Capco Institute Journal #52

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LESLIE WILLCOCKS | Professor of Work, Technology and Globalisation, London School of Economics and Political Science

By 2020, five major long-term trends had been impacting international business. This article examines how the pandemic and related economic crises seriously disrupt these trends and will produce emergent, complex patterns. It then seeks ways forward. 

Establishing the point of departure, we look at public health and economic policy interventions and future scenarios. We assess the more likely global developments that businesses will need to prepare for. We suggest that the business challenge is to take into account six discernible emerging trends, and plan for and ride these as opportunities, rather than be overwhelmed by them.



TINA BLEGIND JENSEN | Professor, Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School
MARI-KLARA STEIN | Associate Professor, Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School

Organizations are taking advantage of new technology to change the way they work in response to the increasing
complexity and unpredictability of the business environment. Simply adopting new technology is not, however, enough to ensure the success of a digital workplace design. The technology itself is just one of four key elements that are vital to designing “smart” digital workplaces. The others are the workforce, new ways of working, and leadership. All four must be considered in terms of the overarching goal the organization is aiming to achieve with its digital workplace transformation.

It is crucial to identify the current situation pertaining to each element and any changes required to bring about the desired transformation. Moreover, the four elements are not independent, but interact in various and sometimes unexpected ways; hence, successful digital workplace design must take into account the complementarities between the different elements and adapt accordingly.



NELSON PHILLIPS | Professor of Innovation and Strategy and Co-Director, Centre for Responsible Leadership, Imperial College Business School, Imperial College

The digital transformation of organizations and society has created a set of novel challenges for leaders. To succeed in this new context, ‘digital leaders’ require new competencies: new technological competencies to lead in organizations where digital technology is inextricably embedded in everyday activity; new organizational competencies to build and lead teams that can utilize new technologies as well as inspire millennial workers who have grown up in a digitally transformed world; and, finally, new ethical competencies to navigate the ethical dilemmas created by the introduction of digital technologies in their organizations. 


Developing digital leaders is, therefore, a key part of the digital transformation of any firm and a failure to develop digital leadership at all levels will limit the impact of even the best planned and executed efforts at digital transformation.



JULIE HODGES | Professor in Organizational Change and Associate Dean for MBA and DBA Programmes, Business School, Durham University

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented disruption in organizations worldwide. Financial uncertainty, unpredictable working conditions, and health concerns are building stress within the workforce, and impacting organizations’ futures. The impact of the pandemic is driving the need for change in organizations across the globe. One of the vital ways to help ensure the success of organizational transformations is to include key stakeholders, such as employees, in the change. 

This article explores the importance of engaging employees with organizational transformations, whenever feasible to do so. It considers the antecedents of engagement with organizational change and recommends some practical implications for managers and leaders.



MATTHEW LEITCH | Associate, Z/Yen Group
MICHAEL MAINELLI | Executive Chairman, Z/Yen Group

The rise and scams of cryptocurrencies have attracted much public, academic, and economic attention. While most cryptocurrencies have already failed, less attention has been given to the long-term regulation of those that might be successful, all of which purport to be “eternal” stores of value or mediums of exchange. Now is a good time to review this experience and draw lessons for regulators, investors, and promoters interested in better management of risk around alternative currencies, and cryptocurrencies in particular. 

This paper concludes that conventional risk control concerns are relevant even when a technology is novel. The typical choice of blockchain technology with proof-of-work all but guarantees that efficiency concerns are material, and that the purely digital nature of cryptocurrencies offers opportunities for regulators to insist on comparison of outcomes with simulation modeling as one basis for regulatory control.



CHRISTINA WESSELS | Formerly, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
MICHAÉLA C. SCHIPPERS | Professor of Behaviour and Performance Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

COVID-19 has proven to be a catalyst for the adoption of new ways of working. During the lockdown, numerous knowledge workers fulfilled their work obligations from home on a full-time basis. Previous research on new ways of working has demonstrated that time-spatial flexibility can have both positive and negative effects on wellbeing, performance, and work-life balance. 

