Write digital history

30 digital talents, 6 challenges, 1 goal — shape the digital future

Step 1
Applications are now closed

Calling all digital rockstars! Make lasting change putting your ideas into practice. Coders and non-coders, designers, data cracks and business people alike.

Apply now

Step 2
Feb-April 2018

You + 5 other Digital Shapers. 1 real challenge for your team to crack. Ready, set, solve!

The Challenge

Step 3
27th April 2018

Make digital history! Convince our jury of how innovative you can be and prove you’re a Digital Shaper.

The Jury

The Challenge

First come the facts: world-famous brands like Airbus, Bertelsmann and Lufthansa will share real digital challenges with you. Then unleash your creativity: work with McKinseys’ and our corporate partners‘ experts and show these giants you have what it takes to shape their future through digital innovation. Can’t wait to get started? Join us as a Digital Shaper.

As a Digital Shaper you get the chance to:

  • collaborate with other Digital Shapers
  • meet inspirational digital leaders and board members from high-profile companies
  • work on real-life problems and potentially transform your idea into a real business
  • win exclusive one-to-one mentoring with digital leaders from partner companies
  • You and your team can win 10,000 €   and a surprise prize

Learn more Learn more

The Challengers

These world-famous companies have been shaping their industries and the economy for years. However, the digital revolution is challenging their traditional business models. Can you, the Digital Shapers of tomorrow, come up with solutions to their challenges?

The Jury

Each member of our jury has an illustrious track record as Digital Shaper within their company. They will judge your ideas at the grand finale and later mentor the winners.

  • „Digitalization is pivotal in Airbus, we are expanding our portfolio to offer new digitally driven services which will generate new revenue streams “

    Peter Weckesser
    Airbus, Defence and Space Digital Transformation Officer

  • „BMG is using digital technology to create value for artists and songwriters by giving them the information they need to manage their careers.“

    Sebastian Hentzschel
    Chief Technical Officer of BMG

  • „We invite »digital natives« to join our efforts and tackle challenging new projects to advance technology in Industry 4.0, health care and research.“

    Thomas Spitzenpfeil
    Member of the Executive Board, CFO and CIO of the ZEISS Group

  • „The digital revolution permeates every aspect of aviation.“

    Christian Langer
    VP Digital Lufthansa Group

  • „A digital strategy helps as much as an electrical strategy helped when steam locomotives became obsolescent. You simply need a business strategy for the digital age.“

    Kay Schwabedal
    METRO Managing Director of Hospitality Digital

  • „Digital entrepreneurs find a vibrate ecosystem in Berlin which accelerates innovation and creates world class leaders.“

    Isabella Groegor-Cechowicz
    General Manager Public Services at SAP

  • „Understanding the dynamics of the exponential development of technologies is one key factor for companies to understand digital disruption.“

    Stephan Dörner
    Editor-in-Chief of t3n.de

  • „The digital future is a reality. We need to shape it in the most meaningful way.“

    Cornelius Baur
    Managing Partner Germany and Austria at McKinsey

  • „We must be prepared for digital disruption: without fear, with more initiative, empathy, creativity and the courage to change.“

    Carsten Knop
    Editor in Chief Digital Products at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • „To drive and win the digital transformation, we have to get rid of comfortable ideas, be willing to take risks, be curious and be provocative.“

    Jennifer Kilian
    Digital Partner and Global Experience Design Leader at McKinsey

  • „Digitalization provides great opportunities for news providers. It’s crucial to fill new, relevant platforms with tailor-made content at the earliest possible moment.“

    Hans Demmel
    Managing Director of n-tv

  • „We should stop treating digital transformation as a thing of the future — it’s already here. And it’s everywhere.“

    Christian Cohrs
    Editor in Chief at Business Punk

We want you!

Is the tech revolution full of opportunities for you? Do you find yourself thinking about new digital models, ways you can use customer data, the perfect user experience or how to write code that can solve any challenge? Then you’re exactly who we’re looking for.

