Digital Transformation

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What We Publish, and Why

When we consider articles for publication, we look for three things: ideas that will help managers navigate an increasingly digital world, evidence-based thinking, and accessible frameworks and recommendations that readers can apply. We’re eager to hear from our readers about what they value in MIT SMR, what topics they would like to see us explore more often or more deeply, and what we could do better.

The Best of This Week

  • Read Time: 2 min 

The must-reads MIT SMR editors are most excited about this week, including: Why emotion is a key ingredient for getting customer experiences to stick, what we can learn from Germany’s platform economy, the best leader for your digital transformation effort might not be the obvious candidate, and more.

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Transformation Without Technology

  • Read Time: 4 min 

In our present age of digital disruption, the fact that digital technologies cause many of the challenges companies face doesn’t mean that technology is necessarily the solution to those problems. Where do companies focus their transformation efforts if not on technology? They focus on their most valuable assets: their people.

Bridging the Leadership Gap Between Tech and Business

  • Read Time: 5 min 

For so many of organizations today, technology is the business. Yet, for many companies, the persistent separation of the IT function within the organization creates siloes and sets up a false dichotomy between technology and business leaders. To remain flexible and adaptable in the face of constant change, business and technology leaders alike need to take bold action.

Strategy For and With AI

Executives intent on exploiting AI to enhance processes or products tend to focus on having a strategy for AI. But creating strategy with AI can matter as much or even more. In a machine-learning era, enterprise strategy is defined by the KPIs that leaders choose to optimize —the measures organizations use to create value, accountability, and competitive advantage. AI can help determine what KPIs are measured, how they are measured, and how best to prioritize them.

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Building Digital-Ready Culture in Traditional Organizations

For legacy companies, culture change is often the biggest challenge of digital transformation. How can they become more agile and innovative without alienating their best employees or wrecking their best existing practices? This article provides a framework for leaders in any industry. The process begins with understanding four key values of digital culture: impact, speed, openness, and autonomy. It then involves adopting or refining a set of digital-ready practices, grounded in these values.

How to Choose the Right Digital Leader for Your Company

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Striking the right balance between competence and credibility is essential to digital leaders’ success, but it depends on what a company expects its CDO to do. While external candidates can bring critical digital competence and experience to organizations seeking a better digital footing, they may struggle to build the necessary credibility for organizational change.

Four Profiles of Successful Digital Executives

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Hoping a jack-of-all-trades can lead your organization’s digital transition is unrealistic. We found four distinct types of successful digital executives who can best provide vision and purpose for digital. Crucially, each type has unique strengths and performs best in different contexts.

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The First Law of Digital Innovation

  • Read Time: 8 min 

Most of us know Moore’s law, that the power of semiconductor chips grows exponentially, not linearly, over time. Moore’s law, though, is only part of the technology equation. There’s another critical law that needs more attention. It’s this: While technology changes quickly, organizations change much more slowly. That means digital transformation is as much a leadership challenge as a technical one.

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

Although most manufacturers are beginning to flirt with digital technologies, not one has successfully pulled off a digital transformation. CEOs still have to figure out its art — and science — forcing them to draw up their game plans on the fly, which inevitably leads to tension and trauma. But they are learning. Here’s how GE has navigated its own digital transformation process.

How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different

Many of us assume that the leadership handbook must be completely rewritten for the digital age. Is this true? Or are we overly focused on what’s changing and thus neglecting the fundamentals? There is something to be said for both arguments. While many core leadership skills remain the same, the demands of digital disruption call for certain new ones, as well. This article explores which are which and what we can learn from organizations that are digitally maturing.

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