On leading the HBS Digital Initiative

When I look back on the decisions and turning points in my career, I know this role at this time is exactly where I should be. I like change, exploring, making order out of chaos, and creating a little chaos to drive change. I’ve always looked for new ways of doing things, especially if it involves buttons, flashing lights, and running code. A trip to NYC recently reminded me of one early encounter with technology, when as a kid I was fascinated by the lights and sounds of a Broadway show.

Technical theater as a hobby led to an engineering degree, audio and digital media system design, becoming a stay-at-home dad/MBA student, and then enterprise software, e-commerce, a little entrepreneurship, and now HBS. My professional experiences have been defined by combining the forces of technology and business within the important context of people and team dynamics. Throughout my career, technology has evolved from an independent business department from which we must build bridges, to an underlying foundation for how organizations and societies function. That is where you and I as members of the Digital Initiative community begin our work.

Through your demonstrated interest you have accepted the challenge of shaping our digital future. We seek to explore where digitization can take us, to recognize the urgent need for digital literacy — that is, a minimum credible knowledge of technology among all users — and to promote sustained awareness of true customer needs by tech creators. The Digital Initiative is the forum for engagement and exchange of ideas, exploring together new and astonishing ways in which businesses leverage technology, and technology reshapes business. Informed participation, varied perspectives, and deep knowledge will define this endeavor. Mark your own personal starting point by sharing an aspect of this transformation you are most passionate about in the Responses section below. I look forward to your input and our collective progress on this extraordinary journey.