Digital Leadership

eCornell

eCornell

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Who should attend

  • Business leaders
  • Technology leaders, including CTOs
  • Entrepreneurs

About the course

In today’s accelerated world, data and digital technology are disrupting every industry and creating new opportunities for business transformation.

This certificate program will help you develop the digital leadership skills and mindset needed to thrive in this rapidly evolving digital landscape. You’ll start with a digital audit of your organization and then learn to identify and implement new opportunities to drive competitive advantage through innovation and technology. From there, you’ll be able to choose the focus area most relevant to you, including agile leadership, systems thinking, blockchain, or data analytics.

Ultimately, you’ll come away better prepared to lead digital transformation initiatives to success in your organization or start-up.

Preparing for Digital Transformation

All businesses rely on business model evolution through identifying and using new digital tools. In this course, you will identify the best method to choose the best ideas for digital transformation for your organization or entrepreneurial venture. You will conduct a builder audit to assess the current state of the innovation process and establish what the ideal state of building should be. After completing the builder audit, you will produce a digitization audit, where you will assess the current state of digital tools utilization in sourcing, organizational processes, customer interaction, and after-sales. This analysis will lead you to identify opportunities for digital technology use

Creating Advantage Through Entrepreneurial Thinking

Entrepreneurship has become more than just a short-term initiative, becoming an essential component of any successful organization. In this course, students will learn to identify, assess, and implement new business opportunities within established organizations to drive and maintain competitive advantage. After completing this course, students will not only be able to formulate business models and develop processes to maximize entrepreneurial abilities, but also increase the overall entrepreneurial spirit of their organizations.

Disruptive Technology Elective

Cryptocurrencies and Ledgers

Since the advent of the internet, programmers have been trying to figure out how to create a [digital] world in which people anywhere - even complete strangers - can transact directly with one another safely and efficiently. In essence, they have been trying to recreate the bedrock of civilization: an orderly system of bookkeeping that allows people to trust each other's claims about what they own, what they owe, and what they are owed. For most of the digital age, this “trust” has been facilitated by third parties such as banks, governments, or credible companies that are willing to guarantee that a transaction is valid and secure. But transactions via third parties are slow and expensive, and they cannot be verified by just anyone, which opens the door to fraud and theft.

Today, the notion of a secure and trusted third party in a digital world isn't purely mythical. And in fact, it's exactly what blockchain technology embodies in a kind of magical way. In this course, you will explore the mechanics of blockchain technology and how the blockchain acts like a trusted third party. To do this, Professor Ari Juels will design a theoretical cryptocurrency from scratch to illustrate how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make use of the blockchain to transfer value from person to person. Then, once you understand how the blockchain acts as a trusted ledger, you will practice articulating other transformative ways in which blockchains can change how commercial and interpersonal connections happen online.

Cryptography Essentials

Cryptography has been around for thousands of years and is at the heart of digital communications today. Most people rely on cryptography on a daily basis without even knowing it; most popular messaging apps use encryption to ensure the security of messaging between two people. Blockchain technology, in a similar way, relies on cryptography to protect the identity of those sending and receiving messages and ensures that all information and transactions are secure and legitimate. Thus, to really understand blockchain technology, you have to understand the core principles of cryptography.

This course will walk you through the basics of cryptography: how information has historically been disguised (encrypted) and revealed (decrypted) using mathematics. You will see how a message can be turned into a number, and how that number can be encrypted and decrypted by two complete strangers. You will practice encrypting your own message to understand the basics of what makes a good encryption scheme. Then, you will delve deeper into the specific type of cryptography used in blockchain technology -- public key cryptography - and the promises and limitations it has in carrying out the core functions of a blockchain. You will create your own theoretical gold exchange in order to more fully understand how you can send anything to anyone around the world without a middleman. Ultimately you will know exactly how information on the blockchain is secured, legitimized, and authenticated without needing a third party to verify it.

The course Cryptocurrencies and Ledgers is required to be completed prior to starting this course.

Systems Thinking Elective

Framing Complex Problems with Systems Thinking

Whether you need to tackle a complex project, communicate more effectively, rethink your organization or your job, solve world hunger, or figure out your teenager, systems thinking can help you. All of these are complex and challenging real-world problems, sometimes called wicked problems. We all confront problems, big and small, in our personal and professional lives, and most of us are searching for better ways to solve them. In this course, Professors Derek and Laura Cabrera will demonstrate how we can use systems thinking to solve everyday and wicked problems, to transform our organizations, and to increase our personal effectiveness.

At its core, systems thinking attempts to better align the way we think with how the real world works. Our thinking is based on our mental models, but these models, created from our unique perspective with its inherent biases, are usually inadequate representations of reality. The Cabreras illustrate how we can use feedback to recognize and adapt our mental models so that they better align with reality, enhancing our problem-solving capabilities.

For systems thinking to be successful, it must be adaptive. In this course, you will explore the concept of complex adaptive systems, and while these systems seem unnecessarily complicated, the Cabreras will reveal a surprising discovery. Underlying all complex adaptive systems are simple rules, and applying these rules is the key to transforming the way we frame and solve everyday problems.

Becoming a Systems Leader

For organizations to succeed, they need to develop individuals who are constantly learning and adapting according to information on the ground. Sharing key mental models—at the organizational, team, and individual levels—is critical to creating a culture of learning that enables the organization to survive and thrive through chaos and complexity.