As organizations are preparing for the ‘new normal’ with greater flexibility regarding where and when to work (i.e., time-spatial flexibility), we argue that it is of utmost importance to make employees’ working behavior future-proof. 

We argue that ‘time-spatial job crafting’ can be considered as a future work skill where employees reflect on specific work tasks and private demands, actively select work locations and working hours, and then potentially adapt the location of work and working hours or tasks, and private demands, to ensure that these still fit to each other. Thus, the successful utilization of time-spatial flexibility requires proactivity on the part of the employee in the form of time-spatial job crafting, a concept we review in this article.



ALEX SION | Head of New Venture Incubation, Global Consumer Bank, Citi Ventures

In times of significant technological, societal, and behavioral change such as today’s, business leaders already grappling with digital transformation may find themselves facing growth challenges rooted not merely in competition but in a fundamental lack of fit between the solutions they offer and the needs of their customers. In this case, traditional innovation efforts may not suffice, and the need may arise to rethink core business models, make riskier investments, and measure success through new and different metrics. 

By creating two parallel innovation organizations within a business – one focused on ‘product change’, and the other on ‘product-market fit change’ – and testing new solutions in-market using a ‘jobs to be done’ framework, companies can prepare themselves to address both types of change simultaneously and win in a rapidly shifting market.



CLAUDIA PEUS | SVP, Talentmanagement and Diversity, Director TUM Institute for Life Long Learning, and Professor of Research and Science Management, Technical University of Munich
ALEXANDRA HAUSER | Senior Expert Leadership and Organizational Development, Technical University of Munich

Digitization is changing the world of work at a dizzying speed and bringing about new challenges for business leaders. We argue in this article that the key attributes needed for effective leadership under these conditions are technology competence, acknowledgement of basic human needs, and a leader’s underlying values. 

We further discuss the requirements for successful virtual collaboration and teamwork and give specific recommendations. Finally, we highlight that in order to successfully cope with the demands of the digital age, leaders need to accept leadership development as a task of lifelong learning and present promising approaches in this direction.



NICK OOSTERVINK | Former Researcher, KIN Center for Digital Innovation, School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
PROF. BART VAN DEN HOOFF | Professor of Organizational Communication and Information Systems, KIN Center for Digital Innovation, School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Organizations introduce collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Facebook Workplace, to stimulate communication and collaboration across hierarchies and silos. However, many firms struggle to successfully get their workers to adopt these new technologies. The result is that both management and employees are frustrated, and neither of them become more collaborative. What are the reasons these collaboration initiatives do not always live up to their expectations and how can this be overcome? 

In this article we discuss four major dilemmas that firms need to address in order to increase the chances of their initiatives becoming a success. First, the scope: is the goal of the project a repository of best practices, or a collaborative space for (work-related) exchange of ideas? Second, design of the tool: should it match the expectation of what management envisions, or should it match (and thereby amplify) current work practices? Third, the implementation strategy: should you go for a top-down implementation with champions and KPIs, or does it make sense to “just let go” and let users play around? And fourth, project governance: should you focus on the quantitative data, or on qualitative evaluations of end-users?

Addressing these dilemmas will enhance focus, and ultimately help address the question of how to manage the
implementation and use of collaboration tools in relation to broader organizational change: do you want to ‘disrupt’ or ‘augment’ existing ways of working?



JAAP BOONSTRA | Professor of Organization Dynamics, Esade Business School

The need for change within organizations is not uncommon in a world full of technological, political, and cultural
transformations. But how can organizations effectively transform themselves in a global world and what can leaders and professionals do to effect meaningful change successfully? 

This article outlines a model that shows strategic and cultural transformation as an ongoing process. There is no single best way of changing organizations. Consequently, reasons for change are related to suitable change strategies and supportive actions for guiding the change process. Special attention is given to critical capabilities that change masters need to succeed in change as an ongoing play between actors engaged in deep change.



