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The Future of Leadership in the Digital Age: Three Lessons Learned

Digital and innovation go hand-in-hand. But, what does this mean for the future of businesses, their leaders and their teams when it comes to fostering social change in a digital age?

Earlier this year I was honoured to be an invited presenter on the process for planning, communicating and measuring digital campaigns for the 2018 Innovation for Leadership Conference in Copenhagen. During my time at the conference, I was fortunate to network and meet with highly qualified change makers in globalization, technology and digital innovation.

Here’s 3 lessons I learned about how to propel forward as a united team in an increasingly digitized world.

Lesson 1: The greatest leaders aren’t the ones with the best answers, but the best questions

Camilla Gad Krogsgaard, Managing Director of ALSO Denmark – a European B2B marketplace bundling logistics services, financial services, digital services, and more into individual service packages – served as the Keynote speaker. Presenting about leading change in the tech storm, she asked the audience to think about what leaders in their past have truly inspired and motivated them to work to their greatest potential. The most commonly cited characteristic of strong leaders? Honesty. The moral of the story? The best leaders aren’t the ones with the best answers, they are the ones who are curious and transparent.

Sometimes leadership is as much about sitting down, listening and asking questions ... as it is standing up and speaking up.

Lesson 2: Innovation is nothing without transparent communication and adaptability

The future of innovation and the role of adaptability was presented by Raul Cordero (Head of Service Delivery Management, IT Operations at internationally renowned Danish jewelers, Pandora), Sandra Patricia Jensen (Digital Graduate, leading brewery Carlsberg Group), and Marco Maier (Managing Director at TAWNY.AI and Head of Artificial Intelligence at HYVE - the innovation company). They spoke to both the challenges and opportunities inherent in the globalization of innovation:

  • Working within expansive teams requires the development of a digital workplace experience, where individuals can communicate and cooperate globally through machines and technology.

  • Business success depends not only on being adaptable to working with global teams, but also in breaking down silos. It's learning about how others live and work around the world – thereby speaking to one another in a personal way that facilitates connection to create unified teams.

  • The greatest challenge of the future will be adapting to working with robotics and technology. While much fear can be associated with the changing landscape, using robotics and technology can offer great promises. The opportunity for the time spent on administrative-related tasks can be greatly reduced from our workplaces, allowing for expansive opportunities to be increasingly creative as workforces and as human species.

The future of our work environments mean embracing a new era where humans communicate, cooperate, and live together with intelligent machines.

Lesson 3 - The ability to lead people depends on your own ability to be led by people

Innovation is rapid and ever-evolving. So how do companies, especially change makers, continue to adapt? Through human-centered design: a creative approach to problem solving that focuses on the people you’re designing for and builds new solutions that meet their needs. It involves co-creating solutions alongside the target audience; building multiple prototypes to share with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting a new innovative solution out into the world. Camilla Gad Krogasgaard spoke about re-imagining traditional processes in key areas of change management and growth planning. Similar to the "5 day design sprint", Camilla argued for the importance of agile processes, learning by speaking to your customers, establishing metrics and measures to execute innovation plans quickly and efficiently, and the value of streamlined approaches that involve team members, while also holding them accountable.

The takeaway? Build solutions with the very people you’re looking to serve and keep them at the heart of the process.

To see the presenter slides and photos from the conference, visit here.

Learn more about Dooley Social Change by visiting our Website. You can also follow-us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or sign up to receive e-newsletter updates.

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