Digital Leaders Blog

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Digital Leaders Masterclass, Edinburgh 16/17 Nov 2017

By the end of this year, we will have made our own small contribution to the digital transformation agenda having delivered our Digital Leadership Masterclasses in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Iceland, Italy, Malta (Digital Leadership for Tourism), Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Registration for our forthcoming Edinburgh programme, in association with the University of Edinburgh Business School, is now open.

Using the very practical tools and templates contained in our Digital Business Transformation Toolkit’, the two-day bootcamp will disseminate best practice strategic and practical advice in becoming a Future Digital Leader. The programme will equip participants with the knowledge and practical skills…

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The Digital Transformation Playbook

A useful reading list addition for the Digital Leadership workshops we run.

The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age (Columbia Business School Publishing) 5 Apr 2016 by David L. Rogers.

The book is structure around 'Five Domains of Digital Transformation' as summarised in the extracts below: 

Customers - Digital technologies change how we connect and create value with our customers. We may have grown up in a world in which companies broadcast messages and shipped products to…

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Is Your Board Driving Digital Transformation?

Does your Board of Directors grasp how disruptive technologies are reshaping your industry?

Are they driving and supporting your CEO in achieving digital transformation, leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies for building an efficient, agile, fast moving and responsive organisation fit-for-purpose in a digital era?  

Alternatively, is your Board sitting back watching as born-digital companies reinvent your industry? Are they playing safe, watching your organisation's slow decline into obsolescence?

A recent Harvard Business Review article argues that Boards must recognise the unstoppable digital forces at play in your industry, driving your CEO to reinvent the business while you still have the resources to do so.

To avoid becoming the Kodak of…

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An interesting article, by Don Hinchcliffe, summarises the radical changes taking place in the 'learning' industry as a consequence of the digital and social media revolutions.

Digital, according to the author, can take learning in powerful, new and unexpected directions, fundamentally changing how we find knowledge and share information.  

The traditional approach to learning is still the norm in many cases, including the world of corporate education, with passive learners sitting in a classroom consuming pre-packaged content in bulk presented formally by an educator.…

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Fit for Digital


A new report by Fujitsu, entitled Fit for Digital, has concluded that digital disruption is the new normal, and will fundamentally redefine the way organisations operate.

Across every industry, boundaries are being torn down as hyper-connected technology redefines the limits of what is possible.

‘From creating richer, more rewarding customer relationships to honing razor sharp processes and operations, digital technology is giving organisations the power…

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In preparation for the MBA Digital Leadership workshops in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the following links will be useful.

Background

How Digital Disrupts Operations, Business Processes and Customer Experiences

Worldwide Spend on Digital Transformation Technologies to Reach $1.2 Trillion in 2017; $2 Trillion by 2020…

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The Case for Digital Reinvention

A new report from McKinsey provides further evidence of a strong positive correlation between digital maturity and subsequent financial performance.

In an era of rapid digital change and digital disruption, the report concludes that “bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t”. The biggest payouts will go to companies that initiate digital disruptions.

Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organisational health won’t be far behind.

Based on detailed research, the report lists the distinguishing characteristics of ‘digital winners’.

Please visit the…

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Digital Leaders Outperform Digital Laggards

Evidence is emerging of a growing digital divide between organisations who ‘get IT’ and those who don’t; between those using digital technology to successfully transform their business and those still stuck on the starting blocks.

A new report from Harvard Business School provides evidence that this digital divide is already having a major impact on subsequent financial performance.

Based on detailed research covering 344 large US based enterprises, the Harvard study concludes that ‘digital leaders’ (enterprises who are transforming digitally) outperform ‘digital laggards’ across a range of financial measures.

Organisations that sit in the top quartile of Harvard’s Digital Transformation Index achieve significantly better gross margins, earnings and net income than…

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According to Didier Bonnet, one of the main authors of the highly acclaimed 'Leading Digital' book published two years ago, most large companies are struggling to successfully implement digital transformation with the majority of boards having a long way to go before they are mastering the digital challenge .

In a recent interview, Bonnet made the following observations covering the two year period since publication of…

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A new report from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an initiative of IMD Business School and Cisco, has identified four competencies and three behaviours that business leaders need in order to excel in an era of digital disruption.

The report entiled Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age, presents findings from a global survey of more than 1,000 executives across 20 different sectors.

The vast majority of leaders agree that they are caught in a technology-change vortex that is drawing in whole industries and creating disruption on an unprecedented scale. 92% of those surveyed stated that they are feeling the effects of digital disruption, with one-third…

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Will 3D printing disrupt the construction industry?

Apis Cor, a company that 'prints buildings', claims to have constructed the first 3D printed house in a town outside Moscow.

