Digital Leaders Blog

All Posts (104)

Digital Disruption: Are We Ready?

Scottish business remains woefully unprepared for the oncoming digital onslaught. To leverage the full potential of new technology and reduce the threat of becoming a nation of digital dinosaurs, a new breed of senior executive is urgently required - Digital Business Leaders.

These are two of the main conclusions emerging from our recent ‘Digital Disruption Report’ prepared on behalf of the Federation of Small Business in Scotland. The report raises important implications for Scottish companies, policy makers and the business support network.

Digital Disruption and Scottish Business

The core premise of the report is that we have entered a new and even more revolutionary phase in the development of digital technology; a period…

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Digital Leaders: Even More Urgently Required

In various blog posts and presentations over the last year or so, we have argued that Digital Leaders Are Urgently Required.

While 74% of executives surveyed in Forrester’s State of Digital Business in 2014 Report claimed to have a strategy for dealing with digital disruption, only 15% believed their company had the capability to execute the strategy. Successful digital business transformation, according to Forrester, requires the full support of CEOs to drive investment…

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Tomorrow (Tuesday 1st Dec), we will be presenting a Mini Masterclass during the Executive MBA Open Evening at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

The title of the session is 'Digital Darwinism: How To Avoid Becoming a Digital Dinosaur'.

The slides for the session are embedded below and can also be downloaded from Slideshare using the link provided.

By all accounts, it will be a very well attended session and we look forward to meeting everyone for what should be a very interesting evening.

Thanks to all at UEBS for inviting us to speak.

Take care. Jim H…


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I am delighted to have been asked to offer a new Digital Strategy elective module on the University of Edinburgh MBA Programme.

A taster session, entitled 'Digital Darwinism: How to Avoid Becoming a Digital Dinosaur', will be delivered as a Mini Masterclass on Tuesday 1st December starting at 6pm - as part of the Open Evening for the Executive MBA.

The session will examine how a convergence of disruptive technologies (mobile connectivity, social media, enterprise social, the cloud, big data, Internet of Things, artificial intelligent, automation), combined with the rapid emergence of a new generation of constantly connected customers/employees (Gen C), is threatening to reshape markets faster than any force in history.

In a fast moving and highly interactive…

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FSB Digital Disruption Report

Our 'Digital Disruption' report for the Federation of Small Business in Scotland was launched last Thursday at an event hosted by the University of Edinburgh Business School.

The Foreword to the report is reprinted below.

Foreword

Few would dispute that we live and work in an era of rapid technological change. The digital and social media revolutions are already disrupting a wide range of industries, threatening to transform existing ways of doing things and existing business models. The changes witnessed since the advent of the Internet twenty years ago are nothing compared to what is coming over the next few years.

Our small businesses need to ‘adapt or die’. They need to embed digital capabilities into the core of their business. The days of treating…

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A World Class Digital Nation? (update)

Further to our previous blog post Scotland: A World Class Digital Nation ('Nae Chance'), new evidence appeared this week, in the Harvard Business Review no less, showing that Europe as a whole is in the midst of a digital recession, especially when compared to the US and Asia; a digital recession that will have severe consequences for Europe's global competitiveness. 

Of the 50 countries studied in the Digital Evolution Index, 23 were European (not counting Turkey). Only three of these, Switzerland, Ireland, and Estonia, made it to the commendable “Stand Out” category defined as 'countries with high levels of digital development making them attractive to…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 3)

The third in our regular series of posts covering the best and most recent articles on digital disruption, digital transformation and digital leadership. You can keep up-to-date, on a daily basis, with the rapidly emerging literature in this area by connecting with us on Twitter and Linkedin.

Please also see Reads 1 and 2 in the series.  

Please right click on links to open in…

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New Book: Digital to the Core


Published this week, Digital to the Core by Mark Raskino and Graham Waller from Gartner, represents a very important addition to the growing literature on digital disruption, digital transformation and digital leadership.

The core argument of the authors is that standing still in an era of turbulent digital change is not an option. Enterprises and leaders must re-master themselves to succeed. Leaders must identify the key macro-digital forces impacting on their industry/organisation then provide leadership at three main levels industry, enterprise and self.

All leaders need to understand the impact of the digital revolution on their industries, organisations and leadership style.

The core of the book is…

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Middle East Embracing Digital Transformation

Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Middle East on several occasions to deliver the Digital Leadership elective module on the Strathclyde Business School MBA programme.

It was with great interest, therefore, that i noted a recent study by Accenture claiming that leading businesses and governments in the region are positioning themselves to fully embrace digital transformation opportunities, probably more so than in many Western countries.  

Based on interviews with 200 senior decision-makers in the public and private sectors of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), key headline findings were:

A majority of respondents (62 percent in UAE and 83 percent in…

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The severe shortage of digital executives represents a huge potential employment opportunity for tech-savvy leaders according to a new post on the MBA networking site Business Because.

A dearth of experienced talent combined with the growing number of businesses seeking to leverage digital has put a premium on the role of the digital leader.

