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Foundations of digital strategy - 21 Apr 2023

Professor Kalle Lyytinen from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, shared his recent research on digital strategy in a research seminar at the House of Innovation.

Paper title and abstract

Foundations of digital strategy- a prolegomena

Abstract: This talk clarifies why and how digital strategy differs from industrial strategy. The difference is more significant than replacing analogue information with digital information (digitising) across industrial organization with effects on strategy. Kalle Lyytinen reviews the ontological status of digital objects and associated conditions for strategy formulation including semiotic quality of digital objects and von Neumann architecture to identify three pronged processes of embedding composing of digital strategy - a process of interlacing elements of one activity/innovation domain to that of another. The three types of embedding necessary for any digital strategy are defined: operational embedding (digital object-computer), virtual embedding (real world phenomena-digital objects) and contextual embedding (performing digital objects in social setting). Each embedding operates relatively autonomously and its conditions for success are  distinct. Each embedding constitutes a unique ‘leverage point’ for  innovation and strategy change. During strategy formulation, embedding processes interact in a dynamic ways, while industrial strategy assumes a static virtual and contextual embedding. Thereby the phases and processes that underlie digital strategy differ and follow differential logics. In digital strategy  the main points for strategy change are 1) discover product or service behavior (ideation); 2) abstract to digital objects (virtualize); 3) Implement and replicate digital objects (configure novel variations of operational/contextual embedding); and 4) deliver product and/or behavior (perform digital object involving all 3 embeddings)  form the leverage points for strategy.


About Kalle Lyytinen

Kalle Lyytinen (PhD, Computer Science, University of Jyväskylä; Dr. h.c. mult) is Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University. He is among the top five IS scholars in terms of his h-index (96) with the highest network centrality. He AIS Fellow (2004) and the LEO Award recipient (2013). He has published over 400 refereed articles and edited or written over 30 books or special issues and won several best paper awards from AoM, AIS/ICIS and other societies. He has served as SE and editor to all IS journals and several leading organization theory and innovation journals. He conducts research on digital innovation concerning its nature, dynamics and organization, complex design work, requirements in large systems, and emergence and growth of digital infrastructures.


This seminar represented an integrative and important part of the House of Innovation's strategy to build a research environment through engagement with prominent guests and their work.

This seminar was part of the Academic Seminar Series offered in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship.

House of Innovation Digitalization Strategy Technology Lunch seminar Research seminar