The house took less than a day to construct and cost under $11,000 to complete. A mobile 3D printer created the building's concrete walls and partitions as a fully connected structure, rather than printing the building in panels at an off-site facility as is usually done. The portable machine was then removed from the building, with a group of contractors completing the home - adding the roof and windows, and finishing the interior.

By shifting the construction of the building's shell to 3D printing, Apis Cor…

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In our last post (Which Countries are Leading Digital), we highlighted evidence from several studies showing that the UK was falling behind many of our international competitors in a number of key measures of digital readiness.

One of these studies was the 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) published by the EU. While the UK remained above the EU average in key measures such as connectivity, digital skills and the integration of digital technology, we were growing at a slower rate than the average. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden and Finland, together with the Netherlands were leading the way, while…

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Which Countries Are Leading Digital?

The UK likes to think of itself as being a world class digital nation. The preamble to this month’s launch of the UK Government’s Transformation Strategy stated:

“The UK Government is one of the most digitally advanced in the world………We have developed the award-winning and internationally renowned GOV.UK - and have opened its code, which has been reused by governments around the world. The Government Digital Service (GDS) has led the digital transformation of government and is a model that is being copied internationally”.

Are we justified in engaging in…

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Jumping the Gun and Hoping I am Wrong

Yesterday, i read an article which appeared to leak a preview of the long-awaited National Digital Strategy for Scotland (updated).

I really do hope that i am 'jumping the gun' here but the article did raise alarm bells for me.

Based on comments from a Government spokesperson, it appears that the updated strategy will focus on four main areas - a commitment to data sharing; collaboration across the public sector; the appointment of a Digital Leader; and industry, academia, government collaboration on the digital agenda.…

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Teaching Digital Leadership to the Digital Leaders

Ok I know that leadership cannot be ‘taught’, but this Spring I will be 'facilitating' Digital Leadership programmes in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Edinburgh, Glasgow and online in virtual learning land.

With over 30 different nationalities participating across the various locations, it is critical that a global perspective is adopted.

So what progress have different countries around the world made in transforming digitally?

The Most Tech-Savvy Governments

Two of the destinations being visited, the UAE and Bahrain, are listed in the top three countries worldwide in terms of having the ‘most tech-savvy’ governments, according to the World Economic Forum’s…

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Our previous post in this series argued that Scotland’s updated Digital Strategy for 2017 and beyond should focus on measurable business outcomes, not box ticking. We should not be measuring the success of publicly funded digital support programmes by the number of companies attending digital workshops or receiving one-to-one support. These are not business outcomes.

There are only three main reasons why companies should transform digitally:

  • To increase sales.
  • To reduce…
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Following the Cut the Spin theme of Post 1, we need to ensure that the updated National Digital Strategy 2017 is built on measurable business objectives, KPIs and targets. The spin of ‘becoming a world class digital nation’ and/or ‘punching above our weight in global markets’ (whatever that means) are NOT business objectives.

Two Decades of Digital Business Support

The need for measurable business outcomes is particularly important in relation to the wide availability of digital support programmes aimed at Scottish SMEs. Without doubt, this will be a major component of the new updated national…

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Managing Digital Transformation

A recent article in the MITSloan Management Review has warned against looking for quick fixes when it comes to managing digital transformation.

In particular, three ‘superficial’ fixes should be avoided at all costs:

  • Avoid creating a transformation office unconnected to the rest of the organization: This will only create a culture of “cool kids” isolated from the rest of the workforce; as well as dismissing individuals already doing valuable transformation work elsewhere in the organization.
  • Avoid digitizing processes without rethinking the organization’s business model: Focusing solely on IT misses the point. A rapidly changing world requires new business models. Meaningful improvement must include transforming how the…
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A fascinating new report has just been published looking at digital transformation at HMRC, the UK tax authority.

The report catalogues a series of errors which, it is claimed, have resulted in near meltdown of the UK tax system. There are very important lessons to be learned here for other public sector transformation projects; indeed for the private sector too.

Keynote Summary

  • HMRC launch a 'Building our Future (BoF)' programme to become the most ‘digitally advanced’ revenue service in the world. The core ‘vision’ is to replace phone and postal enquiries from members of the public and small businesses with automated online services. This will release staff from boring administrative tasks, processing forms or speaking with…
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Scotland’s Digital Strategy (Part 1): Cut the Spin

The Scottish Government is looking for your thoughts and contributions as it prepares an update of the National Digital Strategy for 2017 and beyond. An innovative example of crowdsourcing/co-creation at its best or a deer caught in the headlights of a digital disruption express train, unsure how to respond? Is there a crisis of digital leadership in an area critical to the future competitiveness of the Scottish economy?

Ideas and contributions are being sought in six main areas: Connectivity, Economy, Skills, Public Services, Participation and Cyber Security. As someone who has worked at the coalface of digital…

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