10 Jan 2018
- What do you think are the main challenges of digitalization in management education?
I see this program from the following perspective. We are preparing students today for the next 30 or 40 years. It is our responsibility to look deep into the future and decide how we are going to best educate them for the technological and other challenges they will be facing in the 2040s or 2050s, when the world is going to be very different.
There are two main things, first, we need to take responsibility for the kind of content that we provide, the digital skills that we develop, but also the managerial competences that today’s students are going to be needing in the future. Second, to deploy the tools that we use to pursue our educational goals in an efficient and skillful way. In a way that maximizes the potential of each learning environment, to make the most of face to face interaction and at the same time taking advantage of digital tools. Still today, too many contact hours are “wasted” on one-way transfer of facts, a process which is much better carried out online. One we embrace online channels for this part of the learning process, we can take advantage of face time for the cultivation of tacit expertise, critical appreciation and performative learning.
Today we observe digital companies and large conglomerates trying to put in place more agile management structures in processes. It is still an open question what shape these agile practices will take in businesses but we need to teach our students agile values and practices, the principles and practices of experimentation and lean entrepreneurship, the principles and practices of design thinking. These are the sorts of managerial skills that we should cultivate as opposed to command and control management models that we are accustomed with.
- What is this skills and knowledge gap that needs to be addressed in order to succeed with the digital transition?
There are a number of issues that relate to present and future industry needs. One is the digital skills that are in high demand today but they are more transient. It’s what the industry needs in the short term, in the next 6 to 24 months. For example, the latest programming language, or the latest digital marketing tools. It is very difficult for universities to keep up to date with technology developments in this field. We have to find ways to use on-line delivery in order to incorporate those skills in our teaching. Because we are academic institutions and because we have responsibility toward the future, we also need to think carefully about how we bring the humanities and arts into the theory and practices of management. It is our responsibility to develop leaders who are not only technically competent but are also able to ask critical questions about the direction in which their companies are leading the world. Businesses are the most influential institutions in society, today and into the future. Therefore, business leaders should have a very strong ethical backbone and it is our responsibility to cultivate it. This is often overlooked but remains an urgent challenge for business schools to address.