Many businesses today, while acknowledging the importance and inevitable shift towards digital networks, still feel unequipped to successfully integrate. It’s a problem that digital leaders should address, by first identifying the major hurdles and then looking at how they can be overcome. This is no small task because to achieve these goals leaders first need to have a thorough understanding of not only where digital is, but also where it is headed.
Some businesses are only able to pay lip service to digital spaces, but as technology progresses, capable digital leaders will become more essential than ever.
The ever-changing role of digital
One of the biggest problems is that the digital space is constantly shifting. What was innovative only a few years ago is now obsolete, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. An example of this is the shipping industry in South Asia, which was one of the first to understand the potential of e-commerce. This resulted in South Korea establishing a national legislation draft in 1994, years ahead of the USA.
Now we take e-commerce for granted. Understanding that digital business demands constant innovation is fundamental, and so is learning how to harness and cultivate that innovation in individuals.
The role of digital education and creating new digital leaders
The digital leaders of tomorrow are unlikely to come solely from the world of business. True innovation will require a different kind of thought process, not limited to or influenced by the norms in most industries.
Digital education, like the MBA course at the University of Europe Laureate Digital, is perfectly situated to train and empower the digital leaders of tomorrow.
“Today’s innovators and leaders have already noticed that we tend to generate value and officiation through knowledge spill over.” Filipe Castro Soeiro, Academic Director at the University of Europe Laureate Digital, is certain that this knowledge spill over is essential for new digital leaders and innovation, and far harder to cultivate in traditional learning environments. “The internet is no longer just one network. There is now the internet of documents, the internet of commerce, the internet of people and the internet of things. Digital higher education is a big part of this transformation and innovation, and it needs to continue to embrace this dynamism. But this dynamism also comes with increasing levels of uncertainty and volatility.”
Preparation for the uncertain
This is perhaps the biggest challenge any digital leader of the future will face: uncertainty. While the shifting digital space demands innovation, the accompanying volatility can offer challenges as well as opportunities. Adaptability, and the ability to understand the complex relationships between the digital and online worlds, as well as how to predict and exploit them, will be crucial for any business.
Furthermore, innovation can’t only be limited to business. As consumers make more direct contact with products and companies in the digital space, leaders have to shift with and meet their changing expectations quickly and confidently. Politics, social movements, the environment, culture – all will have a much more present and important role to play as networks merge and become ever deeper entwined.
It is the role and challenge then, of new digital leaders, to notice these ebbs and flows quickly and think emphatically. A digital education is uniquely placed to prepare tomorrow’s leaders for the new kind of thinking that ever-changing and evolving digital knowledge systems will demand.