Michael Wade



In this episode I’m joined by Professor Michael Wade. Mike is a professor of innovation and strategy at IMD in Switzerland and he holds the CISCO chair in digital business transformation. He’s the director of the Global Centre for Digital Business Transformation which is an IMD and CISCO initiative and his areas of expertise relate to strategy, innovation and digital transformation. Mike as published I believe at least nine books, more than 30 case studies and he appears frequently in mainstream media. His latest book is Orchestrating Transformation.

The common transformation barriers by Michael Wade:

There’s some data around this and the best case seems to be about 70 percent of these transformation efforts fail. But I’ve seen data that suggests up to 95 per cent of them fail so it’s certainly not easy. We’ve seen our fair share of failure but we don’t believe the foregone conclusion that these transformation efforts will fail. But there are certainly barriers as you point out.

While to start with, there’s the technology barrier actually – figuring out how to use these digital tools and technologies. It’s not easy to do. Often the I.T. foundation within organizations is not scalable, robust enough to take on these new technologies so there’s kind of the technology barrier there for many companies. But in fact, that’s not the trickiest one. We see other barriers which may not show up immediately but they show up relatively quickly and then they can really throw a spanner in the works when it comes to transforming.

“A common mistake we see is setting up the digital team to fail. So many companies see the threat of digital disruption, they go to conferences, they network with peers and everybody’s talking about digital and so they hire somebody to manage the digital transformation and unfortunately, that person is often set up to fail. They’re given a good title, they’re given a big responsibility but within the organisation very little legitimacy to actually drive change and very often internally they are ignored.” ~ Michael Wade


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