IMD recently hosted the Chief Digital Officers roundtable, gathering leading digital minds from companies such as Hilti, Cisco, Hitachi, KPN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Unicredit, Nestec and more.

The event was led my IMD Professor Michael Wade and supported by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an IMD and Cisco initiative (DBT Center).

Drawing on research by the DBT Center and the expertise of the group, the event focused on three key topics:

  1. The attributes that make leaders successful in environments characterized by digital disruption
  2. The varying role and authority the Chief Digital Officer has in different organizations.
  3. Cisco’s digital transformation story and the DBT Center’s new digital transformation execution framework.   

 “While we are very interested in startups, we organized this event to focus on how large legacy corporations can respond to disruption,” said Michael Wade. “It’s not necessarily always the new entrants that win the disruption game. Disruptors are agile but occupants have capital, a strong reputation and good people. One thing that is for sure is that most companies have no choice but to become more agile.”

The event opened with Michael Wade presenting research from the recent study Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age which identified the key characteristics that help leaders thrive in disruptive environments: namely the HAVE competencies - Humility, Adaptability, Vision and Engagement.

“No successful business today exists without a partner ecosystem; a CDO needs humility to open his platform up to his partner”

Professor Wade also drew attention to three critical business behaviors that these leaders share; Hyperawareness, Making Informed Decisions and Executing at Speed.

The first session on day two saw a number of participants from companies such as Hilti and Caterpillar map out where the Chief Digital Officer sits in their organization and sharing their successes and challenges.

During the following session, participants worked together to identify where their organizations needed to devote the most, and least, attention to digital transformation initiatives in different areas of their companies using the DBT Center’s Digital Orchestra framework. The Orchestra Framework is a newly developed structured approach to transformation planning and analysis for organizations developed from the DBT Center’s work over the last two years.

In the final session, James Macaulay and Simon Longhurst from Cisco’s Chief Digitization office gave an insider’s view on Cisco’s ambitious digital transformation journey, sharing fascinating insights into what it’s really like to transform an organization with more than sixty-thousand employees.

Find out more about IMD’s portfolio of programs focusing on Digital Transformation.