Digital transformation is radically changing corporate business models, thus requiring the development of a structural and continuous approach to innovation. Whatever the business strategy is, its execution requires the participation of all stakeholders in a fundamental cultural change.
The CEO, being the first representative of the company, plays a crucial role as key promoter and source of inspiration for this cultural transformation, and this role is not only expressed within the company’s boundaries. Indeed, CEOs are always more visible to the outside world and to the increasing multitude of stakeholders who interact with the company.
First, companies are always more exposed to customer opinions and feedback, that today play an active part in the process of creating new products and services. Moreover, customers always pay more attention in choosing their preferred brands, looking at a company’s values and goals, therefore looking at the top managers and mainly at the CEO.
In addition to customers, the CEO is visible to suppliers, partners, and distributors, as the company works in increasingly complex ecosystems, with the participation of different actors. As a result, innovation itself takes place through collaboration with external parties and cannot disconnect from the context in which the company is operating.
Finally, the CEO interacts intensively with the board in order to build the company’s vision over the medium and long term, to determine the company’s positioning in the market, and to decide the investments to be made to insure successful innovation.
But how can the CEO play this new role? Beyond the managerial functions, what and how can they contribute personally in order to inspire and promote a cultural change which is open to innovation?
Capgemini in Italy, in collaboration with Capgemini Research Institute, investigated this phenomenon by surveying more than 150 Italian CEOs. The results of this survey are illustrated in this report.