Jo Caudron

Speaker
Internet pionieer - interactive media and digital innovation
What will be next?

Jo Caudron (1968) is one of Belgium’s internet pioneers. As a serial entrepreneur, he (co-)founded more than 20 digital companies. He has an eye for the newest trends and anticipates them like no other. Today, Jo is the CEO of Duval Union Consulting, a consultancy company specialized in digital strategy and transformation. His most recent book, Digital Transformation, shows (traditional) businesses how they can adapt to the disruptive power of digital first competitors.

Jo Caudron was once at the very heart of the internet’s inception in Belgium and today he is still one of its driving forces. This born narrator takes you along and guides you through the wondrous world of digitalisation, showing the peaks and pitfalls of the past and present and the opportunities of the future.

The first Belgian website builders

As a fashion student, Jo was not destined to become an authority in the digital world, but life can be a fickle thing. “Together with my brother Ben, we came up with the idea of a computer system, allowing different clothing boutiques to view each other’s inventory . That way one shop could check whether a certain piece was in stock in any of the other stores.” Lucky for them, this revolutionary idea coincided with the rise of an almost magical development that would change the world for decades to come, the internet. Their first idea might not have worked out in the end, but both brothers knew where their destiny lay.

Fascinated by the speed at which information could be transferred, Jo and Ben started “The Reference”, thus becoming the first Belgian web designers. ‘De Tijd’ (a national newspaper) became their first major customer. “The CEO of the company back then asked us to design a website. We had never done that before, but we said yes. We worked on it day and night”, says Jo in ‘De Standaard’ (another national newspaper). The Reference became a spearhead in web design, making websites for Cera Bank, Studio Brussels and de Efteling. The company was a success with over 200 employees at its peak, until the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. The Reference had to be restructured, the workforce was reduced to 40 people but after two years of rebuilding, The Reference was successfully sold.

This set-back did not stop the Caudron brothers. Over the past 15 years they founded one company after another, both in Belgium and internationally. Every one of these focused on different aspects of interactive media, digital innovation and digital transformation. With One Agency (2006) Jo focused on new and interactive communication. The VRT (Flemish Radio & TV) requested their services for a restyling of the Canvas-website and the design of the news website deredactie.be

Digital transformation

In 2009, three years after One Agency was founded, Jo decided that it was time for a new challenge. He founded DearMedia, which later became Duval Union Consulting, a consultancy firm for digital innovation. He wrote multiple books about the changes in the digital landscape. His most recent book – Digital Transformation, a Model to Master Digital Disruption - is a guide for digital transformation; something that every company, consciously or unconsciously, has to deal with at some point.

Digital Transformation is a complex matter that covers many aspects. It requires various skills, and a strong buy-in from the stakeholders in the company. In order to lead the transformation, companies will need broad insights in disruptive business models, the market, new challengers and the overall impact of technology.

Jo gives presentations and organises workshops around the Digital Transformation Methodology he developed with his partner-in-crime, Dado Van Peteghem. This methodology gives organizations a framework and actionable plan to deal with their digital transformation. This helps these organisations anticipate the changes and convert digital threats into business opportunities. Jo will help you understand the impact of digital disruption, offering a model to shape your own future.

Photography: Ioannis Tsouloulis.

"Digital Transformation” Disruption impacts us all. How do you deal with it?

Media, Social Media & Networking

Digital and online services are evolving at an unseen speed. They have fundamentally changed the way we live our lives; our way of working and how we spend our leisure time. All of these developments also have a gigantic impact on the business world, the government, education, healthcare, etc.
Most organizations lack a thought-out plan to deal with digital transformation. Organizations have to be prepared in a structured way, because playtime is over. In the stage we are at now, digital and online have often become a core activity; it sometimes changes the entire market as well, because digital is disruptive, just think of Uber and Airbnb.
Jo Caudron shows you a model to better understand the impact of digital and a way to reshape the possible threats into a positive vision for the future.

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Languages of the keynote
English, Dutch