Today’s modern digital transformation is already changing the nature of the traditional enterprise model, augmenting the structure with AI-driven business plans and new digital-focused, c-suite positions like the Chief Digital Officer. When you add the digital-first mindset of Gen Z to the equation, and the fact that this generation will soon dominate the digital economy, it becomes crystal clear that the Chief Digital Officer role was made for Gen Z to champion.
Before I dive into why Gen Z will serve as the main enterprise driver of this role, I first want to elaborate upon what it means to be a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). This new c-suite position was born out of the collective, global enterprise desire to go digital, uptake AI in every facet, and undergo reinvention of the firm’s structure to comply with the new digital standard that is being catalyzed by our economic situation. Moreover, according to McKinsey, the CDO or “Transformer in Chief,” is charged with “coordinating and managing comprehensive changes that address everything from updating how a company works to building out entirely new businesses. And he or she must make progress quickly.” In other words, the goal of the CDO is to lead the digital transformation of the enterprise and ensure that the firm is set up to thrive in the new digital economy. If this sounds like a Gen Z ambition, it’s because it actually is.
Digitalization is something that Gen Z highly cares for, as we are incredibly passionate about the human-centric approach as well as personalization, which can be achieved through digital transformation and the AI-driven society. We are also pioneering in social impact, with the vast majority of Gen Z-ers stating that it is important for them to work at a company that desires to make a positive and lasting mark on the world. In fact, According to Sustainable Brands, “While Gen Zers feel personally responsible to make a difference and 76% believe we will have made headway on important issues in five years’ time, 90% also believe companies must drive action on social and environmental issues.” Certainly, the role of the CDO will help bring about positive transformation in the workplace setting, which will directly impact the economy and society, therefore fulfilling the mission of Gen Z.
When I asked some of my Gen Z peers about the CDO role, I was told the following:
“I have never heard of this position before but knowing that it already exists, and that I want to be involved as an executive at a company one day, CDO would be my first pick. I’m very purpose-driven and I believe change is a good thing and we need it, so being a CDO would fulfill that for me.”
“The CDO role gets me excited about our future of work. So much is changing because everything is going digital, and because of that, if your company doesn’t change itself to reflect this digitalization with AI and what not, then you’re just going to fail. So we need this CDO position now more than ever before.”
To conclude, the nature of the CDO position and its mission of impact-driven transformation establishes it as the perfect executive role that Gen Z will champion.