Interviews | #gutlebendigital

Between September 2017 and February 2018 we conducted 20 individual interviews in the process #gutlebendigital with people who professionally deal with the interface between digitalization and quality of life. A wide range of specialist training background was important for the selection of the interviewees in order to obtain the widest possible variety of answers. These individual interviews offered the opportunity to ask questions directly and to deepen individual aspects, which was not possible in the online survey. They usually lasted a good one hour - with a duration of between 30 minutes and 2 hours. The interviewer was the project manager, Stefan Bergheim.

As in the events and the online survey, the focus was on these 4 questions:

  1. In which areas does digitalization already contribute positively to people’s quality of life today?
  2. In which areas does digitalization not yet have the hoped-for influence on quality of life or even negative consequences?
  3. Please describe an ideal future from your point of view: where and how does digitalization have a positive effect on the quality of life?
  4. Who would have to do what to move us towards this ideal future?

In the request for the interview, the main question of the project "How can we shape digitalization to improve quality of life as much as possible?" was made visible. Some interviewees wanted more details about the interview and were sent the four questions above. Others wanted to know more about quality of life and received our overview of quality of life fields. However, the majority answered spontaneously without any special preparation. These different approaches complemented each other well. The sequence of questions was not always exactly followed, which presumably led to an additional diversity of results. The interviewer's task, however, was to ask about further possible points of the rather unanswered questions - without forcing anything. If, for example, the conversation quickly led to desirable futures, then the current situation was asked again. If the discussion focused primarily on the positive aspects, the question was asked whether there could be problematic points after all. From the 20 interviews, a total of 370 answers have been included in our database.

We would like to thank all the people we talked to for their time and for the valuable insights they shared with us. In the order of the conversations, they are:

  • Dr. Ina Schmidt is a freelance philosopher, author and founder of denkraeume in Reinbeck near Hamburg.
  • Thomas Schindler is an impact entrepreneur and manages the software company delodi UG in Berlin.
  • Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt is a sociologist. He researches and publishes on interactive digital media at the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg.
  • Markus Beckedahl is founder and editor-in-chief of, Digitale Gesellschaft and re:publica in Berlin.
  • Thomas F. Dapp is an economist and works in the KfW Digital Office in Frankfurt am Main.
  • Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt is a psychologist and teaches business psychology and leadership at the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management.
  • Prof. Dr. Sarah Diefenbach is an economic and organisational psychologist. She teaches and conducts research at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger is a philosopher and research scientist at the Gutenberg Research School (Gutenberg-Forschungskolleg) of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.
  • Marion King is an organizational developer and founder of the school, initiative and community for good new work "Les Enfants Terribles" in Berlin.
  • Dr. Marcus Dapp is a business information scientist and works at ETH Zurich in the EU project FuturICT2.0 in Zurich.
  • Prof. Dr. Harald Bolsinger is a business ethicist. He teaches and conducts research at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt in Würzburg.
  • Chris Boos is an artificial intelligence entrepreneur and CEO of Arago GmbH in Frankfurt am Main.
  • Dr. Alex von Frankenberg is Managing Director of High-Tech Founders Fund (Gründerfonds) in Bonn.
  • Lorena Jaume-Palasí is a political scientist and managing director of AlgorithmWatch in Berlin.
  • Frank Bolten is a business economist and founder of CHAINSTEP, a blockchain specialist in Hamburg.
  • Prof. Dr. Henning Lobin is a linguist and computational linguistics expert at the University of Giessen.
  • Max Thinius is a futurologist and member of the management board of Earthrise Holding in Berlin and Munich.
  • Dr. Gernot Meier is a theologian, cultural scientist and director of studies at the Evangelische Akademie Baden in Karlsruhe.

Two interviewees do not want to be mentioned here.

We would have liked to have spoken to employees of large companies who are important players in digitalization. To do so, there were many direct requests and efforts to reach out via the network. Unfortunately, all these requests did not results in an interview with this target group in the end. We can only speculate about the reasons. It is possible that the groups have not yet finally dealt with these questions concerning the quality of life and digitalization and have therefore not yet formulated a company-wide opinion. We hope that our requests for talks have led to an internal discourse in some places.

Unfortunately, also some interview requests were declined from the scientific community, especially from female researchers who are probably under great time pressure and who could not devote themselves to our project for an hour. This has contributed to the fact that despite our efforts only 20% of the interviewees are female.

We deliberately did not address politicians, as they are an important target group for the results.