David Chivers is the Chief Digital Officer at Jostens, a 100+ year-old company headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, and known around the world for its high school and college class ring business.
Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’?
“In my current role at Jostens, digital strategy is broadly defined. As the Chief Digital Officer, I am constantly looking for ways we can incorporate technology into our offerings to make the lives of our students and teachers easier – and better.
For example, we at Jostens have just released a very cool iPad app for Yearbook Staffs called the Yearbooker’s Field Kit that allows advisors and staffs to make assignments, review layouts and collaborate on yearbooks. We use 3D printing (or rapid prototyping) to push the designs and speed through which we can create ring designs. We’re driving new technologies to amplify the efforts of our physical salesforce.”
Question 2: Which three digital trends have affected Jostens most acutely over the past year?
“The three trends affecting us this year are not new to the year, but their impact grows more profound:
- Social media continues to grow in importance to our students, parents, administrators and teachers – and, as a result, to Jostens as an important channel to engage with customers
- Mobile has become an important platform for us as consumers increasingly buy our products on their phones and tablets as well as designing products, managing the creation of yearbooks and uploading/sharing photos and videos
- 3D Printing (or rapid prototyping) has helped us to create new jewelry designs that couldn’t easily be created with traditional tools as well as providing us additional flexibility in personalized jewelry”
Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps?
“I’m an Apple guy, and I’ve infused my family with the same passion. It’s the ecosystem that I’ve picked for my professional and personal life. I have an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, and a Kindle that follow me on every trip. It’s hard to pick just three apps, but, if pressed, they would be:
- iAnnotate (which has allowed me to digitize a lot of the paper in my personal and professional life)
- Dropbox – which I use pretty extensively
- WSJ for iPad – I helped develop the original version and it’s the only way that I read The Journal every day”
Question 4: What is the best part about being a Chief Digital Officer?
“I’m sure this would be answered differently by different folks in various business contexts. For me, I see my role at Jostens along three dimensions:
- Enabling the world to interact with Jostens digitally
- Digitizing as much of the organization from end-to-end as possible
- Building a culture of evidence-based management based on as much meaningful, actionable data as we can collect, analyze and surface regularly to our customers and team members.
My team is partnering more closely with our sales team and our customers to alter the future of the company, and it is very inspiring to be part of the transformation.”
Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?
“I have two pieces of advice:
First, stay passionate. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, find a way to get energized. If there isn’t a clear way to get re-energized, find a new career. People are drawn to enthusiasm and passion.
Second, take the hard, complex projects. Pick the projects that no one else wants when you believe they can deliver value to the organization. This will position you for growth within your existing company and flex some much-needed, problem-solving skills at your future companies.”