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November 18, 2016
Innovation and digital transformation at Davos
By: Larissa Cantanho, recent INSEAD MBA graduate who attended the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) as part of her Accenture Strategy internship

After growing up in Silicon Valley and working with large tech companies, I wanted to take my career even further. Everything pointed me in the direction of pursuing an MBA at INSEAD.

With this came the unique opportunity to participate in an internship placement at Accenture Strategy, where I would be working on a project to be presented at the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Getting the chance to work on this prestigious project with the Accenture Strategy team and actually attend the forum was an amazing opportunity, and a fascinating experience.

It was a real honor to be able to exchange ideas with world business leaders in this kind of environment. Digital transformation and the need for innovation were the topics on everyone’s minds at Davos. They raised some important business questions, such as: How is technology going to impact society, enterprise and the world at large?

The road to Davos

We asked a lot of open-ended questions throughout the research process for the Accenture Strategy report. My segment of the project, digital enterprise, focused on new business models, innovative operating models, KPIs to track the success of the digital enterprise and the evolution and application of digital talent within the workforce.

We were tasked with thinking of different models that large companies could employ in order to innovate internally. We looked at a lot of different models, such as innovation through acquisition and crowdsourcing, which are really impacting how companies are updating their business plans today.

The work was challenging, engaging and intellectually stimulating. Not only did I really enjoy answering such complex questions, but I also enjoyed the chance to structure these answers. We processed our findings to make them easy for the audience to digest, including the attendees of the forum itself (world leaders, politicians, economists and heads of the world’s biggest companies and NGOs).

Digital transformation

It’s one of the most important questions facing large corporations right now: How do we work with the digitally transforming workspace and incorporate digital talent as well? The whole way we look at work is changing and will continue to change exponentially with time.

As the world becomes more and more digital, one of the challenges we face is how to incorporate a workforce that is ready to work with automation. We need to figure out a way to maximize return for the companies as well as for the communities in their respective ecosystems.

What does this mean for large companies?

It’s not just tech startups thinking about digital innovation. It’s astounding to see the pace at which larger organizations and Fortune 500s are talking about, and embracing, innovation and technology. They’re discussing ways to make changes and stay ahead of the game.

This hasn’t been so apparent in the past. Before, big companies were challenging the status quo but not necessarily looking to be leaders in innovation. It was a difficult process to implement significant changes.

Now, these larger companies are very much aware that there will be exponential changes to the way they work in the future. They’re asking how they can be ahead of the game as those technology-driven changes come into play. All companies are searching for avenues to drive the most value from those opportunities.

The future is now

The time is right to innovate, to make changes and to have an impact. My choice to go down the path of entrepreneurship has been heavily influenced by my unforgettable experiences at Davos and during my internship with Accenture Strategy, and the issues raised by the people I met.

Working with Accenture on this project, I’ve realized that innovation doesn’t happen by accident. It’s got to be structured, well thought-out and efficient. All of the themes that we worked on for this project are really important to me as I move forward and launch a new venture in the technology space.

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