Learn More About Soumitra Dutta
As technology evolves at a faster pace than ever, knowing how to anticipate change – and how to combine technology and humans – has never been more urgent. Optimal application of the latest innovations requires capable and knowledgeable leaders.
With deep experience in technology, business and academia, Soumitra Dutta, dean of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, offers practical frameworks that help leaders optimize the extensive value of technology when it’s applied in business contexts.
“The biggest opportunity I see in business today is for C-Suite leaders to innovatively leverage the emerging tech space,” says Dutta, co-founder of the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index and one of the most highly sought-after experts on digital transformation and organizational leadership in the world. “There’s enormous complexity in emerging technology, so it’s vital to simplify an understanding of the terminology, the conceptual anchors and the ways to leverage the innovative potential of technology.”
“Many companies don’t know how to handle big digital disruptions,” explains Dutta. “The whole space is changing rapidly and it’s important to have simple frameworks for analyzing an organization’s digital capabilities and map out action steps. Leaders must understand what it means to be a digital company, to have a digital business model and most importantly, the different dimensions of the transition to win in a digital era.”
Shaping an Organization’s DNA Through Nuanced Leadership
In addition to his current role as dean of Oxford’s business school, Dutta was founding dean of Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, and is co-founder and president of the Washington, DC based think tank, Portulans Institute. He has also been appointed as Chair of the Taskforce of Experts on AI by the Paris based international organization OECD.
His international leadership experience spans the academic, business, non-profit and government sectors giving him a global, multidisciplinary perspective on leadership development, the talent pipeline and the important decisions leaders face every day.
“One of the nuanced decisions a leader has to make is how do you allocate resources across different emerging technologies? Those tough decisions must both build the current business and at the same time create innovative new future business models,” explains Dutta, who helped establish Cornell University’s Cornell Tech Campus in New York City. “I help leaders consider leadership more philosophically and urge them to think about their vision of their company and how they look at the interplay of intelligent technology and innovative people. These decisions shape an organization’s DNA and become about much more than traditional profit motives. It’s about impact and doing good for both the environment and society.”
AI Policies to Benefit Business and Empower Employees
As the innovative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop at an exponential pace, it becomes essential to integrate these technologies within an organization’s products and processes.
While it’s important to understand how technologies like large language models (LLMs) and neural networks function, it’s even more vital for leaders to understand how they impact an organization’s core business success today and in the future.
“The successful leader will be one who is able to have a simple yet accurate understanding of how technology is evolving, how it impacts the business and how you combine it with your employees,” explains Dutta, whose Ph.D. specialized in AI and who recently authored a report, “AI Policies for Business,” for the 2023 New Delhi G20 Summit for the B20 group. “The biggest challenge for CEOs right now is putting in place policies to effectively integrate machines and people in a way that both furthers innovation in the business and empowers and upholds the dignity of workers.”
Understand Innovation Trends to Successfully Transition to a Digital Business Model
With the strategic implementation of technology being a critical issue for leaders, Dutta provides practical frameworks for executing digital transitions and leveraging exponential trends. An authority on tracking technological innovations around the world, he founded the Global Innovation Index, which has been published by the United Nations since 2010 and is used by more than 120 countries as a guide to formulate policies for enhancing innovation performance.
“While many organizations have become very good at handling incremental process innovations, they struggle with the challenge of managing disruptive digital innovations”, explains Dutta. “The obstacles are less linked to technical elements and more influenced by the ability of leaders to ask the right questions and to courageously lead an organization through a process of rapid change.”
The Peter Mores Dean of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, Soumitra Dutta spent more than three decades leading business schools across the Atlantic such as the University of Oxford, INSEAD and Cornell University. Dutta has conducted extensive research in and consulted with leading global firms on building effective technology and innovation strategies.
Dutta has served on the boards of major international corporations including Sodexo, Dassault Systemes and ZS Associates, works with smaller startups and has co-founded two technology startups – Fisheye Analytics (an AI-driven social media analytics firm that was sold to the WPP Communications Group in 2013) and Green Frontier Capital (a VC fund focused on early stage climate tech ventures started in 2020).
Dutta is deeply involved with non-profits and is on the boards of several global business schools including Centrum Catholica (Peru), HEC Montreal (Canada), University of Los Andes (Colombia) and ESADE (Spain). He has chaired the leading global business school accrediting agency, AACSB and is currently the chair of the Global Business School Network. He has also served co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Innovation Ecosystems and is the founder and president of Portulans Institute, a Washington DC based non-partisan non-profit institute focused on research and outreach on technology, talent and innovation.
Dutta earned a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2017, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. In 2023 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Amity University, India’s largest and leading private university.
Soumitra Dutta is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Understanding AI for Business Leaders: Optimally Integrate Humans and Technology to Catalyze Innovation and Growth
Oxford University’s Saïd Business School Dean Soumitra Dutta is one of the leading experts on leadership, AI strategy and digital transformation in the world. A highly sought after authority on global innovation, integrating human workers and technology, and leadership development who has led business schools on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Dutta helps organizations catalyze innovation and drive growth. Founding dean of Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, creator of the Global Innovation index, and co-founder of the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index, he’s a business and technology expert who offers a global, multidisciplinary perspective. Dutta is available to discuss any or all the following topics during one-on-one or small group advisory meetings. Each program can be customized to meet the needs and goals of your organization with the added option of meeting virtually or in-person.
- Simplify AI to Benefit Business and Bring Out the Best in Your People
- AI Policies for Business
- The Future of AI
- Building Future Ready Organizations
- Global Perspectives on Talent Development and Leadership