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#85—Stephanie Woerner: Four Pathways for Digital Transformation

#85—Stephanie Woerner: Four Pathways for Digital Transformation

Stephanie Woerner, Director and a Research Scientist at MIT's Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is also the co-author, with Peter Weill, of What's Your Digital Business Model? And with Peter Weill and Ina Sebastian, Future Ready: The Four Pathways to Capturing Digital Value.

Stephanie studies how companies use technology and data to create more effective business models, as well as how they manage the associated organizational change, governance and strategy implications. She has a passion for measuring hard-to-assess digital factors and linking them to firm performance, and as heard in the highlight clip, helping strategists through the challenges digital transformation brings.

In this episode, she shares:

  • What digital transformation is exactly, and the characteristics future-ready companies adopt to enable it

  • The four pathways to digital transformation, and which pathway to pursue based on the stage your company is in

  • What companies who succeeded in digital transformation focus on—and what you can learn from them

  • Why digital transformation often requires a shift to an ecosystem business model and partnerships-based modular production

  • What interviews with hundreds with CIOs revealed is the most important IT-enabled digital transformation initiatives

  • The four explosions that will happen in your company’s culture that will enable your company to digitally transform


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Highlight from today's episode

00:56—Introducing Stephanie + The topic of today’s episode

2:26—If you really know me, you know that...

3:15—What is your definition of strategy?

3:51—You focus on digital business models and innovation towards this. Can you tell us about what got you into this space?

4:38—Why are digital business models important now as opposed to 10 years ago?

6:07—Why does the digital business model require us to deliver more within an ecosystem?

8:00—What are the key points that companies who successfully achieve digital transformation focus on?

9:32—What is a digital business transformation?

11:04—Could you give us the high-level idea of the digital transformation end states that companies work toward, and the four pathways that lead there?

12:27—The first pathway

13:34—The second pathway

15:49—The third pathway

17:09—Do you have any advice to which pathway should a company commit to?

18:05—The fourth pathway

18:50—Could you talk to us about Bancolombia as a case study in successful digital transformation?

20:46—Does a digital transformation require a cultural change?

22:21—How can people follow you and keep learning from you?


Additional Resources:

MIT Faculty Page:



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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.