The Undiscovered Country…


“…from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?”

– W.Shakespeare, To be or not to be (from “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”)


CEOs tell us that we are at a watershed moment. Technological advances are creating massive upheavals in traditional industries, which are converging in unexpected ways. 60 percent of CEOs we spoke to believe that the most intense competition in the future will come from outside their industry.

At the same time, new ecosystems are emerging, redefining traditional value chains and fundamentally changing how decisions are made and innovation is done. And, customer expectations around how they expect to be treated and engaged with are escalating fast.

The 818 CEOs we interviewed for the Global C-suite Study have a clear idea of what needs to happen to successfully meet these challenges.

First, they are embracing emerging economic ecosystems. 69 percent of CEOs believe their organization will play a very different role in the future in ecosystems. And CEOs surveyed from the most successful organizations – what we call torchbearers – are 41 percent more likely to engage in revenue model innovation and 70 percent more likely to strive to be first to market.


Second, they are expanding customer reach. Torchbearer CEOs are 31 percent more likely to pursue new delivery channels, 36 percent more likely to rethink customer segments, and 46 percent more likely to enter new geographic markets.

Third, they are accelerating innovation. Torchbearer CEOs are 18 percent more likely to embrace agility and 52 percent more likely to engage in experimentation. 95 percent of CEOs are actively seeking to hire new talent with necessary skills.

Torchbearer CEOs are treading a path that all organizations can follow. Far from fearing disruption and change, they embrace it and are looking to thrive in a dramatically new and radically different business environment.

To learn more on how leading CEOs are pursuing opportunities for new business models and preparing their organizations to meet today’s challenges, get the CEO perspective out now.

Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

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