POORNA BHIMAVARAPU | Executive Director, Capco
DAVID K. WILLIAMS | Managing Principal, Capco

In this paper, we bring attention to the rapid shift taking place in the marketplace, with consumers, employees, and technology impacting the way financial institutions need to organize themselves and deliver their services and features by adopting modern delivery approach. We discuss the key drivers behind this shift, the core pillars of modern delivery approach, and the challenges in adopting them, and offer proven steps to successfully adopt modern delivery.



SEEN-MENG CHEW | Associate Professor of Practice in Finance, and Assistant Dean for External Engagement, CUHK Business School
FLORIAN SPIEGL | Co-founder and COO, FinFabrik

In this article, we compare the fundraising processes of initial public offerings (IPOs) and security token offerings (STOs) and explain how the STO process can be operationally more efficient and less costly using distributed ledger technology. We also highlight recent technological advancements surrounding STOs and the world of decentralized finance. We collate information about recent developments in regulation and digital exchanges to support the growth of STOs. We emphasize some important issues to tackle before STOs can be widely accepted as the new way of financing for companies. Finally, we argue that although STOs have the potential to revolutionize the security value chain, they do not have to replace IPOs completely, and the two channels can coexist to provide more opportunities for businesses.



FENG LI | Chair of Information Management and Head of Technology and Innovation Management, Business School (formerly Cass), City, University of London
CLARE AVERY | Business Development Manager, Business School (formerly Cass) and Head of Cass Consulting, City, University of London

Teams are the fundamental building blocks of modern organizations, but despite over 50 years of research and practice most organizations are still notoriously inconsistent in creating high performance teams. Traditional checklist approaches have not worked, because successful teams often display contrasting features in member composition, power structures, decision-making processes, and resource levels. Teams with identical characteristics frequently deliver vastly different results. 

Based on recent empirical evidence from 25 leading organizations across seven countries, this paper advances the notion of ‘team to market’, an emerging approach that can significantly increase the chances of organizations creating ‘dream teams’ through an outcome-driven culture, an experimental approach, and a greater level of diversity.



STEVE BLANK | Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stanford University

Is your organization full of hackathons, shark tanks, incubators, and other innovation programs, but none have changed the trajectory of your company/agency? Finding out why some innovation programs succeed, and others fail is not easy, and it took many years for Pete Newell, CEO at BMNT Inc., and I to identify the answer to this question. We now believe that we have a better understanding of how to build innovation programs that will deliver products and services, not just demos. 

In this article, we explain why an understanding of ‘Innovation Stack’ – the hierarchy of innovation efforts that have emerged in large organizations and consist of ‘individual innovation’, ‘innovation tools and activities’, ‘team-based innovation’ and ‘operational innovation’ – could help organizations build successful innovation programs.



UDO MILKAU | Digital Counsellor, European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB)

The risks associated with the use of artificial intelligence have captured the attention of research, regulation, and industry practitioners in recent years. Given that this is a vast topic in its own right, we are using the experiences of the financial services industry, in specific credit scoring, as a proxy for some of the salient features of AI from a sociotechnical perspective. 

Although it shares some of the operational risk challenges associated with other technologies, a model for decision-making reveals how the interfaces with the social context create two new types of risk: naiveté in the use of data for training AI as a statistical classifier and perceptions of the stakeholders regarding its societal implications. While the first can be – and has to be - mitigated by increased literacy within an active internal risk management, the latter requires building trust.



ROBERT ORD | Managing Principal, Capco
ALLA GANCZ | Partner, Capco
DANIELLA CHRYSOCHOU | Senior Consultant, Capco
ANA NIKOLOVA | Senior Consultant, Capco
RAYMOND TAGOE | Senior Consultant, Capco

In this paper, we look at the emerging trend towards value stream-led operating models for organizations. The benefits of value streams include a sharp focus on end-products and services that drive value for the organization, resulting in both monetary gains as well as improvements to the efficiency, morale, and status of the organization as a leading employer.

We argue that if one looks beyond the hype, there are genuine benefits to focusing on a clear ‘path to value’. We explore the key challenges to implementation and offer the key measures needed to make the abstract concepts of value streams a pragmatic reality for financial services organizations.