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Past Programmes

8 CPD points HRDF Claimable

Digital Upskilling for Boards

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Digitalisation is the hottest topic in town – but companies are now having to look into not just ’why’, but ‘how’ and ‘what’ to do next.

The ‘disruption’ caused by digital technology is one of the biggest threats facing companies today. The reason for this is often straightforward. Many companies simply aren’t prepared for the new demands of the digital transformation. And even if a company understands the technologies, they are often surprised by its new and disruptive applications. Or, they don’t foresee the changing demands of the market/consumers or take the new market entrants seriously. For some, they simply don’t see the new opportunities of the digital age.

Most boards feel outmatched by the ferocity of changing technology, emerging risks and up and coming competitors. So, what can and should companies do in response to this new operating environment? For a start, they need to adjust the mindset – the corporate culture. Also, they need to understand the implications of the digital transformation for existing business models. The change in mindset (by making it more appropriate for the digital age) has to start at the top. Recent research shows that companies with a digitally savvy board perform better.

Boards must move beyond an arms-length relationship with digital issues. Digitalisation is not to be treated as another mega trend in the ritual annual strategy but as an integral component of the overall corporate strategy. With better knowledge of the technology landscape, directors can understand its potential impact on different parts of the business and its value chain and how digitalisation can undermine existing strategies and stimulate the need for new ones.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a digitally savvy board strategy
  • Identify various issues and concerns in a social media environment and an IoT environment
  • Understand the impact of artificial intelligence on board dynamics
  • Develop a positive attitude towards digital change
  • Analyse ‘your’ business to discover which digital strategies can benefit your company


ICDM Faculty Member, A Senior Legal Counsel, an Innovation Advisor, a Board/ Advisory Member of several organisations and a Professor in various universities The Netherlands

Erik P.M. Vermeulen is a Senior Legal Counsel at Signify (f.k.a Philips Lighting), an Innovation Advisor at a law firm in the Hague and a board/advisory member of several organisations, including a healthcare provider in The Netherlands and several startups. He is also a Professor of Business and Financial Law at Tilburg University and teaches international business law regularly at universities in Europe, the United States, Colombia and Japan and has appeared at numerous conferences as a featured or keynote speaker. Erik is also a co-owner of a Michelin star restaurant.

The combination of ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ has proven to be very successful. His role as a practitioner has provided a lot of input for his research on the life cycle of companies as well as corporate governance and culture. The main lesson learned is that stakeholder engagement is crucial to the success of companies around the world.

Erik can best be described as an innovator and has a blog where he shares insights and ideas about how the digital world is changing the way we live, work and learn. He has a particular interest in how artificial intelligence, sensors, data analytics and blockchain are amplifying and accelerating each other, thereby creating new opportunities across all areas of the economy and society.

Erik’s thought-provoking and innovative views on business, leadership, governance, regulation and education have attracted international attention. He regularly serves as an expert advisor to international organisations, such as the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, the World Bank, and national and local governments around the world.

Download the publication at the right sidebar to read more.

Monday| 5 August 2019
8.30am – 9.00am Registration
9.00am – 10.30am Session 1:
The ‘Why’ of Digital Upskilling
10.30am – 11.00am Networking Break
11.00am – 12.30pm Session 2:
The ‘How’ of Digital Upskilling
The Internet of Things, Blockchain and Smart Contracts – A Business Case
12.30pm – 1.30pm Networking Lunch
1.30pm – 3.00pm Session 2:
The ‘How’ of Digital Upskilling
Artificial Intelligence
3.00pm – 3.30pm Networking Break
3.30pm – 4.30pm Session 3:
The ‘What’ of Digital Upskilling
4.50pm – 5.00pm And Now What?

ICDM reserves the right to amend the programme in the best interest of the event and will not be responsible for cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances.