The Digital Mindset: What It Really Takes to Thrive in the Age of Data, Algorithms, and AI

Learn what it really takes to thrive in the Age of Data, Algorithms, and AI.

The pressure to “be digital” has never been greater.

To thrive in a world driven by data and powered by algorithms, we must learn to see, think, and act in new ways. We need to develop a digital mindset.

The pressure to “be digital” has never been greater.
The digital revolution is here. It’s changing how work gets done, how industries are structured, and how people from all walks of life work, behave, and relate to each other. To thrive in a world driven by data and powered by algorithms, we must learn to see, think, and act in new ways. We need to develop a digital mindset.
But what does that mean? Some fear it means that in the near future we will all need to become technologists who master the intricacies of coding, algorithms, AI, machine learning, robotics, and who-knows-what’s-next.
This book introduces three approaches—Collaboration, Computation, and Change—that you need for a digital mindset and the perspectives and actions within each approach that will enable you to develop the digital skills you need.
With a digital mindset, you can ask the right questions, make smart decisions, and appreciate new possibilities for a digital future. Leaders who adopt these approaches will be able to develop their organization’s talent to prepare their company for successful and continued digital transformation.
Award-winning researchers and professors Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neeley will show you how, and let you in on a surprising and welcome secret: developing a digital mindset isn’t as hard as we think. Most people can become digitally savvy if they follow the “30% rule”—the minimum threshold that gives us just enough digital literacy to understand and take advantage of the digital threads woven into the fabric of our world.


Today, when every company has to be a tech company, developing a strong “digital mindset” may be the single most important step toward achieving your future success. “The Digital Mindset” is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to become a better leader, future-proof their career, or simply gain a better understanding of the present and future of business.

Mickey Mikitani

Chairman & CEO, Rakuten Group

If you’re worried that algorithms will replace our judgment, big data will make our little knowledge obsolete, or robots will steal our jobs, this book is for you. Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neeley are leading experts on how technology is transforming work, and they offer the practical insights you need to understand the next wave of digital change—and ride it smoothly.

Adam Grant

#1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

We’ve all heard it a million times: You need to be more digital. Finally, here’s a book that explains what that really means. A book that ascribes real meaning to the buzzword. With clarity and a surprising level of detail, Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neeley prepare you for the digital future by developing your digital mindset.

Shellye Archambeau

Author of Unapologetically Ambitious

Digital transformation doesn’t stop with good strategy. It starts there. The Digital Mindset provides critical and actionable insights that make it possible for everyone – from the exec team to individual contributors – to help their company succeed in the digital era. Today’s CEOs must make sure their entire workforce has a digital mindset. This book is the place to start.

Jeff Henley

Executive Vice Chairman of the Board, Oracle

If we continue to consider the digital age as a purely technological revolution, we will miss the most significant economic, political and behavioral disruption of our societies since the Industrial Revolution. This is exactly what The Digital Mindset offers: the 360-degree understanding necessary to seize this moment.

Elie Girard

former Atos CEO

This breakthrough book is the ideal guide to enable you to operate or lead with a digital mindset. Down-to-earth and practical, it makes digital transformation available to anyone committed to learning new ways of thinking about the 3 C’s of collaboration, computation and change in order to solve complex systems problems. Most importantly, you don’t need to be a computer guru to transform your organization using these principles.

Bill George

Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North

Leonardi and Neeley have produced the indispensable, foundational playbook for leaders looking to thrive in the digital age. In The Digital Mindset, they have managed to effectively combine a crisp review of key concepts and practical advice on how to put them to work.

Hubert Joly

former Best Buy Chairman and CEO, Harvard Business School senior lecturer – Author of the Heart of Business

About the Authors

Tsedal Neeley

Tsedal Neeley (@tsedal) is the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Research Strategy at the Harvard Business School.

Recognized as one of the 100 people transforming business who are innovating, sparking trends, and tackling global challenges by Business Insider, her work focuses on how leaders can scale their organizations by developing and implementing global and digital strategies. She regularly advises top leaders who are embarking on virtual work and large scale-change that involves global expansion, digital transformation, and becoming more agile.

Tsedal received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering, specializing in Work, Technology and Organizations. Tsedal was named as the Top Thinkers in the World by for making lasting contributions to management, honored as a Stanford Distinguished Alumnus Scholar and was a Stanford University School of Engineering Lieberman award recipient for excellence in teaching and research. She serves on the Board of Directors of Brightcove, Brown Capital Management, Harvard Business Publishing and the Partnership Inc.

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Paul Leonardi

Paul Leonardi is the Duca Family Professor of Technology Management at University of California Santa Barbara. He is an expert on digital transformation and organizational change.

He advises senior leaders on how to organize their workforces to compete with data, analytics, and new technologies and consults with companies such as Microsoft, General Motors, and Discover about using digital tools to enhance internal knowledge-sharing, how to structure global product-development operations, and how to manage the human aspects of new-technology implementation. He is also a regular keynote speaker for corporate trainings and user conferences on digital transformation, innovation, and change.

An award-winning researcher and teacher, Leonardi is the author of two books on technological innovation and organizational change, Car Crashes without Cars and Technology Choices, and he is the editor of two volumes on technology and expertise. His work has been published in top journals and featured in news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Financial Times. Leonardi earned his doctorate from Stanford University.

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