Interview with Mark Esposito

Harvard Professor and Global Thought Leader

Professor Mark Esposito visited CBS Executive Fonden in connection with his key note at the Executive Tech Academy in September 2022. We invited him for a separate talk about his view on strategy, tech, and educational perspectives.

What is your definition of strategy?
My definition of strategy is a combination between synthesis, the idea that we fundamentally are going to understand what is the best possible avenue of action when we understand the specific problem. But it’s also foresight the idea that we would like to engage more into the study of the future and in which way the future will likely unfold.

I think there is a conversation about the anticipation of the future, a conversation about in which way the future likely will generate new trends. I know that in some of the programs that we are working with here at the school, I spend time bringing this perspective about future trends and I can see that that is like a strategy opportunity to engage participants, but in general stakeholders in the conversation of strategy. So I see this as a blend between the ability to understand the right condition for execution, but also the foresight of what is happening moving forward and more and more today than I think in any point in time in the last 40 years or so, strategy requires a serious engagement towards the future, because before it was considered marginal side of the spectrum. Today I see this becoming more and more mainstream. Many organizations as well are converting their strategy departments into trends spotting and foresight units.

Where do you think the future of education is going?
When we ask ourselves the question on the future of education, I think there are a number of trends that I have been observing in the last few years. The first is education and knowledge might not exactly mean the same anymore. There was a time where getting knowledge was going to school and today knowledge is no longer just belonging to schools. We have multiple sources of knowledge that we are using on social media, on different channels, on platforms. Just an example. There are now courses that are offered by technology companies that we can enroll and take and or integrate into existing curricula.

So I think there is a side to the question about future education, there will be much more open and knowledge as an idea of 2.0 rather than knowledge only belonging to schools.

The other important link between education and career is, I think, it was clear before that education was building employability. Today we know that having a degree by itself is not a guarantee but is still a requirement for us to think thoroughly about the foundations and then looking at specialization to narrows down into some areas that we want to eventually work on. What is different from before is that the level of depth in the past was quite significant. You will become, for example, a specialized field today that is not as deep. It’s more about transversal, moving from one job to the other with more specialization.

So I can give you a quick example. We can have people moving into a training on data and then suddenly taking more of a data analytics training and then after a few months decided to go into, for example, data visualization and later on having an initial course on coding. That’s an example of a journey that before would not have really happened with the same level of transversal distribution, but now we’re shifting the career by how the market is equally evolving. So we’ve been hearing this several times. Lifelong learning is becoming a big conversation that will likely be learning for a lifetime for us in making sure that we can take multiple courses that will specialize us. The degrees will be our how we start it. It will not be how we end it. And I see this becoming more visible in the career trends.

Read the full interview here.


Mark Esposito is also a part of the faculty behind our Executive Tech Academy, which is developed in collaboration with Microsoft. Tech insigths for senior decision-makers and business leaders striving to accelerate digital transformation and support fact-based tech investments within the organization.

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