Reflections from the Executive Director

Part of a Series

This Reflection is a part of the 2018 Next Generation Operations Summit Report.

To see the complete report, click here.

Dear Colleagues,

More than ever, operations and supply chain leaders are in the driver’s seat on shaping the future of business value. In today’s dynamic world, this means supply chain leaders will need new strategies for building supply chains that are robust enough to maintain stability, but also agile enough to offer choices, delight customers, and drive growth.

The backdrop for shaping the future of business value is one with a relentless pace of change. In fact, at this year’s Summit, 86% of attendees said they are facing “significant or extreme change” in their operating environment – punctuating the idea that shaping strategies will take vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.

This constant – and ever increasing – change pressures next generation operations executives and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) to continually adapt their organizations to a new value proposition and methods of producing that value. This continual adaptation presents a challenge for executives as they navigate three dimensions:

Compounding this balancing act is that increasingly – particularly in a hyper-digital world – supply chains have to reach outside their own boundaries to bring in new capabilities – essentially building a collaborative ecosystem of ideas, technologies, products, and services. These new capabilities – whether they are “home grown” or brought in from the outside – then have to be integrated into the current organization, which means executives will have to grapple with an array of governance, structural, procedural, and cultural barriers. Thus, for operations and supply chain leaders there is a valuable journey to embark upon. As you will see from the cases and insights in this report, progress is being made already, and the future is unfolding before us.

Before diving into the report, I would like to thank Accenture Strategy – as without their generous insights, resources, and support, – this important research and Summit would not have been possible. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Executive Leadership Group – their subject matter knowledge and insights on operations and supply chain innovation provided a solid foundation for this Summit and for the advancement of organizational transformation as a whole. And last but not least, thank you for investing your time and energy into this Summit and report. I’m certain it will help you shape your growth agenda.

Now, let’s get to work!


Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie
Fellow, Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard
Executive Director, Leadership for a Networked World
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.

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