In this episode of The McKinsey Podcast, Kate Smaje and Rodney Zemmel—global leaders of McKinsey Digital—talk with McKinsey Global Publishing’s Lucia Rahilly about digital transformation: what it really means, how to deliver on it, and why it should remain front and center on the CEO agenda. Plus, stay tuned for Kate’s and Rodney’s quick takes on trends to watch.
After, in an Author Talks excerpt, Amy Webb, futurist and author of The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology (Hachette Book Group, February 2022), describes how synthetic biology could open the door to “bespoke children,” significantly longer life spans, and subterranean societies.
The McKinsey Podcast is cohosted by Roberta Fusaro and Lucia Rahilly.
Digital transformations are a long game
Lucia Rahilly: The phrase “digital transformation” has been part of our business lexicon for many years now. And at this juncture, most companies have, presumably, invested a relatively substantial volume of resources in digital and tech. Have leaders made any meaningful progress in reinventing themselves digitally? Or is successful digital transformation still elusive?
Rodney Zemmel: It’s become fashionable to say that many digital transformations fail, that it’s hard to get value out of them, and so on. I think that’s created an impression that digital transformation is elusive. The reality is, most big companies have undertaken a digital transformation, and most big companies get some value from that digital transformation.
The point of digital transformation isn’t to become digital. It’s actually to generate value for the business. And having a clear, integrated, top-down road map of where that value is is one of the biggest gaps between companies that get the full value and companies that get something that is just a shadow approximation of