An Assignment for Leading in a Digital Age

Leading in a Digital Age Assignment








The Challenge

Digital Leaders are increasingly having to provide thought leadership in their organisations.

Offering strategic context is a regular part of the ‘CEO Blog’ – a regular form of digital communication from director level (The C suite) to all staff. Many leaders are now offering “thought leadership”, writing articles for both their internal audience and also for the public – on Linkedin, on platforms such as or WordPress.

This is one of a number of important ways a dynamic organisation dialogue and communicates.

The assignment is divided into two tasks with two resulting deliverables. The assignment gives you a practical opportunity to develop the skills of digital thought leadership.


The First Task

Your task is to write a publicly targeted 800-1000 word thought piece to be published on the platform

Many leaders use this platform (among others) to share intelligent and innovative thoughts to influence thinking and practice in their sectors, and even more broadly.

Choose one area of disruptive technology and write your thought piece aimed at influencing the thinking of your colleagues, peers and the public more broadly.

For example:
– artificial intelligence
– social media
– big data
– virtual reality
– robotics

You might then pose a question, identify a critical problem, suggests some key tips or recommendations, identify critical risks, critique current practice, predict scenarios.

In writing this thought piece take the perspective of a leader; write it from a leader’s point of view.

Your thought piece should be published on a platform such as so you may need to sign up for a free account.

Note: If you don’t want to use a public publishing platform, that is OK and will not affect your grade.

Either way, use their house style to practice doing so and submit it in the same format.

So, it is an opportunity to try put a real publishing platform but you don’t have to go public if you don’t want to.

Your thought piece should be
– original and clear
– headed with a clear and challenging title
– evidence based
– focused on one clear topic based on a chosen disruptive digital innovation.

Don’t be too general.

Focus your article one real challenge, question or problem, ideally within a chosen sector, perhaps your own.

Be sensitive to any issues of confidentiality or commercial sensitivity.

Choose one or more legally usable images for your thought piece, at least one for a headline image.

The Second Task

Write an essay that underpins your thought piece and is NOT to be shared publicly. This is the background to your article.

(I’ve provided a suggested structure for this below and some indicative word counts).

This should offer some academic reasoning and rationale for your thought piece. A suggested structure is as follows…

Write 750 words that describe the intentions behind your thought piece

– why did you choose it?

– what are the core ideas/propositions in your thought piece ?
– who do you want to influence with it and how?
– why is it important and relevant now?

Then list 10-20 key references of authors in the same field who offer common ground or contrasting views with your article. This can include:
– journal articles
– key research papers and reported
– books or book chapters

Referencing the work of other key writers, practitioners, leaders and academics gives credibility to your own thinking.

Then, write 750 words summarising these views and theories and how they apply to and inform your thought piece.

Finally write approximately 500 words of personal reflections on writing the article.

What have you learned from doing it?

How might you write differently in the future?

What has this process taught you about leadership in the digital age?

This second task ensures that your thought piece isn’t just opinion. A string thought piece nerds to be rooted in evidence and to link to other influential writers and thinkers. You don’t have to agree with them. But you’ll be more credible if you locate yourself within the existing fields of thinking, research and practice.

The second task also encourages you to reflect on your experience of practising thought leadership in the digital realm.


Assessment will be based on how well you meet the assignment brief, the quality of your core argument and ideas.

The academic underpinning for your thought piece, use of relevant references will also be assessed.

Overall presentation will also be assessed in terms of professionalism, flow of writing, use of impactful and appropriate images and originality.

Finally, your reflections on completing this assignment and what you have discovered about leadership in a digital age will also be assessed.

Further questions ?

Deadlines and further details will be provided during the workshop.

If you have concerns or further questions about this assignment please contact Paul Levy at