Top tips to digitally empower a sustainable world

TCS Summit Asia Pacific 2018

What do the next-generation workers want from their employer and from their workplace? In short, they want to feel accepted, included and tasked with purpose. As a part of this year’s Future Leaders at TCS Summit program, we invited leaders from some of Australia’s most iconic businesses to talk about their tips to digitally empower a sustainable world.

Peter Varghese, Chancellor University of Queensland, spoke about the efforts made by University of Queensland to set up their students for future success while Claudine Ogilvie, CIO of Jetstar spoke about the need for corporate sponsorship of ongoing education. In addition, TCS’ own K. Ananth Krishnan, global CTO, spoke about the power of setting a broad direction at an enterprise level and how when you align your entire business behind the people that drive you. The panel was moderated by Allegra Spender, CEO of ABCN and addressed the leading young people who make up our Future Leaders audience.

The key, argues Varghese, is to begin with education. “How can we equip students to succeed in a world that is likely to be fundamentally transformed by technology?” he says. “For us, this concept of digital literacy is front and centre of our future focus.”

Varghese remarks that digital literacy isn’t simply about using and understanding technology, but an ability to filter data and opinion, weigh the evidence, and apply that critical analysis when questioning the authority of sources.

1. Continuing education will play a huge part in the move towards digital literacy.

Beyond traditional learning institutions, enterprises need to work continuing education into their strategy.

“It’s about having the foresight and forethought not just to create technical roadmaps, but to consider your people in the process,” says Ogilvie.

The Jetstar CIO argues that given the rate at which technology changes, companies need to ensure that talented people are given the tools and training to keep up with a digital strategy, and that they can apply their skills in ways that maximise success for all.

2. Digital tools will create better genetic scientists, or biologists, or everyday consumers, eventually building better leaders for tomorrow.

The role of technology and genetic testing in reducing the infant mortality rate in India is one such example. Another is the ability for customers to stage massive online campaigns that compel companies to rethink packaging logistics and reduce plastic waste.

“Digital is not just about teaching computer science in school. It’s about using these tools in real world applications to become better” says Krishnan. “At TCS, we have always believed that sustainability in the societies in which we operate is critical.”

Matching that drive for sustainability with a future-forward perspective is critical, as Krishnan continues - “the first responsibility of any leader is to build more leaders - you need to match the right potential with the right capabilities, in hopes of leaving the world better than how you found it.”

The digital revolution, argues Ogilvie, can have the largest and most meaningful impact in disadvantaged areas. “There’s a real opportunity for emerging nations to use technology to leapfrog some of the more rigid structures we have in many of the developed countries,” she says.

Blockchain, for example, enables simple and smart contracts between parties in a transparent way. This immutable ledger of information can be applied in markets that are subject to corruption to facilitate the fair exchange of land or goods. We might struggle to overcome the more complex problems associated with blockchain as a vehicle for banking or currency exchange, but its value as a data-driven, peer-to-peer record of simple transactions is undeniable.

3. A more inclusive society

Transformation in a digital age is about harnessing the power of new technologies to create a more inclusive society. It’s about broadening our definition of education and extending access beyond traditional learning institutions.

It has become clear that the biggest leaps towards a digital future will be seen in the developing world, with the areas of medicine, communication, and education taking centre stage.

The enthusiasm and shear drive seen in this year’s delegates gives us much hope for the future and an unwavering conviction that our digital future is in the busiest, most inspiring hands.

Future Leaders at TCS Summit is an invitation only event attended by talented and high performing delegates of Australian and New Zealand companies who are passionate about harnessing the power of digital technologies to create a fairer, more inclusive society. Follow the conversation at #TCSSummit