The Human Touch: Unlocking Successful Digital Business Development, Innovation and Transformation

Rowdy Bijland | February 29, 2024 |

The Human Touch: Unlocking Successful Digital Business Development, Innovation and Transformation

In the fast-paced world of digital business development, innovation and transformation, where technology reigns supreme, it's easy to overlook the most critical component of any successful endeavour: people. From leadership to employees, customers, and partners, it's the human factor that ultimately determines the success or failure of digital business initiatives. Let's explore why putting people at the forefront is the secret to unlocking successful digital business transformation, with examples illustrating its importance across various stakeholders.

Leadership: Setting the Vision and Culture

Leadership sets the tone for any digital business development journey. Visionary leaders understand that successful digital business development and transformation goes beyond implementing new technologies - it's about fostering a culture of innovation, agility, and customer-centricity. Take the example of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Under his leadership, Microsoft shifted its focus from products to platforms and embraced a growth mindset, driving significant cultural and strategic changes that propelled the company to new heights in the digital era.

Effective leaders inspire and empower their teams to embrace change, experiment with new ideas, and continuously learn and adapt. By articulating a compelling vision and leading by example, they create an environment where innovation thrives, and employees are motivated to drive the transformation forward.

Employees: Empowering Agents of Change

At the heart of any successful digital business development are the employees who drive innovation and execute strategies on the ground. Empowering employees involves more than just providing them with the latest tools and technologies - it's about fostering a culture of trust, autonomy, and continuous learning.

Google is a prime example of a company that prioritizes employee empowerment and innovation. Through initiatives like "20% time," where employees are encouraged to dedicate a portion of their workweek to pursue passion projects, Google has cultivated a culture of creativity and experimentation. This approach has led to groundbreaking innovations like Gmail and Google Maps, demonstrating the power of empowering employees to think outside the box and drive change.

Customers: Putting Their Needs First

In the digital age, customer expectations are higher than ever before. Successful digital business development requires organizations to adopt a customer-centric approach, leveraging technology to deliver seamless and personalized experiences across all touchpoints.

Amazon is a shining example of a company that puts its customers at the center of everything it does. Through its relentless focus on innovation and obsession with customer satisfaction, Amazon has transformed the retail landscape and set new standards for customer experience. By leveraging data and technology to anticipate customer needs and preferences, Amazon has created a virtuous cycle of innovation and customer loyalty that continues to fuel its growth.

Business Partners: Collaborating for Success

In today's interconnected world, collaboration with external partners is essential for driving innovation and delivering holistic solutions. By cultivating strategic partnerships with suppliers, vendors, startups, and industry peers, organizations can access specialized expertise, complement internal capabilities, and accelerate time-to-market for innovative products and services.

An example of successful ecosystem collaboration is the partnership between Apple and Nike. By combining Apple's expertise in technology with Nike's domain knowledge in fitness and apparel, the two companies collaborated to create the Nike+ running platform, revolutionizing the way people track and improve their fitness goals. This collaboration demonstrates how leveraging each other's strengths can lead to innovative solutions that benefit both parties and their customers.

It’s all about the People

Successful digital business development, innovation and transformation is not just about technology - it's about people. Leadership sets the vision and culture, employees drive execution, customers define success, and business partners catalyze innovation. By prioritizing the human element and fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and customer-centricity, organizations can navigate the complexities of digital business development, innovation and transformation and unlock sustainable growth and competitive advantage in the digital age. Ultimately, the secret to successful digital business development, innovation and transformation lies in recognizing that it's all about the people.

About Rowdy Bijland

Rowdy is a strategic and creative thinker. He acts as a digital business partner with the mission to support leaders, their teams and organizations, to drive digital business strategy, innovation and transformation, with the aim to maximize potential and to contribute to the creation of sustainable value and meaningful impact. Recently, he released his first publication “Digital Disruption: A leader’s Guide for Business Development in the Digital Age” which is available at Furthermore, Rowdy provides 1:1 digital business coaching for leaders worldwide. He is also moderator and keynote speaker for companies and organizations.

To connect with Rowdy please follow him on Linkedin or send him an e-mail at