The Industrialist’s Dilemma: How to Adapt to a Changing Landscape

We are moving from an industrial economy to a digital one that blends both physical and digital solutions. Can mature organizations survive in this new economy using the same systems that made them successful, or do those very systems put them at risk? In this digital transformation course, you’ll examine case studies to explore how the world’s best startups are taking on the world’s biggest companies, and how those large companies are adapting to survive. You will gain knowledge in digital transformation strategy that will help you prepare for this shifting landscape and ensure that your company isn’t overtaken by an emerging startup.

  • Identify areas of risk and opportunity in digital transformations
  • Manage the transition of mature companies from physical to digital business models
  • Identify the reasons why many companies resist change and innovation, and what you can do to overcome that resistance
  • Leverage the unique advantages available to mature organizations (systems, capital, resources, experience, and connections) to stay ahead of the competition

Course Outline

Interdependence and Modularity
Begin with an introduction to the industrialist's dilemma. Explore the roles of interdependence and modularity in an ever-changing digital world.
New, digital-enabled business models mean that many companies will have to leave legacy ecosystems behind. Discover how establishing a new ecosystem with new partners can create opportunities for success.
Cross-Boundary Disruption
Examine cross-boundary disruptors and what to consider when launching a digital platform. Analyze the impacts of software, network effects, and multi-sided transactions on an organization and how to harness the disruption to your advantage.
Increasing Returns-to-Scale
Examine the idea of increasing returns to scale as opposed to diminishing returns to scale. Learn strategies for combining the worlds of digital and physical and see how real-world companies company have leveraged this new world to compete in a new way.
Changing Business Models
Analyze examples of how companies have pivoted their business models to meet evolving customer needs. Learn how to be an organizational leader through business model tranformation.
Absorptive Capacity
Learn how to be an innovative leader by prioritizing absorptive capacity during times of incredible change and disruption.

Course Page
Online, self-paced
8.5 hours
Digital Transformation Program
Stanford School of Engineering, Graduate School of Business