Navigating Change

Applicable tools for managing transformation, by Ralph Rivera.

Ralph Rivera

Ralph Rivera

BBC Director of Digital

Navigating Change
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you


The British Broadcasting Corporation could be the poster child for a successful, company-wide transition from analog to digital—and more broadly for managing change of any kind within an organization. A massive, sprawling behemoth composed of hundreds of isolated divisions, the BBC was transformed under Ralph Rivera’s direction into a single, fully networked digital brain capable of innovating ahead of leaner, digital-native startups. 

In this masterclass, Ralph Rivera explains how he did it, offering universally applicable tools for managing change at scale.

What You'll Learn

  • How to sustain growth for digital transformation

  • How to implement digital transformation in big organizations

  • How to empower team members

  • How to collaborate better cross-functionally


4 Episodes

1. Don't Let Your Best Moment Be Your Peak


It’s common knowledge in the theater community that the end of a production is an emotionally precarious moment, when all the applause has died down and it sets in that the intense, collective efforts of the past months have come to an end.Ralph Rivera faced a similar prospect after he led the BBC’s triumphant delivery of the “first digital olympics” in 2012. This was a cultural milestone for England and a massive cultural shift for the BBC, which understood for the first time the real potential of digital. How could he maintain the incredible momentum that project generated? How could he avoid resting on that invitingly leafy laurel?Keep the momentum going immediately after a big success by establishing new aspirations.View your team’s status as progressive, not static.Articulate a vision that demonstrates a growth mindset.

2. Essential Questions for Supporting Your Organization's Shift to Digital


Shifting the culture of a massive organization like the BBC is like turning an aircraft carrier around: you need to do it deliberately and step-by-step or you’re in trouble. To begin with, says BBC Director of Digital Ralph Rivera, you need to take a macro view of the organization and diagnose the problem. When Rivera came on board at the BBC, they had over 400 separate websites. Online, at least, “there was no such thing as ‘The BBC’.”StrategyDigital transformation involves more than having a website; it’s about developing digital products. How will you support user-centric product management? agile product development? data-driven product marketing?The goal is to engage users digitally in product development. Capture user data to help you understand different user needs. Use incoming data to help you customize each user’s experience.PlatformA robust digital platform is needed to enable products and leverage user data. What features will allow you to capture and integrate th...

3. Focus Your Talent


New ideas and trends sweep through the business world rapidly––so rapidly that they’re often met with skepticism. If you’re trying to effect a profound digital transformation in your company, it’s easy to talk the talk, making bold, sweeping statements about synergy and interactivity and the future, but how can you get everybody walking the walk?Citing his experience at the BBC––a massive and venerable institution whose digital transformation he oversaw––Ralph Rivera says it starts with embracing both negative and positive motivators.Embrace positive and negative motivationEstablish a positive motivator by announcing a lofty ambition with high stakes.Establish a negative motivator by identifying the consequences of failure.Cut the fat immediatelyDo fewer things better.Be disciplined when setting priorities and allocating resources.Strive to be world-class in a few things, not mediocre in many things.Can you consolidate or eliminate products?

4. Unite Your Talent


We humans tend to be tribal, establishing allegiances within small groups of people with whom we share beliefs, or common knowledge, or just the same part of the office. To achieve anything significant, though, a business needs to overcome this tendency, inspiring its people to work together across departments and disciplines.When he first started as BBC director of digital, Ralph Rivera observed that this kind of interdepartmental distrust was deeply embedded in company culture. Yet in order to effect a digital transformation, he needed Editorial to work with Engineering, User Experience with Marketing. He needed teams to interact more fluidly toward common goals.When establishing new responsibility protocols, be cognizant of inter-departmental power dynamics.Form teams to tackle specific product areas (not to compete)Develop clear guidelines for determining which discipline within a team will take lead. Match action items to subject matter expertise.Promote a peer-to-peer culture....

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