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In his recently released book, Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy” (Harvard Business Review Press, May 2015), author R Ray Wang makes it clear that we are no longer in an economy of products and services. The digital transformation demands that we focus our attention on experiences and outcomes. Organizations must pivot with and ahead of social, organizational, and technological shifts or risk being left behind.

He makes the case that the the most successful companies moving forward are the ones that embrace a new way of thinking around these major trends:

  • Consumerization of technology and the C-suite
  • Data’s influence in driving decisions
  • Digital marketing transformation
  • The future of work
  • The matrix commerce

We asked Wang a few questions a few questions about his book:

What are the main characteristics of the digital transformation that’s taking place, and how is it affecting organizations?

The biggest shift is the urgency that’s required to make the change in business models, not technologies.  The business models have to align with the organization’s brand promise.  We see successful digital transformation when we humanize digital. Successful companies take a Board-driven, management-led, and employees-engaged approach. Culture beats tech in digital transformation.

In your book you urge organizations to move away from incremental improvement and embrace a transformational mindset. What do you mean by this and what are some of the attributes of this mindset?

Transformational innovation moves beyond just making a product faster, better, and cheaper.  In fact, transformation is about changing the business models and thinking about how to not only defend from multiple industries, multiple business models, but also lead by attacking and commoditizing one’s own models.

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You describe how the peer-to-peer economy is changing the workforce. Can you expand on this?

We see more than just a gig economy emerge.  What we see are companies like Task Rabbit and Etsy helping connect professionals, creatives, and artists with potential types of work. They build trust networks to ensure authenticity.  They allow for value creation and exchange in the network.  P2P delivers scale and democratizes the ability to distribute work and value.

You can read this book on Safari now, and while you’re at it, explore other top titles from Harvard Business Review Press.  


Tags: disruption, Harvard Business Review Press, HBRP, innovation,

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