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Go Inside 'Digital Transformation Strategy' with Professor Peter Wilton


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Dr. Peter Wilton teaches strategy, marketing, and international management at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. He is the Faculty Director for Berkeley Executive Education's Digital Transformation Strategy program. We asked Dr. Wilton about the new Program.

EXEC ED: You’ve designed a new program for UC Berkeley ExecEd called: Digital Transformation Strategy. Could you share why you’re excited about this program and how it’s different, in design and content, from other marketing courses for executives?

WILTON: This program is designed to introduce marketers and other business leaders to the issues we have been talking about in this interview, and to guide them through a discussion of how to respond effectively in order to sustain and extend the organization’s leadership position.  We will explore topics such as...
  • The New Marketing Realities: what’s changed in marketing?
  • Understanding Digital Disruption: why is it occurring, when is it effective, when should the firm commit to being a disruptor (if ever), what are the risks of disrupting, what are the risks of not disrupting, how can these risks be managed?
  • Managing Marketing in a World of Digital Disruption: what will our future marketing success look like, what business assumptions can/should we challenge, what new business models and marketing strategies can we envision, what new marketing results can we deliver?

  • Recognizing the Disruption Opportunity: how can we find previously unrecognized approaches to customer value, how can we anticipate “what’s next”, how can we collaborate with others to find new innovation opportunities and build an ecosystem that delivers new customer experiences we cannot deliver alone?

  • Building a Balanced Innovation Portfolio: how does innovation impact customer loyalty and business success, what is the right mix of sustaining and reframing innovation that will sustain our leadership and customer loyalty in the future, how effective is our current mix, what do we need to do to rebalance the portfolio?
  • Identifying the Customer Franchise Opportunity: what is “Customer Franchise”, how can we use “Customer Franchise” as the roadmap for designing digitally enabled customer experiences, how do we go beyond being best-in-class to become the “best imaginable” provider in the market?

  • Delivering Differentiated Customer Experience in a Digital World: how do we operationalize the "Customer Franchise" opportunity, how do we use digital technology to better understand the customer, connect with them, engage them, and transform their experience?    What are the new models of customer engagement: entertainment, education, utility, participation?   How can we measure marketing success along the customer journey?

  • The Marketer’s New Roles and Capabilities: what are the new roles for marketing professionals, what are the new digital marketing capabilities these professionals need to master, how do these capabilities differ from the traditional functional or product-centered view of marketing, how can these digital marketing capabilities be applied in practical ways to new opportunities for driving customer experience and market leadership?
In short, this program is not about optimizing traditional marketing activities.   It is about integrating marketing insight into strategic opportunities that build customer loyalty and sustain market leadership in an environment where customer value could be reframed at any time.   The program is designed to equip marketers and other business professionals with new insights into the changes that are occurring in their markets, increase their understanding of why these changes are occurring and how to anticipate and respond to them, and to equip these leaders with new tools for designing and delivering differentiated customer experiences in a digital environment.
EXEC ED: Who do you think should attend this program? Is it meant solely for those steeped in marketing or perhaps for multiple audiences? What will be some of the key takeaways from this program?
WILTON: Since the focus of the program is upon sustaining and extending the organization’s resilience and leadership in markets that are constantly evolving, it offers relevant insight and expertize to business professionals engaged in almost every function in the organization, including marketing (all functions), strategy, product development and management, communication, IT, finance, and organizational design, culture, and human capital development.
In addition, the program will help guide the thinking, and implementation strategy, of leaders and managers aspiring to sustain their organization’s market relevance and leadership in world in transition, including those responsible for whole-of-business success (CEO’s and C-level teams), innovation, organizational transformation, market and opportunity selection, capability mapping & development, partnerships & alliances, and new ventures & acquisitions.
Finally, these themes of the program are not just pertinent to the private sector, for-profit organizations.   They pertain also to public sector organizations, and to not-for-profit organizations that are facing increasing competition for an ever-declining pool of government sector resources, and the support of corporate and individual donors and collaborators. Sustainability for such organizations ultimately rests upon their ability to create unique and relevant value for their key stakeholders, thereby building stakeholder advocacy and support.
EXEC ED: Can you talk a bit about any/all of the UC Berkeley Haas defining principles and how they might apply to this program? How do these principles relate to your approach to this program?
WILTON: The Berkeley-Haas defining principles reflect the core objectives of this learning experience.   As you know, the defining principles are the pivotal leadership dispositions and capabilities we believe are necessary to support the innovative organization.
“Question the Status Quo” is at the core of reframing innovation: only by challenging the existing assumptions of the business can leaders identify new opportunities for creating customer value.
“Students Always” reflects the program’s view that leaders need to be constantly searching for new insights, and supporting the agile organization that is willing to experiment with new opportunities, technologies, and strategies that can complement and extend the organization’s current success.
“Beyond Yourself” reflects the program’s view that leaders need to be collaborating both within and beyond the organization in order to identify and realize new opportunities that benefit the customer and other key stakeholders of the organization, including other internal functions, external suppliers, innovators/collaborators, and partners in the firm’s value delivery ecosystem.
“Confidence without Attitude” reflects the program’s view that leaders need to be open to the new ways of thinking that will help to reinvent the core business and uncover previously unrecognized opportunities for reframing customer value.    This is the key to sustaining organizational resilience: - remaining open to the possibility of alternative futures, yet having the confidence to experiment, encourage others to take risk, and learn from failure.

Go Deeper

Take a deep-dive into this topic and gain expert, working knowledge by joining us for the program that inspired it!

Digital Transformation Strategy - Berkeley Executive Education. In this three-day strategic leadership training program, we lay out the framework for mastering leadership in a world of digital disruption. The Digital Transformation Strategy program examines the key trends impacting the marketer’s role today and provides practical frameworks and methodologies for managing the core leadership and marketing tasks in the context of digital enablement.