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AppDirect Research Discovers Traits Needed to Lead Digital Change

November 9, 2021

New report co-developed with Boston College professor and author Dr. Gerald C. Kane analyzes characteristics of "digital heroes."

SAN FRANCISCO – November 9th, 2021 – AppDirect®, the leading subscription commerce platform company, today released a new report that reveals the characteristics that enable individuals to drive organizational change in increasingly complex, high-stakes digital environments. Titled “The Digital Hero Mindset: The Traits People Need to Innovate in a Technology-Driven World," the report outlines four broad traits—vision, passion, curiosity, and tenacity—that define "digital heroes," people who are successful in leading digital change initiatives. Moreover, the research details how these traits influence each other to create flywheels that are critical to driving innovation, as well as practical steps leaders can take to find and support digital heroes within their organizations.

The “Digital Hero Mindset” report was co-developed by AppDirect and Dr. Gerald C. Kane, a professor of information systems in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Dr. Kane is also the co-author of several books about digital transformation, including "The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization Through Uncertain Times," recently published by the MIT Press.

The new "Digital Hero Mindset" report includes a qualitative analysis of 35 interviews with individuals across a range of organizations and seniority levels. Notable participants include Patrick Pichette, Chairman of the Board at Twitter; Kathleen Taylor, Chair of Royal Bank of Canada; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square; and Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup" and CEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange; among many others.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • The digital transformation process can be challenging to start, but it can generate considerable momentum and a powerful flywheel effect once it does
  • Effective digital heroes are able to communicate a vision for change both top-down and bottom-up, sparking two-way transformation that reinforces itself
  • Digital heroes must be curious, but they also must have selective focus to yield maximum impact
  • Successful digital heroes do not champion digital transformation simply because of the availability of new tools
  • To cultivate digital heroes, organizations must become risk tolerant and encourage trial and error

"Leaders who can drive effective digital transformation have become a key differentiator between companies that succeed in today's market and those that don't. Given this, finding and cultivating digital heroes is quickly becoming a business imperative," said Daniel Saks, co-founder and co-CEO of AppDirect. "We are incredibly proud to develop this analytical look at what makes a digital hero and how organizations of all types can support ongoing innovation that will change the world."

Click here to download the full report.

About AppDirect

AppDirect offers a subscription commerce platform that removes the complexity of building a recurring business model. Sell any product, through any channel, on any device—as a service. Our platform opens up endless opportunities for commerce innovation, giving businesses the freedom to grow. We power millions of subscriptions worldwide for organizations like Jaguar Land Rover, Comcast, Sage, Keller Williams, ADP, and Deutsche Telekom.

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