David Rogers, Digital Transformation: Focus on Outcomes and Customer Needs – Innova.Buzz 591


David Rogers, Columbia Business School.

Our guest in this episode is David Rogers, the world’s leading expert on digital transformation, a member of the faculty at Columbia Business School, and the author of five books. His landmark bestseller, The Digital Transformation Playbook, was the first book on digital transformation and put the topic on the map.

David shares valuable insights and strategies for organizations seeking to thrive in the digital age. Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:

  1. The key to successful digital transformation is a mindset shift towards problem-solving and value creation, focusing on outcomes and customer needs.
  2. Companies should pair external knowledge with internal understanding to identify their “right to win” and pursue new ventures.
  3. Establishing a shared vision, aligning goals, and empowering employees to take ownership are critical for successful digital transformation at every level of the organization.

Remember, digital transformation is not just about technology; it’s about achieving business results and creating an organization that can succeed in the digital landscape. So, let’s embrace the power of innovation and strategic thinking to unlock our true business potential.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

Support the Show

Permanently bookmark this episode by purchasing the episode token here.

50% of all revenue from this episode token will go directly to our guest; the other 50% goes towards supporting this show.

Think of it as a way to support the guest and tell them that you loved their show.

Digital transformation is not just about technology; it's about achieving business results and driving growth. #DigitalTransformation #BusinessResults @david_rogers on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with David Rogers, Columbia Business School

In Innova.Buzz Episode 591, host Jürgen Strauss welcomes guest David Rogers to discuss digital transformation and the challenges and strategies that organizations face in adapting to the digital age. David Rogers is a renowned authority on digital transformation and author of the book “The Digital Transformation Playbook.”

The episode begins with David emphasizing that digital transformation goes beyond mere technology implementation. It requires a shift in strategy, mindset, and leadership within established organizations. He mentions his previous book, which provocatively suggested that digital transformation is not just about technology. The goal is to achieve business results, drive growth, and create an organization that can thrive in the digital environment. He explained that technology acts as an accelerant, enabling organizations to succeed in the rapidly advancing digital environment. David also discussed the adoption of technologies and how powerful ones catalyze further advancements and business models.

The conversation then turns to the importance of mindset and leadership in embracing change. David draws parallels between the current transformation brought about by language models like GPT and the early days of the Internet. He reflects on encountering barriers and skepticism in the early days of the Internet but ultimately witnessing the possibilities and widespread acceptance. David highlights that mindset, rather than technology itself, is the key to embracing and adapting to changes.

The episode also addresses the high failure rate of digital transformation initiatives and the challenges faced by larger companies due to organizational complexity. David identifies five barriers to successful digital transformation: lack of a shared vision, lack of strategic discipline, failure to instill habits of experimentation, inflexible governance, and limited growth in capabilities. Overcoming these barriers requires clear vision, alignment, flexibility, and the development of new capabilities.

David advises organizations to consider their “right to win” when pursuing new ventures. This involves pairing external knowledge with a deep understanding of what sets the organization apart. By leveraging their unique strengths, organizations can position themselves for success.

David also shares his pride in a model he developed called the 4 Stages of Validation. This model helps companies organize the validation process by sequencing the steps in the right order. The four stages – problem validation, solution validation, product validation, and business validation – each focus on validating different aspects of a business idea. Following the proper order is crucial to avoid pitfalls in the validation process.

David then delves into the concept of strategic myopia. He explains that established organizations often become complacent and fall into the trap of perceiving the future based on their past accomplishments, products, and organizational structures. This mindset hinders their ability to adapt in a dynamic environment and can ultimately lead to obsolescence. To combat this, David emphasizes the importance of shifting the mindset towards problem-solving and value creation, as this opens up opportunities for innovation.

To illustrate the adaptability of both digital natives and legacy companies, David discusses the success stories of Alibaba and Walmart. Alibaba, a digital native company, successfully ventured into mobile payments in the Chinese market due to their vast amounts of relevant data and an already large customer base. On the other hand, Walmart, a legacy company, is redefining their retail approach by blending digital and physical channels to create an omnichannel experience. They leverage their proximity to customers and consider ventures into health clinics and basic financial services.

The episode concludes with a discussion on aligning digital transformation with overall organizational strategy and the importance of having the right knowledge, people, and organizational structure for successful implementation.

Throughout the episode, David Rogers provides valuable insights, actionable strategies, and thought-provoking perspectives on digital transformation. His expertise in the field, combined with his ability to explain complex concepts in a relatable manner, makes this episode a must-listen for business leaders and professionals navigating the challenges of the digital age.

Establish a 'right to win' by identifying your unique advantages and capabilities. Create a clear vision for your organization. #RightToWin #UniqueAdvantages @david_rogers on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are David’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. 1 thing to be more innovative – Humility (don’t assume you know), curiosity and fall in love with the problem.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – 4 Stages of Validation model.
  3. Favourite resource – the Problem Opportunity matrix.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Strategy has to happen at every level of the organization.
  5. Differentiate – Be truly curious and take accountability as well as risk.


Reflect on the importance of mindset and leadership in relation to openness to change. There are parallels between the current transformation brought by language models like GPT and the early days of the Internet. Recognize that mindset, rather than technology itself, is the key to embracing and adapting to changes. Shifting the mindset towards problem-solving and value creation can open opportunities for innovation.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank David through his website.

Suggested Guest

David suggested we have a conversation with Oded Netzer, author of “Decisions over Decimals” and Sheena Iyengar, author of “Think Bigger” on future InnovaBuzz Podcast episodes.



Cool Things About David

  • David regularly delivers keynotes at conferences on all six continents and has appeared on CNN, ABC News, CNBC, Channel News Asia, and in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.
  • He has taught over twenty-five thousand executives through his programs in New York City, in Silicon Valley, and online.
Shifting mindset and leadership is the hard part of digital transformation. Embrace impactful technologies and evolve your business models. #MindsetShift #DigitalEvolution @david_rogers on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Imagine being a part of a select community where you not only have access to our amazing podcast guests, but you also get a chance to transform your marketing and podcast into a growth engine with a human-centered, relationship-focused approach.

That’s exactly what you’ll get when you join the Flywheel Nation Community.

Tap into the collective wisdom of high-impact achievers, gain exclusive access to resources, and expand your network in our vibrant community.

Experience accelerated growth, breakthrough insights, and powerful connections to elevate your business.

ACT NOW – secure your spot and transform your journey today! Visit innovabiz.co/flywheel and get ready to experience the power of transformation.

Listen to the Podcast


Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

Leave a Comment