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Fostering innovation through a culture of curiosity

And I think a big part of that as a company, by setting ourselves these ambitious goals, is forcing us to say, do we want to be number one, do we want to be frontrunners in those areas, do we want to keep generating results, like do we get there with technology? And that really forces us to throw out our assumptions because you can’t follow someone to be number one, you can’t follow someone to be number one. And so we understand that of course getting there is via technology and software and the enablement and investment, but really it’s about becoming goal-oriented. And when we look at these examples of how we are creating the infrastructure on the technology side to support these ambitious goals, again we have to be ambitious ourselves because if we bring a solution that is also a me, that’s a copycat, that If we don’t have differentiation, it won’t make us become a top 10 supply chain, for example. It just doesn’t work.

So I think at the top level it starts with business ambition. And from there, we can organize ourselves at the intersection of business ambitions and technology trends to have these very rich discussions and be the glue of how we’re putting so many moving parts together because we’re constantly scanning the technology landscape for new advancing and emerging technologies who can help fulfill this mission. And this is how we set it up on the process side. As an example, I think one of the things, and it’s also innovation, but it’s not talked about that much, but for the community out there, I think it’s going to be very relevant how we stay at the forefront of data sovereignty issues and data localization ? A lot of work needs to be put in to rethink what your Cloud, Private, Public, Edge, On-Premise will look like in the future so that we can remain leaders and competitive in each of our markets while still meeting the increasing mandates we are being given by countries and regulators regarding data localization and data sovereignty.

And so in our case, as a global company that is Hong Kong listed and operates all over the world, we had to think really hard about the architecture of our solutions and apply innovation to create solutions for longer-term growth, but in a world where which is becoming increasingly uncertain. So I think there’s a lot of drivers in a way, which are our business goals, our operating environment, that continues to have a lot of uncertainty, and that’s really forcing us to have a very keen eye on what cutting-edge technology looks like. And it’s not always the shiny technique. Being up to date might mean going to the board and saying hey, we’re going to have a compliance challenge. Here is the innovation that we are bringing to the architecture so that we can not only deal with the next country or regulatory regime that we have to comply with, but also with the next 10, the next 50.

Laurel: Well, and to continue with a slightly more specific example, how does R&D help improve manufacturing in the software supply chain, as well as new technologies like artificial intelligence and the industrial metaverse?

Art: Oh I love this one because it’s the perfect example of how much is happening in the tech industry and there’s so much going back to the earlier point of applied curiosity and how we can attempt this. In terms of artificial intelligence and industrial metaverse in particular, I think these fit very well with Lenovo’s natural strengths. Our heritage is a leading global manufacturer and now we also want to transition to a service-oriented company but apply AI and technologies like the Metaverse to our factories. I think it’s almost easier to talk about the opposite, Laurel, that is, if we… Because, and I remember very well that we established that, there isn’t an area within the supply chain and manufacturing that which is not touched by these areas. When I think of an example, it is actually very timely that we are having this discussion. Just a few weeks ago, Lenovo was recognized as part of the global lighthouse network for manufacturing leaders at the World Economic Forum.

And that relies very heavily on applying AI and metaverse technologies and embedding them into every aspect of what we do in relation to our own supply chain and manufacturing network. So if I pick out a few examples on the quality side in the factory, we implemented a combination of digital twin technology to show how we can design for cost and quality much faster than before, wherever we can prototype in the digital world, where it is quicker and cheaper, and where errors are corrected earlier and in a more timely manner. This allows us to iterate our products much faster. We are able to have better quality. We used advanced computer vision to detect quality defects earlier. We are able to implement technologies around the industrial metaverse so that we can train our factory workers more effectively and better with aspects of AR and VR.

And we’re also able, one of the really important parts of an effective manufacturing operation is the actual production planning, because so many thousands of parts are coming in, and I think anyone listening knows how much uncertainty and volatility there was in supply chains . So how do you take such a multidimensional planning problem and optimize it? These are things where we use intelligent production planning models to keep our factories running at full capacity so we can meet our customers’ delivery dates. So I don’t want to continue, but I think the answer was literal: when you think about logistics, planning, production, disposition and shipping, there’s nowhere that we haven’t found AI and metaverse use cases capable, Significantly improve the way we do business. And again we do this internally and that is why we are very proud to have been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Manufacturing Member of the Global Lighthouse Network.

Laurel: It’s certainly important, especially as we bring computing and IT environments together in this increasing complexity. So, as organizations continue to transform and accelerate their transformations, how are you building resiliency at Lenovo? Because that is certainly another fundamental quality that is so necessary.



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