Saïd Business SchoolSaïd Business School is launching a Blockchain Strategy Programme to help businesses get to grips with new computing reality. With bank, and other, jobs facing elimination due to disruptive technologies, enterprises across the board must prepare for what may be a blockchain revolution.

‘The application of the core technology behind bitcoin – blockchain – extends much further than the widely recognised cryptocurrencies,” said Nir Vulkan, Associate Professor of Business Economics and Co-convenor of the Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme at Oxford Saïd. “Blockchain has the potential not only to change how we transfer value, but could shift our systems of trade, identity, efficiency and governance across all sectors, radically transforming traditional approaches to management. What participants will understand from our course is what is on the horizon for their business and how to prepare for that.”

Nir Vulkan, Professor, SBS (
Nir Vulkan, Professor, SBS

Why having a blockchain strategy matters

As blockchain technology promises to change radically the nature of business, it will alter the job landscape and become disrupting across industries. Saïd Business School, at the University of Oxford will offer, from February 2018, a short course (six modules over six weeks) to prepare executives to think about their enterprises’ blockchain strategies.

The context is that of a McKinsey report which predicts that blockchain will ‘generate $80-$110 billion in impact’ by 2021. The Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme will offer a fundamental understanding of:

  • where to use blockchain technology
  • how blockchains work
  • the structural and market implications.

Blockchain is at a tipping point – where clarity is emerging about its potential use across multiple industries including manufacturing, healthcare, energy and financial services. Behind this is a fear of job losses and massive industry disruption, as well as opportunities for new business models and emergent technologies to be created.

The Saïd Business School Programme

Designed for senior executives and managers – as well as professionals with a keen interest in blockchain – the Programme seeks to understand how blockchain will affect and shape business. It will provide executives with:

  • an actionable strategy (to respond to blockchain)
  • guidance as to how to incorporate it into their enterprises’ long-term planning.

Teppo Felin, Professor of Strategy at Oxford Saïd, will provide a framework for companies to capitalise on the blockchain opportunity. The programme will also feature insights from guest speakers such as Meltem Demirors, Director at the Digital Currency Group, and Professor Sandy Pentland, one of the world’s leading data scientists, as well as a number of practicing entrepreneurs, technologists and financiers of the blockchain sector.

In addition to insights and advice, participants will equip themselves with two strategy frameworks developed specifically for the programme:

  • the Oxford Blockchain Strategy framework
  • the Oxford Blockchain Regulation framework.

On successful completion participants receive a certificate of attendance from Saïd Business School. Possibly access to the Oxford Saïd Executive Education alumni network is as valuable.

What does it mean

Serious blockchain usage arrived with Bitcoin. Since then its possibilities have expanded in all directions, led by finance but by no mean exclusively. With time the possibilities multiply (see FortKnoxter and Substratum for tangential examples).

Given this, the arrival of a concise Blockchain Strategy course from a leading business school has significance. Furthermore, by focusing on the impact and disruption possibilities on existing business models as well as new opportunities, it should offer multiple value points. Perhaps the biggest challenge is whether Saïd Business School can contain attendees’ fascination with the technological underpinnings.

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Charles Brett
Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.


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