INSEAD Participant Interview
Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption & the INSEAD Online experience
Tell us more about yourself and your current position.
My background is in international sales and marketing. Right now, I’m Project Director and Chief Digital Officer at Cegos, a leading consulting, vocational training and professional development services company. We offer operational consultancy to help companies grow their business by defining their learning strategy to contribute to individual and collective performance. We design and deliver a range of online, blended and face-to-face learning and development programmes in softskills such as management and leadership, project management, sales and marketing.
My role involves making sure that the strategies and solutions we design for customers deliver value. Part of that means ensuring that our digital offerings are truly leading edge. My team of consultants brings disruptive thinking and designing methods to our clients to be one step ahead. I’m also pretty hands-on when it comes to the day-to-day management of strategic client projects.
What is the most challenging aspect of the role?
It’s keeping abreast of the sheer pace of change. As digital transformation continues to spur innovation and growth across industries, disruptive changes are reshaping markets. It’s part of my job to decode the changes and understand the likely impact for our customers. Put another way, I need a really good understanding of which emerging trends present the best opportunities for my organisation, so I can develop a strategic response.
What drew you to doing an online programme, and INSEAD’s Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption?
I wanted to do an online programme because it offered a very pragmatic opportunity to learn more about best practice when it comes to delivering online learning – something that’s obviously a part of my role.
In terms of Strategy in the Age of Disruption, two things stood out for me. First, the methodology behind the programme, which includes a chance to learn from the latest corporate case studies across a wide range of industries. As I mentioned, while I’m very focused on how digital is making an impact on the world of learning and development, I also need a wider understanding of how it’s disrupting other businesses and sectors more generally, which the programme offers.
Second, the focus on strategy really resonated – in particular, the opportunity to learn more about how to align an organisation so it can act more quickly and effectively when it comes to digital opportunities.
How did you find INSEAD's online platform?
I was most impressed. I know how hard it can be to deliver something of quality when it comes to a learning platform. It was easy to use and navigate, and the quality of the videos was excellent whether I accessed them from my tablet or my PC.
In terms of the actual content, there was a good mix of elements, including quizzes, exercises and case studies. I also felt that the order of the various elements made sense, adding up to a smooth-flowing learning journey with each component building on what had come before.
Another feature of the programme is a peer review. How was that for you?
I loved it, mainly because reviewing other people’s work makes you think more about the job you’re doing yourself and provides useful tips and insights for how you could have gone about it better.
Tell us more about the level of commitment required by the programme. Was it easy to balance studying and working?
The programme is delivered over five weeks, with each week developing on what’s gone before. Before it began, I filled out a questionnaire provided by INSEAD aimed at getting me to realistically consider and plan how much time I’d need to commit. That helped to set up a kind of “moral engagement” with the programme, which was very important.
I’d estimate I spent an hour and a half every day on the modules, and two hours a day at the weekend, which was manageable for me. However, it’s all about learning at your own pace.
Did having a learning coach help?
Yes, my coach seemed to know just the right questions to ask to ensure I kept pushing on and fulfilling my assignments. It was also useful to get the coach’s feedback on how to define realistic parameters for my Action-Learning Project (ALP) – to work out what was doable.
Perhaps most useful of all was the coach’s business experience and expertise. I found it particularly valuable to get his opinion on how best to “pitch” the ALP to stakeholders in my organisation in such a way that they would see its value and invest time in adopting it.
Tell us about the ALP you tackled. What was it about?
It focused on a real-life business challenge: how we as an organisation should be positioning ourselves in the digital learning market, looking at new entrants and how to differentiate ourselves. I’m currently working with stakeholders in my organisation to figure out how we could apply my suggested solution.
Overall, did the programme meet your expectations?
My expectations were met and exceeded. I have even been honoured to receive INSEAD certificate with distinction. The highlight for me was the focus on value capture and creation, which has helped to change the way I bring up my team when creating new offers and client solutions now I’m back at work. Using the proposed methods and tools to align the organisation and resources to execute the digital strategy is of a great help when working with the company board.
What would you tell someone interested in doing Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption?
I’d say they should go ahead! My advice would be that they try to identify a real-life business challenge that they could address as an ALP – one that they could apply as soon as they get back to work. And I’d also suggest that they do the programme with others from their company. That way, you can spur each other on, bringing in new thoughts and ideas about how to apply the learnings once you’re back at work.