September 5, 2023

Redefining Business in the Digital Age

Episode 204 of The Innovation Engine podcast.

Digital transformation is a term often tossed around in boardrooms but rarely understood in its full depth and breadth. David Rogers joins us on this episode of The Innovation Engine podcast to discuss his latest book, The Digital Transformation Roadmap: Rebuild Your Organization for Continuous Change. David is a renowned faculty member at the Columbia Business School who has advised a bevy of top-tier corporate clients, including Google, Microsoft, Citigroup, and Toyota, on how to achieve their own digital transformations. He’s also the brains behind several groundbreaking books on the subject, including his 2016 book, The Digital Transformation Playbook

David underscores the significant differences between a digital-first startup and a legacy enterprise attempting to make its products and services viable in the digital realm. With keen insights, he emphasizes that digital transformation is not a short-term project, but a continuous journey intertwined with both digital strategy and sweeping organizational change.

In The Digital Transformation Roadmap, David outlines the Five Steps for Digital Transformation:

  1. Define a Shared Vision: This involves crafting a vision unique to the organization. It should be more specific than just wanting to “go digital” and avoid the fate of becoming the next Blockbuster or Kodak and should be commonly understood by everyone in the company.
  2. Pick the Problems that Matter Most: Prioritize key issues and be willing to say no to lesser important opportunities.
  3. Validating New Ventures: Shift from traditional planning-focused models to iterative processes that allow for continuous learning and adaptation.
  4. Managing Growth at Scale: Adopt different management or governance models that can work across multiple teams and cater to different strategic opportunities.
  5. Growing Technology, Talent, and Culture: Identify gaps in technology infrastructure, talent, and company culture, and address these.

The process is cyclical, not linear, and the steps should be revisited regularly for continuous adaptation and improvement.

Tune in for an insightful journey into the heart of digital transformation with one of the foremost thought leaders in the field. Don’t miss David’s deep insights, actionable strategies, and a fresh perspective on a topic that’s reshaping the global business landscape.

Listen to the Episode

Watch the Full Episode

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Episode Highlights

  • Deep dive into the ambiguous nature of “digital transformation” and its ties with AI’s rising relevance
  • Navigating organizational complexities as businesses span across different geographies
  • CEO struggles in manifesting their visions for a digital future and overcoming barriers
  • Insights from David Rogers’ The Digital Transformation Roadmap and the importance of aligning a team’s perspectives with users
  • Advocating for an approach to digital transformation that’s centered around experimentation and iterative funding
  • Drawing parallels between Agile product development and continuous organizational transformation
  • Challenges of innovation beyond core competencies, exemplified by Amazon’s AWS success story 
  • Sharing experiences from a Fortune 100 publishing transition from print to digital


About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.