- IMD Business School
News Stories · Digital - Sustainability - Leadership

OWP Day 1: Exploring digitalization, sustainability, and leadership

Succeeding in an evolving globalization landscape requires a new approach to digitalization, sustainability, and leadership. Read about my experience of the thought-provoking sessions on the first day of OWP.
June 2023

By Shinya Yamamoto

This week marks my fourth time at #OWP and the second time I’ve joined it here in Lausanne. Why do I keep coming back? Well, it’s great for sharing knowledge, connecting with new people and gaining different perspectives. This time around there are 450 leaders from more than 40 countries, and I have already had the privilege to work with people from all around the world.  

Richard Baldwin’s keynote this morning reaffirmed for me how, even as globalization continues to shrink our borders, globalization itself is transforming. As tech, especially AI, changes our business practices, working methods, and the relationships between people and organizations, recognizing the evolving globalization landscape and consciously repositioning ourselves within it could result in a constantly renewed self. It truly excites me to think that I could be involved in this new era of third-stage globalization.  

“Well, it’s great for sharing knowledge, connecting with new people and gaining different perspectives.”

Following that, I attended “The Ethics and Sustainability of Digital Technologies” which opened my eyes to how seemingly unrelated topics like sustainability and digitalization are interconnected. Digital technologies aim to improve organizational performance and sustainability programs aim to improve the planet – but, as professors Michael Wade and Julia Binder pointed out, each can negatively impact on the other’s goal. 

Professor Wade shared how his research has found only a few companies which have successfully integrated digital and sustainability strategies effectively. As leaders, we need to make a judgment call on the right thing to do while managing our stakeholders – which is certainly easier said than done.  

 - IMD Business School
<em>OWP Lausanne 2023 Dual digital and sustainability transformation session with <a href=httpswwwimdorgfacultyprofessorsjulia binder>Julia Binder<a> and <a href=httpswwwimdorgfacultyprofessorsmichael wade target= blank rel=noopener>Michael Wade<a><em>


The case study we worked on during the session reinforced this, bringing to light how different stakeholders may have diverse interests and values, which can lead to ethical issues and risks if these conflicts are not managed. Ultimately, it is not technology, but how people manage and approach these aspects that matter. A strong leadership team with a broad perspective on how these aspects intersect will be essential for future business success.  

Finally, Professor Shlomo Ben-Hur’s session on “Adapting Your Impact in a Changing World” prompted me to reflect on my own leadership style. Amongst the three key leadership factors – trust, clarity, and momentum – I tend to lean on trust to build a safe space for my team. This has definitely given me food for thought on how I can refine and evolve my leadership style in the future. 

I’m excited to see what learnings and inspiration the rest of the week brings!   

If you’d like to experience Day 1 of OWP, please watch the highlights reel here.

This article is inspired by a LinkedIn post that you can follow here