  • Why am I
    a shaper
    Business Visionary

    Can’t stop thinking about business possibilities the tech revolution has ushered in? Then apply & prove you’re a digital rockstar.

    Apply now

    Hello, I’m Alexander von Humboldt

    … and I’m an explorer. Given my desire to discover new worlds, uncovering the digital business landscape would have blown my mind. My experience in bootstrapping my own voyage to South America would have made me the perfect fit for a startup.

  • Why am I
    a shaper

    Do you code better than you write? Are you addicted to algorithms? Come code on our 12-week challenge.

    Apply now

    Hi there — I’m Ada Lovelace

    ...the world’s first ever developer, long before software even existed. So you bet I’d still be a developer if I’d been born more than a century and a half later. I’m sure I could teach those Silicon Valley kids a thing or two.

  • Why am I
    a shaper
    Data Scientist

    You’re not just about feature selection, but about turning real-world data into solid gold. Boost your knowledge like Ada & apply today.

    Apply now

    Hi, I’m Marie Curie

    ...and I’m what you might call a radical researcher (don’t ask me, ask the Nobel Prize committee). If I’d been born a century later, I’d have become a data analyst because I love getting to the essence of things. 

  • Why am I
    a shaper
    Experience Designer

    Is the perfect user experience your obsession? Make real customers :) with your digital know-how.

    Apply now

    Hi, I’m Ludwig van Beethoven

    La, la, la…and I’m just in the middle of composing my latest UX symphony. While my original passion was music, I now love the idea of traveling to 2017 and orchestrating a dazzling experience no audience will ever forget.


What are the general terms of participation?

Digital Shapers aims to recruit the best digital talent to work on the current, real-life challenges our cooperation partners face. We are looking for data scientists, business visionaries, developers and customer experience designers.

As such, anyone who’s passionate about all things digital is invited to apply. However, it is essential that you believe fit one of the four Digital Shaper profiles outlined. For the general concept and the timeline of the Digital Shapers 2018, you find further information under: The Challenge

The following criterion must also be met to be eligible to participate in Digital Shapers 2018: Candidates must be at least 18 years old. Furthermore, please note that your participation in Digital Shapers 2018 does not mean you will be entering into an employment relationship with McKinsey and/or one of the cooperation partners.

Please note: Except for damages to life, body and health, liability of McKinsey and its cooperation partners for negligent breach of material obligations is limited to the damage typically foreseeable at the time of entering Digital Shapers 2018. The liability of McKinsey and its partners for plainly and slightly negligent breach of non-material obligations is excluded. The decision of the Digital Shapers 2018 Jury and the selection of finalists is final, there is no recourse to the courts.

Who is organizing Digital Shapers 2018?

Digital Shapers 2018 is a joint initiative between McKinsey and six corporate partners (Airbus, Bertelsmann, Lufthansa, Metro, SAP, and Zeiss).

I currently work for one of the cooperation partners. Can I still apply for this competition?

Yes, you can. However, please make sure you double check this with your HR department. They have already been briefed on the competition and can explain the finer details of any agreements the cooperation partner has established to address this topic.

I cannot attend all the workshops in 2018. Can I still apply for this competition?

Approximately 30 finalists will form six teams, each of which will solve a real-life challenge from one of our cooperation partners. Over the course of two workshop weekends, our experts and mentors will guide you through the nuts and bolts of designing a digital business model. Participants must be able to take part in both workshops. Therefore you will need to attend the workshop weekends on February 2-4, 2018 and March 2-4, 2018 and the final event April 27, 2018. Furthermore you will probably need some time to work on the real-life challenge and presentation in front of the jury. If you’re unable to attend the workshops and the final event, sadly you won’t be able to apply.

I cannot code (no programming skills). Can I still apply?

Of course! We have four different positions that you can apply for. Whether you’re a business visionary, a data scientist or a customer experience designer, you can apply even if you don’t know how to code.

Write some digital history now!