Digital Transformation in the FMCG and Automotive Industries – Emergence of Digital Innovation Capabilities

Claire Brewis, Fred Strønen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
284 Downloads (Pure)


Technological developments are disrupting the business environment, introducing new and more innovative, digitally-born competitors. Simultaneously, customer engagement with digital technologies, such as social media platforms, has altered behaviour and expectations. Established firms are under siege from these radical and disruptive changes and are responding by engaging in digital transformation using digital resources, including big data, to deliver product as well as process innovation. Such transformation requires new innovation capabilities, but the nature of these capabilities is not well understood. This study addresses the question ‘What are the innovation capabilities that firms require for digital transformation?’. This paper explores innovation capabilities development in four companies, in two industries that are facing significant technology-driven market and operational turbulence. We have collected data from the automotive industry and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries. Both sectors are experiencing industrial restructuring with new, data-driven competitors, digitalised business models, unconventional alliances, distribution challenges and changing customer expectations. For firms in these industries digital transformation includes process innovation through the introduction of digital technologies and new ways of working to leverage value from big data. It also involves innovation through increasingly personalised customer engagement and the commercialisation of data systems. Using a multiple case study design based on elite interviews, we compare the four firms’ approaches to digital transformation. Our study provides new insights into the digital innovative capabilities (DIC) that firms apply to develop new knowledge within their digital transformation. From our findings we develop five specific propositions for the development of digital innovation capabilities theory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECKM 2021 22nd European Conference on Knowledge Management
EditorsAlexeis Garcia-Perez, Lyndon Simkin
PublisherAcademic Conferences International Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781914587078
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Event22nd European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2021 - Coventry University , Virtual, Online, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sept 20213 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European conference on knowledge management
ISSN (Print)2048-8963


Conference22nd European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2021
Abbreviated titleECKM 21
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


  • Automotive
  • Digital innovation capabilities
  • Digital transformation
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • FMCG
  • Innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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