Expert talks: Why Telenor can make the digital transformation

“I have not seen many places with as strong human capital as at Telenor. I believe this core of talent can help Telenor make this transformation,” says Nathan Furr, professor at INSEAD

Written: Oct 2016

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nathan Furr believes. Do you?

Nathan is a professor who teaches innovation and technology strategy at INSEAD, he is a recognized expert in innovation, an entrepreneur and the author of the books The Innovator’s Method, Nail It then Scale It, and a number of articles in renown business publications.

“There are a few reasons why I’m excited about doing this with Telenor,” he says,

“Telenor has an immense opportunity. This company had made big bets before, and has a history of being able to change. Rather than being afraid, everybody is eager to see what they can do to contribute. The capability, motivation and willingness to change that I have seen in my collaboration with Telenor, tells me that if anyone can do it, Telenor can do it.”

Nathan is Director of the Strategy Execution programme designed to support Telenor’s digital transformation, by enthusing more innovative and explorative ways of working among Telenor employees. Approximately 200 leaders have attended the course on campus, while more than 1000 are attending online course, in a unique combination of face-to-face and online learning.
Interaction between participants is an important element included in the programme, both physically and online.


It’s going to take everybody to work together

“We’re all in this together,” Nathan continues, explaining why he chose to start working with Telenor leaders on the Strategy Execution Program.

“We are doing something very unusual with Telenor … we are training all top management teams together, so that everyone is exposed to the same logic and language. This creates a very fertile soil in which to lay the foundation for change and for Telenor to seize new opportunities.  I have genuinely enjoyed seeing the teams embrace a more agile way of working, looking for ways to apply the new knowledge.”

 Surprise: Not everything is going to change

In times when everyone talks about agile ways of working, it comes as a surprise to hear that we will continue to use traditional waterfall model, especially coming from a professor who teaches innovation.

“The trick is to find balance  between traditional execution-oriented  management and the way we  manage uncertainty. This requires the use of  two toolkits in parallel, traditional execution – ‘the blue’, with the exploration – ‘the red’.” However, more often than not, you need to apply a mix of both red and blue and finding the right balance will be an everlasting effort.