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#96—Michael Lenox: Unraveling Digital Transformation

#96—Michael Lenox: Unraveling Digital Transformation

Michael Lenox is an award-winning professor, consultant, author, speaker, and podcaster. For over twenty-five years, he has been helping MBA students and executives navigate the competitive dynamics of markets in the face of innovation and disruption. He is the author of five books, including his latest, Strategy in the Digital Age: Mastering Digital Transformation (Stanford Business Books, June 27, 2023).

Michael is the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He has served on the faculty at Duke and NYU and as a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT in Technology Management and Policy and a BS and MS in Systems Engineering from UVA.

His Digital Transformation course on Coursera currently has over 150,000 students enrolled. He has had well over a half-million students across all of his online courses, making him one of the most popular teachers on Coursera. Lenox has extensive expertise on the topics most important to today's executives, from decarbonization to digital transformation. As a strategy consultant, he has helped numerous organizations devise effective strategies, such as General Motors, Dominion Energy, NASA, and the NCAA. As an online educator, he has helped millions of learners improve their strategic thinking and reasoning.

In this episode, he shares:

  • The core technologies that are thrusting us into digital transformation—and it's not the usual technology (blockchain, AI, automation), but the three foundational technologies that make such technologies possible

  • How the number one source of competitive advantage—economies of scale—is changing in the age of platforms

  • Why human decision-making will remain central to the equation even as AI automates and becomes more prevalent


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Highlight from today's episode

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

2:40—If you really know me, you know that...

3:28—What is your definition of strategy?

4:03—What are the three fundamental technologies that impact digital transformation?

6:38—How does competitive advantage change in light of how the sheer amount of data is changing?

8:41—What are some misconceptions about competing in the platform age against platform titans?

11:11—Can you talk about the deconstruction of the customer value chain?

13:14—What are some of the positionings companies can take to stay competitive amongst platforms?

14:39—Could you about the distinction between prediction and judgment, the concept from your book?

16:55—Can you talk about some of the ideas you have around how newer technologies like AI are going to affect different industries, like pharma or utilities, for example?

19:09—Can you talk to us about what phases a strategist should tackle to prepare their organization to lead in the digital age?

21:15—How can people follow you and connect with you to continue learning from you?


Additional Resources:

Personal page:





The 4th Option Junto
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.