In this course, Professors Derek and Laura Cabrera demonstrate how to become a systems leader; that is, someone who can use systems thinking at the organizational level, at the team level, and at the individual level. You will create a culture for your organization that is built on shared mental models and develop techniques to incentivize thought leaders to support the culture based on your vision, mission, capacity, and learning. At the team level, where the real work of the organization gets done, you will explore the process of building, sharing and evolving mental models through collaborative mapping and feedback processes. And finally, you will turn your own thinking into doing, to ensure that your actions are aligned with key organizational mental models. With tools, techniques, and expert guidance, you can begin to implement systems thinking at all levels of the organization, creating teams and individuals upon which organizational culture, values, and success are built.

Leading Through Disruption Elective

Leading in a VUCA World

VUCA is an acronym that stands for “volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.” Learn from General George W. Casey, Jr. how leaders understand and counteract the impacts of the VUCA world to lead more effectively today. In this course, you will gain insights into how you can identify and reduce the impact of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in your workplace, elevating your opportunity to succeed. You will match your strengths and weaknesses with the leadership characteristics essential in today's VUCA world to formulate an action plan to guide you in improving your leadership skills. Finally, you will develop skills to improve your vision, courage, and character, ultimately preparing you to lead in a VUCA world.

Developing and Communicating Vision and Strategy

Organizations that instill a clear vision and an effective business strategy at all levels are far more likely to succeed in our increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. But before you can effectively define and impart your vision and business strategy to your organization, you must analyze and have a comprehensive understanding of the various facets of your operating environment. In this course, you will explore effective ways to achieve these goals with General George W. Casey, Jr. You will objectively assess the three critical dimensions of your operating environment (internal, external, and competitive) using the VUCA index so you can identify potential vulnerabilities and opportunities for your organization. You will then identify the characteristics of an effective vision statement and outline a clear vision for your organization. Finally, you will outline a plan to instill your vision and business strategy in your organization.

Analytics Elective

Visualizing and Communicating Insights In Excel

When your audience can quickly and efficiently understand what the data is telling them without having to scour every row and column, they can gain insights from your analysis more efficiently. In this course, you will apply the power of Excel pivot tables to see your data from multiple perspectives, use data visualization techniques that effectively communicate your analysis to your audience, create charts that quickly and clearly visualize your analysis, and apply the principles of graphical integrity to your charts.

Making Predictions and Forecasts with Data

In order to execute the most informed business analyses, we need the right tools for making predictions from data. Excel provides powerful predictive analytic tools that let the user forecast trends and make predictions with historical data.

In this course, you will conduct financial analyses by comparing loan scenarios using financial functions, identifying what values are needed to achieve a desired result, and quickly identifying how changes in your data will impact outcomes. You will leave this course with the ability to leverage reliable historical data to generate simulations and make predictions.

KEY COURSE TAKEAWAYS

  • Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in how you approach new business opportunities within an organization
  • Explain what the classic problem in cryptography is and how cryptographic keys relate to blockchains
  • Examine the design of a cryptocurrency to understand the function of blockchains
  • Identify the impact and antidotes for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity
  • Conduct a builder audit to assess product ideation in your organization
  • Devise more effective approaches to managing complex systems, situations, processes, and problems
  • Leverage Excel’s business analytics and modeling capabilities
  • Make analytical predictions and forecasts using your formatted data sets

WHAT YOU'LL EARN

  • Digital Leadership Certificate from Cornell Tech
  • 40 Professional Development Hours (4 CEUs)

Experts

George Casey

Biography General George W. Casey, Jr., enjoyed a 41-year career in the US Army following his graduation from Georgetown University''s School of Foreign Service in 1970. He is an accomplished soldier and an authority on strategic leadership. As the Army Chief of Staff, he led one of the nation''s...

Mukti Khaire

Mukti Khaire is the Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice at Cornell Tech. Her research and teaching focuses on entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on entrepreneurship in the creative industries such as art, fashion, and publishing. Her book on the topic, Culture and Commerce: The V...

Karan Girotra

Karan Girotra is an Associate Professor of Technology and Operations Management and the Paul Dubrule Chaired Professor of Sustainable Development at INSEAD. He is the author of the bestseller the "Risk-Driven Business Model". Karan’s research examines how new business models are disrupting centur...

Ari Juels

Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and Computer Science Ari Juels is a professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, a Computer Science faculty member at Cornell University, and Co-Director of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts ...

Rafael Pass

Rafael Pass is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University and Cornell Tech. He obtained his bachelor’s in Engineering Physics and a master’s in Computer Science, both from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachus...

Donna Haeger

Donna L. Haeger is a Professor of Practice in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. She teaches introductory and advanced spreadsheet-modeling courses for applied decision-making. These courses leverage Microsoft Excel as a business analytics tool....

Derek Cabrera

Derek Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is a systems scientist, inventor, and social entrepreneur and is internationally known for his work in systems thinking, systems leadership, and systems modeling. He is currently visiting faculty at Cornell University where he teaches systems thinking and organization...

Laura Cabrera

Laura Cabrera (BS, MPA, PhD, Cornell) currently teaches Systems Thinking and Modeling and Organizational Design, Change and Leadership at the Institute for Policy Affairs. She is co-founder and Chief Research Officer at Cabrera Research Lab. Dr. Cabrera is also the Co-principal Investigator and ...

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Digital Leadership at eCornell

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