How can we understand the digital transformation of business?

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The digital revolution is rapidly transforming the fundamental nature of many companies in a wide range of industries. Executives, entrepreneurs and general managers need to understand the economics, technology paradigms and management practices of innovating in digital-centric businesses to ensure corporate and personal success.

Firms today are establishing market leadership by mastering digital innovation. For example, the traditional "Mad Men" advertising agencies now have to be able to blend digital products and services with creative strategy. Amazon is as much a retailer and supply chain powerhouse as it is a digital innovator. Similarly, the Netflix business model is heavily reliant on continuously building and enhancing digital products and services to compete against incumbents in the entertainment industry. Ford is realizing that its future competitors are likely to be Facebook and Google and not BMW and Toyota. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an HBS-alum led startup, is using crowdsourcing, digital fabrication and 3D printing to disrupt the automotive industry.

Digital Innovation and Transformation is a new Harvard Business School course designed to equip students to confidently help conceive, lead and execute digital innovation initiatives. To enrich the course experience, Professors Iansiti and Lakhani have elected to use this platform for assignments. The goal of using Open Forum is to stimulate deeper conversation, cross-pollination between ideas, and inclusion of the global "digital transformation" community.

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