APAC CEO of the Year Awards 2023

Jan22686 Digital Transformation CEO of the Year 2023 (New Zealand): James Dickinson Capacitate Group Ltd is a company working to build the digital, cyber, and productive capabilities of New Zealanders and their businesses. Through its brands, products, and companies it hopes to make the world a better place to live, work, and play. It wants to remove barriers, promote ambition, and enable a brighter future for all. Here we take a closer look as its CEO, James Dickinson, who wins a title in the APAC CEO of the Year Awards 2023. James Dickinson is the 2023 award winning CEO of the Capacitate Group of companies, but his working ambitions had far more humble beginnings. At the tender age of 10, James spent his school holidays toiling in his grandfather’s plastics factory, earning a little pocket money. At 13 he began working in bike shops, following his passion for cycling and racing. After that, having completed school, he moved through sales roles in various industries, until at the age of 23 he had an epiphany of sorts, and realised he needed to find an industry that would keep him both motivated and engaged. He moved into the IT industry, and soon realised that enterprise selling was very different to sales on the shop floor. He quickly understood that supply and demand was something more opaque in the enterprise space. Early on, James developed and offered a free IT strategy paper to his current and prospective clients. This was something that was a hot topic in the early 2000s, with big consultancy firms charging tens of thousands for them. By offering it for free James was able to build trust with his clients, and soon found new sales flowing naturally in his direction. This was the point at which he realised the importance of offering something of real and tangible value to customers before trying to have a ‘sales conversation’. This is something he still tries to do with all his companies today. Capacitate has a full understanding of genuine strategy, which it leverages to ensure its clients’ plans are achievable, measurable and enduring. It also makes sure these plans are endorsed at the highest level, ensuring there are no miscommunications from the top down when it comes to priorities. This means objectives are clear and focused for everyone. Capacitate Group and its companies are independent of each other. This makes it easy for clients to discuss matters at a deeper level with the executive team, the board of directors, or the internal IT team without any fear of internal capability being compromised. Unisphere, is a genuinely independent advisory company within the Capacitate Group, interested only in guiding its client organisations towards conquering their goals and objectives. In terms of what the Capacitate Group of companies can do for clients, it knows it can genuinely deliver digital transformation in the purest sense of the term. It also has an objective to continually challenge its clients’ organisations and leadership teams to ensure projects and programmes are of top quality, without any time or effort being unnecessarily wasted. To do this, Capacitate uses the foundational principles of sustainable change. Mar23537 Once the 7 steps of the foundational principles of sustainable change have been modelled effectively, it is time to begin the hard work: delivery. This usually starts with a phase known as creating productive capacity. This crucial phase is concerned with identifying, then stopping or deferring non business critical work to create space for the new strategy to be bedded in. It can be a challenging time, requiring a few cycles to fully lock in the new operating model. Capacitate doesn’t force clients into any kind of fixed term contracts, instead it aims to let its results do the talking. It wants them to be the reason clients want to stay engaged. And after 4 years of double-digit growth, it knows its strategy is a winning one. The core ethos at Capacitate is one of humility, excellence and culture, all of which are key values it tries to foster at an organisational level. It wants to have competent people who are at the top of their game but are also respectful and self-effacing. There is no room for big egos or brash mannerisms at Capacitate, that is not the culture it wants to perpetuate, but mutual respect, kindness and collaboration is encouraged. People at Capacitate can, broadly, work however they see fit in terms of hours and location. It feels this delivers the best work/life balance, as well as markedly improving the client experience. Clients and Capacitate are successfully united in harmonious relationships thanks to being careful “How will this change disrupt the market for the better? Will this improve the customer/client experience? Can we model and prove this through demand side activity? Do we have the correct tone, messaging and channels to market this change? Will this change improve the sales/conversion stats? Can we meet (and exceed) this new value delivery commitment we are making to the market? Does the financial model prove that we can perform the previous 6 steps profitably and sustainably?”