Businesses don’t transform by themselves

We know digital transformation is most critical to business survival. However, research by Prophet and VINT suggests that executives are becoming increasingly aware of two crucial prerequisites to digitalization: culture and purpose.


Prophet, a company focused on business transformation, made it clear:

“Businesses don’t change. Humans change and then humans change the business.”

Prophet’s global research, The Cultural Levers of Growth in the Digital Age, reveals the specific and most fundamental actions leaders must take to drive the human aspects of organizational transformation and to catalyze business growth in the Digital Age.

“The change coming from digital is so fundamental that we have to question everything we have in the organization.” Julian Weber, Head of Retail Shell

Edgar Schein, one of the world’s foremost organizational development experts. noted, “You only begin to understand your culture when you start to change it.” This highlights one of the great challenges in all discussions about culture: where do we start? The Prophet-way (DNA, Body, Mind, and Soul) emphasizes the importance of a human-centered attitude towards digital transformation, instead of a digital-first program.


SogetiVINT, a future-recognizance group and part of SogetiLabs, produced a report named Utopia for Executives, containing interviews with thought leaders in the fields of technology, society, ethics, happiness, and wellbeing.

At first, it’s all about the technology installment and how (few) people gain from this techno bubble. Then it’s about benefits for all and societal changes. It happens after a ‘turning point’, as Carlota Perez calls it. We’re at such a turning point right now.

The report takes us on a journey of discovery. Each visionary interviewed for the report offers insight into the technology and culture shifts that organizations must respond to. How? By turning their focus from balance sheets and profit margins to having a purpose defined by a desire for the better good – of society and our planet. It identifies five shifts that will take organizations forward to this new purpose:

  • Shift 1: From laissez-fair to government intervention
  • Shift 2: From planet inequality to the planet roles in the core of business
  • Shift 3: From data inequality to friendly market conversations
  • Shift 4: From labor inequality to purpose economies that scale
  • Shift 5: From global inequality to glocal community building


We believe that digital transformation is, in fact, a composition of three separate change-processes: digitalization, business adaptation and social transformation. We know from experience: we’ve tried to transform businesses by means of digitalization and failed. Without changing the behavior and attitude of the people inside the organization, digitalization does not stand a chance while the business will need to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

Aligned with the VINT-report, the ROUNDMAP™ starts with Purpose while most if not all steps in the Customer Carousel address human drives. Technology offers opportunities, however, people need to drive the transformation (or rather the adaptation).

Picture of Edwin Korver

Edwin Korver

Architect of ROUNDMAP™ - Advancing Grandmastership of Business™ ✪ Business Model Matrix™ ✪ Polymath ✪ Generalist ✪ Systems Thinker ✪ Board Member, CEO CROSS-SILO BV

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.