Michael Wade

Michael Wade
When it comes to digital transformation, the keyword is ‘transformation’. Digital is an enabler but it is only a means to an end. The end is always some kind of business performance benefit.
Michael Wade

Professor of Innovation and Strategy Michael Wade is an expert on digital transformation. He holds the Cisco Chair in Digital Business Transformation at IMD and is Director of IMD’s Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. He has published 10 books, more than 100 case studies, and articles on topics including digital business transformation, innovation, strategy, and digital leadership. In 2021 he was elected to the Digital Shapers Hall of Fame by a consortium of Swiss business media, and recently launched the Management under the Microscope podcast, in which he unpacks business myths through conversations with academics and business executives.


Wade helps organizations with the challenges they currently face as they seek to use digital tools and technologies to drive business value. His research shows that 87% of digital transformation programs fail to meet expectations, so his work focuses on identifying the mistakes organizations make when they implement such programs and best practices in execution. What differentiates successful from less successful organizations is how good they are at integrating digital technologies into a broader organizational and cultural transformation, he says. His work also covers ways to improve innovation and creativity, leading effectively in a digital age, and the link between digitalization and ethics.


His latest book, published in October 2021, is Hacking Digital: Best Practices to Implement and Accelerate your Business Transformation, which is aimed at helping companies to solve problems related to digital transformation. Earlier in 2021, he released a book on innovation and creativity called ALIEN Thinking: How to Bring Your Breakthrough Ideas to Life. His 2016 book, Digital Vortex: How Today's Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at their Own Game, won multiple awards and was a bestseller in several languages.


Wade has also been published in leading journals including Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, the Journal of Management Information Systems, MIS Quarterly, and the Strategic Management Journal, and is a regular contributor to Fortune Magazine, Forbes, and The Conversation, providing commentary on digital business issues and trends.


At IMD, he founded and directs Leading Digital Business Transformation (LDBT), Europe’s first and largest program for executives on digital, and is Director of several other open programs, including Digital Execution (DE), Digital Transformation for Boards (DTB), and the recently launched Digital Transformation Sprint (DTS). He has also designed and directed custom programs related to digital strategy and transformation for dozens of organizations across industries, and sits on a number of corporate boards as an advisor on digitization and business model disruption.


Before joining IMD in 2010, Wade was Associate Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems in the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. As part of this role, he served as Academic Director of the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA Program and Associate Director of the International MBA Program.

Selected publications

Hacking Digital: Best Practices to Implement and Accelerate Your Business Transformation (McGraw-Hill, 2021)

ALIEN Thinking: The Unconventional Path to Breakthrough Ideas (PublicAffairs and Penguin Random House, 2021)

Overcoming the psychological hurdles to innovation (Harvard Business Review, 2021)

The building blocks of an AI strategy (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2020)

Three proactive response strategies to COVID-19 business challenges (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2020)

Orchestrating Transformation: How to Deliver Winning Performance with a Connected Approach to Change (DBT Center Press, 2019)

Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game (DBT Center Press, 2016)


Elected to the Digital Shapers Hall of Fame by Bilanz, Handelszeitung, Le Temps and Digitalswitzerland (2021)

Named one of top 10 digital thought leaders in the Digital Shapers listing of a consortium of Swiss business media (2016, 2017, and 2020)

Winner of two Axiom business book awards (2017)

Nominated for Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA Teaching Award (2009)

Nominated for Seymour Schulich MBA Teaching Excellence Award (2008)


Honors Degree in Business Administration

Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada.



Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada.



Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada. 

Leading Digital Business Transformation
For business leaders and senior managers who want to develop a strategic roadmap for digital business transformation in their organizations.
Digital Execution
For business leaders or managers who are involved in digital business transformation, and are looking to successfully develop an execution plan.
All IMD programs
Michael Wade's Publications
Hacking Digital
Focus on people and culture for digital transformation at scale
The digital vortex is accelerating, but companies don’t have a clear plan how to move forward
The Building Blocks of an AI Strategy
MITSloan Management Review
How Intelligent Is Your AI?
MITSloan Management Review
Corporate Responsibility in the Digital Era
MITSloan Management Review