The article contains a series of very interesting quotes from experts working at the forefront of digital transformation.

According to Capgemini, for example, executives are desperate to hire outside talent to manage new digital initiatives. There is an emerging war for digital talent according…

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As we continue with the pretence that Scotland will be a world-class digital nation by 2020, an objective that is already unattainable due to Digital Darwinism (the fact that technology and society are evolving at a faster rate than our ability to adapt), this is the debate we really should be having - Digital Disruption Summit.

With November and December…

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PwC’s 2015 Digital IQTM Survey released earlier this week identified ten leadership behaviours that drive digital performance.

According to the report, based on a study of 2,000 executives across 51 countries, companies with the highest scores across the ten behaviours are 50% more likely to achieve rapid revenue growth and twice as likely to achieve rapid profit growth when compared to the remaining Digital IQ respondents.

One of the most interesting findings is that more CEOs are leading the digital charge, setting the tone that digital is essential for their organization.By contrast, the role of the CIO in digital transformation is diminishing.  Within three years, their role will be limited to managing internal IT efforts.

Now in its seventh year, PwC’s Digital IQ…

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5 Key Roles of a Digital Business Leader

According to a recent article by McKinsey, the number of Chief Digital Officers doubled from 2013 to 2014 and is expected to double again this year as more organisations begin to realise that they cannot achieve digital business transformation within current structures.

The article lists 5 'mission critical' roles of a Digital Business Leader.

1. Make digital integral to the strategy

According to McKinsey, digital isn’t a 'thing' - it’s a new way of doing things. Successful CDOs focus on integrating digital into all aspects of the business, from channels and processes and data to the operating model, incentives, and culture.…

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Next Generation Marketing Skills

While there is growing recognition of the need for digital transformation, industry leaders (with a few exceptions) lack the digital knowledge, understanding and confidence to drive change.  A new breed of senior executive is required - Digital Business Leaders - executives who can combine high level business knowledge, experience and understanding with the ability to develop and implement Digital Transformation Strategies fully aligned with and supportive of agreed business goals and objectives. Executives with the personal skills and confidence to deliver organisational transformation.

Where should these future digital leaders should come from?  Should they have an Information Technology or Business/Marketing background? 

The consensus seems to be that a new breed of…

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We have been quite critical in the past regarding the failure of our Business Schools to respond to the growing shortage of digital leaders. At last, it appears that this is about to change. 

A recent article published on the Business Because MBA web site shows that a number of leading schools are now offering programmes to support executives in dealing with turbulent digital change and digital disruption.

Schools mentioned as being digital innovators include Harvard, ESSEC, Mannheim, Salford, Said, Cambridge Judge, IMD and Tuck as well as our own Digital Leaders MBA elective class at Strathclyde Business School.  I would also add the University of Edinburgh Business School to this list.

While it is great to see progress being made, Ted Malloch, fellow in…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 2)

Please find below our top ten reads on Digital Disruption and Digital Transformation published over the last month or so; together with some news type articles.

Top Ten Reads

Digital Disruption to Displace 4 in 10 Industry Incumbents by 2020

A short introduction to the recent IMD/Cisco Report. Digital disruption could overturn incumbents and reshape markets faster than any force in history. Based on a survey of 941 business leaders in 12 industries and 13 countries, the report concluded that digital disruption will displace approximately 40 percent of industry incumbents within the next five years.

The Digital…

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According to a recent article on the b-school network 'Business Because' by Seb Murray, Business Schools are reporting growing demand from companies for talent to lead digital growth. The growing demand for digital talent is being reported across a broad range of industries including fashion, banking and finance, healthcare, IT, consultancy, media, marketing, the digital sector itself and many others. Unfortunately, there is also a growing shortage of high quality graduates to lead companies into the digital era.

With digital having emerged as a key driver of growth, the skills shortage has transformed from a nagging worry for CEOs into something more challenging accordign to Jon Andrews, leader of PwC’s global people and organization practice. 'Despite rising business confidence and…

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A very interesting article has recently appeared in the McKinsey Quarterly by Marc de Jong and Menno van Dijk entitled ‘Disrupting beliefs: A new approach to business-model innovation’. The article provides advice on how industry incumbents can reframe their underlying business models in an era of digital disruption.

Established business models, according to the authors, are under attack - being subject to rapid displacement, disruption, and, in extreme cases, outright destruction because of the digital and social media revolutions. A simple but very useful Infographic is presented showing how business models can be reframed when threatened by digital disruption.

The five main stages are:

1. Outline the dominant business model in your industry.

2. Dissect…

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Business Schools and Digital Leaders

We have been arguing for some time now that more Digital Leaders are urgently required.

It is nice see, therefore, that innovative Business Schools are at last moving in this direction.

Please see the two articles below for a quick overview of some recent developments in this area.

Also nice to see a brief mention in both articles of our own Digital Leaders class at SBS.

MBA Careers: Business Seeks Tech-Savvy Leaders For Digital Transformation

Business Schools Help Executives Keep Pace With Digital…

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