.


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