In this fast-paced digital world, how does a leader or company encourage innovation and creative thinking, as well as establish structure and order in a company that is always evolving?
Last May 27, 2016, First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA), the first corporate university in the country, tackled this issue in its second E-talks of the year, titled “Biz 2.0: the Digital Organization.”
At the well-attended event held at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas, participants gained valuable insight from the regional heads of the world’s top digital companies - Google Philippine’s Kenneth Lingan and Uber’s Laurence Cua.
Uber is the pioneering American multinational online transportation network company, with headquarters in San Francisco. Google, on the other hand, is a company that needs no introduction as it is used globally in all fields.
THE POWER OF TECH
While it may have taken decades for traditional companies to become top-of-mind brands, these two digital leaders have shot to prominence in just a few years.
The young, driven executives behind these two giants shared how their organizations were able to push progress and innovation by nurturing a culture of openness and creative thinking. They also gave insight into how they utilized technology to the benefit of their businesses.
After the opening remarks by Jeremy Pintor, FPLA’s Head for Executive Education, Innovation and Creative Programs, Gavin Barfield, the Chief Technology Advisor of Meralco, shared the importance of embracing technology.
“The industry is going through a major technological change, and it’s a result of a number of factors. In the energy industry particularly, technology has changed the way we generate power, access it, and use it more efficiently. New innovative technology is also changing the way we manage our network and operations. With the entire workforce becoming apt digital natives, there’s a quiet revolution that is happening,” shared Barfield.
Ken Lingan, Country Head of Google Philippines, agreed with Barfield and stressed the need for companies and leaders to evolve with the times by teaching its people on how to adapt. “Why the urgency of change? Because you may be left behind. The pace of change today is the slowest it will ever be, because in the future it will only be faster,” Lingan explained.
EMBRACING & INITIATING CHANGE
The world outside may be fast-changing, but within the structures of an organization, change may be slow to start- and this is normal and expected shared Lingan. It may be difficult to change long-held beliefs and practices, but it is not impossible.
When it comes to implementing change in the workplace, he advises leaders and team players to “start small.”
“Introduce a change, practice it, and later, overtime, it will become the culture of the company,” said Lingan.
In Google, Lingan shared that employees are trusted with important information and are encouraged to participate in the discussion. “We have observed that companies that encourage its people to freely express their ideas are more progressive. Brutal openness is needed so you can challenge bosses without fear of reprisal. Also, don’t undermine the power of ambition; it drives innovation. “
Laurence Cua, on the hand, highlighted in his talk the importance of adapting and adopting practices, which specifically meet your needs as an organization. Don’t expect that what has worked in other organizations will work in yours.
“Don’t settle down for one (solution). Adopt locally. Build yourself. Find your own answers and solutions. Embrace tools,” urged Cua.
Later in the panel discussion, the speakers, joined by FPLA’s GM and CEO Roy Agustin Evalle and host Henry Rhoel Aguda, consultant at Talas, PLDT’s Big Data Unit, further exchanged ideas on how to better nurture an environment of learning and creativity.
“Employers should not be afraid listen to their employees as they have a wealth of information. (Both employers and employees) should be transparent and open, and be willing to engage in dialogue to further inspire each other in achieving their common goals,” ended Aguda.