Cultural Transformation in the Digital World

4 Jul 2017

Breakfast came with plenty of food for thought at SMU on 20 June, as around 300 leading professionals, eminent academics and well-informed students gathered for a panel discussion on the topic “Cultural Transformation in the Digital World”, organised by SMU Executive Development with the Financial Times-IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance.

After an informal breakfast, Dr Katharina Lange, Executive Director of SMU Executive Development welcomed the participants. Pointing out that no-one knows what the future of a ‘digital world’ will look like for certain, Dr Lange quoted the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, “Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.” Adding that on this path to the unknown, she is certain that there will be good companions for the journey ahead with many leading thinkers in the field.

Dr Katharina Lange, Executive Director of SMU Executive Development welcoming the participants.

Prof Arnoud De Meyer SMU President making his Welcome Address.

SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer in his Welcome Address remarked that digital transformation of the world would be accompanied by other influences, including a shift in the economic centre of gravity from the West to the East; a growing middle class in Asia; other technological advances, in the life sciences and nano-technology, for example; a growing emphasis on sustainability; an ageing population together with a new mind-set in the millennial generation; and the end of an absolute belief in globalisation. He suggested that all this would have profound effects on the nature of work and the role of education. Prof De Meyer stressed that SMU has long been a believer in the importance of lifelong learning, which will be an essential part of this digital future.

Mr Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University spoke next, beginning by saying how much at home he felt in Singapore, especially as IE runs a joint Executive MBA with SMU. He then outlined the purpose of the FT–IE Corporate Learning Alliance, which combines the FT’s global coverage, sector expertise, business intelligence and data, with IE Business School’s advanced learning technologies, entrepreneurial culture, international faculty and academic rigour, and a worldwide alliance of specialists in all relevant business-related fields such as at SMU.

Mr Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University making his Opening Remarks.

Next came the panel discussion, moderated by Mr Jeevan Vasagar, Singapore and Malaysia Correspondent of the Financial Times. The other three panellists were Mr Maarten Kelder, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Solutions of Zuellig Pharma; Mr Rohit Girdhar, Vice President, Strategy & Market Development APAC of Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific; and Mr Arthur Leong, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Projects, Group Channels & Digitalisation, United Overseas Bank Limited.

In a wide ranging discussion, the panel addressed how companies can respond to the main disruptive forces the world is facing today with the advancement of technology (automation and artificial intelligence), the shift in economic power from west to east and the ageing of society. The discussion was driven further forward by questions raised by members of the audience through an online digital platform, such as what business schools should be teaching in the light of technological change, what are the critical success factors for implementing cultural change in traditional companies, what influence have major tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent had on the business landscape?

 

The panel debated questions from the audience raised from the floor and via a digital platform.

After the panel discussion, Dr Lange announced a Memorandum of Understanding for ongoing collaboration between CLA and SMU in delivering executive education programmes which was signed on stage by representatives of both parties, before the audience, speakers and panel members continued the conversation and networking over refreshments outside the auditorium. The partnership with CLA serves as a strategic platform for SMU Executive Development, granting access to unique resources for organisations to address challenges arising from cultural transformation in a digital age on a global scale

Watch the video here.

(Left to right) Mr Arthur Leong, UOB; Jeevan Vasagar, FT, Mr Rohit Girdhar, Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific;  Marc Thivessen, FT | IE CLA; Mr Maarten Kelder, Zuellig Pharma; Prof Arnoud De Meyer, SMU; Mr Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, IE University; Dr Katharina Lange, SMU; and Antonio Montes, FT | IE CLA.

(Main photo) The panellists (left to right) Mr Rohit Girdhar, Vice President, Strategy & Market Development APAC of Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific; Mr Arthur Leong, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Projects, Group Channels & Digitalisation, United Overseas Bank Limited; Mr Maarten Kelder, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Solutions of Zuellig Pharma; and moderator Mr Jeevan Vasagar, Singapore and Malaysia Correspondent of the Financial Times. 

 

Last updated on 4 Jul 2017.