Digitally Empowered Enterprise Lab


Digital technologies are changing many aspects of our life and society at a staggering, even overwhelming, rate. Questions about digital technologies are complex as they involve many stakeholders. Reliable insights into the implications of digital transformation are hard to come by amidst a tidal wave of information.

There is a wide range of expertise in digital technology and its applications at Oxford Saïd and the wider University. At Oxford Saïd, this expertise leverages our capacity in operations, strategy, finance, leadership, analytics, marketing and innovation, and provides an integrated approach to digital advances. The lab, led by Matthias Holweg, Professor or Operations Management, acts as convenor between academia and the world of practice and policy. 

The lab is an honest broker to inform business and non-commercial ventures how to understand and take advantage of these new technologies. Our faculty and the wider team integrate research into digital technologies at Oxford Saïd and the wider University with opportunities for and impacts on business.

The lab is a platform for those who are interested in engaging in an informed discussion on how advances in digital technologies are changing commerce. We offer expert research and teaching, along with opportunities for informal, informed discussion about these frontiers, and practical action and implementation.

  • Matthias Holweg


We are excited by the many new technologies that are providing firms with ample opportunity to improve current products and processes and to radically rethink and disrupt existing business models. 

Whether 3D printing, blockchain technology or the internet of things or machine learning tools, it is clear that these changes affect all industries and sectors. We cannot say now whether we will one day refer to this time as the 'fourth industrial revolution' (after the steam engine, electricity and electronics) or in another, not yet imagined, way; only time will tell.

What is of great relevance, however, is the way firms can and should respond to these new technologies and the opportunities and challenges they provide. It is here that lofty claims are made about how these technologies are going to profoundly change or even 'revolutionise' how we do business. These claims are commonly made on the basis of technical feasibility alone.

This 'fallacy of materialistic determinism' is a common thread when discussing new technology. It misses the important point that whether a technology is adopted or fades away is as much about societal context and complementary assets, as the capabilities of the technology itself. Many superior technologies have come and gone, and some of the most hyped technologies of today may follow suit. More than ever, it is important to be able to separate fact from fiction and understand possibility in practice.

In the words of the science fiction author William Gibson, ‘The future is already here; it is just very unevenly distributed.’  The work of the lab is to recognise and understand the pieces of the future already around us, and to provide guidance about using these futures in 21st century business and society.