Digital Disruption in the Board Room – in partnership with The Chairman’s Network

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Digital Disruption in the Board Room – in partnership with The Chairman’s Network

On Thursday 13th September Christine de Largy, Chair of Harvey Nash Board Services, in partnership with Caroline Hayward of the Chairman’s Network and content expert Kevin Flynn of ThoughtWorks hosted a roundtable discussion focused on how Digital Disruption is being managed in the board room, a topic raised by our annual Board Research Report. The discussion centred around; the implication for legacy organisations; the drivers of digital change; and a lack of digital literacy in our boardrooms.

  1. Transitioning a legacy organisation to meet the challenges raised by technology is incredibly difficult, many have already faltered when faced with disruption in their sector. This is at least in part due to the need for short-term gains in order to appease investors coupled with the inability of legacy organisations to quickly adapt to new opportunities, financially write off existing systems and process. This creates an environment in legacy organisations that inhibits technological progression.


  1. Digital change has affected every business and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. How is this change best facilitated? Leaders have a duty to foresee changes and adapt the business accordingly. This may mean investing in new technology and embracing ideas that disrupters have introduced, guiding the organisation to see the benefits that technology will bring. It is also the case that change may be macro but increasingly it is seen at a micro level in the day to day and throughout the business. Using Skype in meetings, Slack to communicate internally, Facetime to enhance diagnostics and inform better decision making. These everyday uses perhaps have a greater effect upon employees, customers and the business as a whole more than driven technology directives from the top down. Although, as the wave of tech start-ups have shown us, it is leaderships duty to invest in technologically literate talent and provide them with the support and freedom to innovate and utilise tech on a micro level.


  1. It is the role of Board members to be well-informed of their business and speak with authority about their businesses. However, this can pose a potential issue when it comes to technology with a vast number of board members struggling to embrace technology To combat this leaders and chairs need to be more humble and accept they cannot know everything but be able to ask the right questions and listen to the different perspectives. And show a willingness to embrace new technology themselves to ensure their businesses gains the competitive advantage and business efficiencies that digital offers.


Today technology is in everything we do and it is true to say that the vast majority of businesses are now tech businesses, through the changes to the way employees operate in offices, factories warehouses throughout the country to the way companies interact with customers and clients the pace of change is rapid. In order to succeed boards need to embrace a ‘here to learn’ attitude integrating technology through every facet of their business.


About Harvey Nash’s Board Practice

Harvey Nash’s Board Practice helps some the world’s most forward-thinking companies attract, assess and develop their board. The global team members are experts at building rich, diverse teams and look beyond the norm to find the exceptional. The Practice provides two key service offerings: evaluation – reviewing the effectiveness of existing boards; and recruitment – finding exceptional talent to add strength to the boardroom team.

The Board Practice is part of Harvey Nash Group a $1bn global professional recruitment company with over 4,000 professionals in more than 40 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia.

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About Impact Executives Ltd

Impact Executives is a leading interim management provider to organisations of every size in the UK and globally. Originally formed as a specialist practice within PA Consulting Group, over the past 25 years Impact Executives has helped over 2000 companies, including more than two-thirds of the FTSE 250 – find the very best executive interim management talent. Clients choose to work in partnership with Impact Executives because of our proven ability to offer clients immediate solutions to improve their organisation’s performance.

With offices covering the UK, continental Europe, Nordics, Asia Pacific and Australia, Impact Executives is part of the global services consultancy Harvey Nash Group plc, giving clients and interim managers the confidence that we have the resources, expertise and focus to deliver results – fast.

For further information on Impact Executives, please contact Christine de Largy, Impact Executives, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7314 2011 Email:

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