Digital Transformation of Businesses – and Schooling

Mal Lee

It is highly likely – particularly those of you attuned to the information feeds – that you’ll see increasing reference this year to both the ‘digital transformation’ and ‘digital evolution’ of business.

Indeed several of major business management journals have projected that 2015 will be the year of digital transformation.

Check the web pages of the major business consultancy firms and you’ll see all promoting their facility to assist that organisational transformation.

What is important to understood by all associated with schools is the digital transformation is also occurring at pace with schooling globally – particularly in those schools globally that have moved to a digital operational base – mirrors that occurring in all manner of industries.

While it is appreciated many in schools rail at any reference to business the reality is that the evermore pervasive use of the digital technology is transforming virtually every facet of our lives, all organisations, including our schools.

As those who know my writings will appreciate the digital evolution of schooling, the transformative impact of the digital technology on every facet of the school’s operations and indeed the nature of the schooling provided has been the focus of my research and writing for some time.

While it should be no surprise it is both fascinating and professionally rewarding to note the close parallels between the organisational transformation occurring in both industry and schooling, and the key variables identified in both our own research and that in business.

I’m increasingly of the view that all educators, and indeed parents and politicians, could better understand the situation in their school and the likely path ahead if they noted not only the digital transformation occurring within schooling but also within industry in general.

To this end I’m curating – at – a compilation of current readings on the development, as relates to both schooling and industry, making particular mention of those studies and authors worth reading.

One of the terms you’ll likely encounter in that reading is ‘Digital Darwinism’. While one doesn’t need to spell out the implications for industry it applicability to schools and units therein as viable entities is ever growing.

It is a term coined by Brian Solis. His work for the Altimeter group on Digital Transformation in 2014 is well worth downloading from –

Indeed his 2014 YouTube presentation to Telstra, although around an hour in length, is well worth watching, reflecting upon and using in your staff development.

For a more detailed read, particularly by school leaders I’d recommend the 2014 work by Westerman, G, Bonnett, D and McAfee, A (2014) Leading Digital. Turning Technology into Business Transformation, Boston, Harvard Business Review Press. While their research focuses on the global ‘digital masters’ in business the findings applicable to all digitally based industries.

Complementing that work are two very good short YouTube presentations, one by Westerman at – and the other by Bonnett at –