Fostering innovation through a culture of curiosity
And so I think a lot of that as a company, in setting these lofty goals, it forces us to say whether we want to be number one, whether we want to be number one in these areas, whether we want to continue to generate results, how to get there using technology? And so that really forces us to throw away our assumptions because you can’t follow somebody, if you want to be number one, you can’t follow somebody to become number one. And so we understand that the path to get there is through, of course, technology and software and empowerment and investment, but it’s really by becoming goal-oriented. And if we look at these examples of how we’re creating the infrastructure on the technology side to support these ambitious goals, we have to be ambitious ourselves in turn because if we’re delivering a solution that’s also me too, that’s an imitator doesn’t have the differentiation, it’s not going to propel us, for example, to be a top 10 supply chain. It just doesn’t cut it.
So I think at the highest level it starts with commercial ambition. And then from there we can organize at the intersection of business ambition and technology trends to have these very rich discussions and be the glue of how we bring together so many moving parts because we’re constantly going through the technology landscape looking for new advanced and emerging technologies that can enter and be part of achieving this mission. And that’s how we set it up on the process side. For example, I think one of the things, and that’s also innovation, but it’s not talked about as much, but for the community there, I think it’s going to be very relevant, that’s how to stay on top of data sovereignty and data localization issues? There’s a lot of work to do to rethink what your cloud, private, public, edge, on-premises will look like in the future so that we can stay ahead and competitive in each of our markets while meeting the growing guidelines that we’re getting countries and regulators on data localization and data sovereignty.
And so in our case, as a global company listed in Hong Kong and operating globally, we’ve had to think deeply about the architecture of our solutions and apply innovation in how we can design growth at longer term. , but in an increasingly uncertain world. So I think there’s a lot of drivers in a certain sense, which is our business aspirations, our operating environment, which has continued to have a lot of uncertainty, and that really forces us to take a very sharp lens on what the tip looks like. And it’s not always the shiny, shiny technology. Being on the cutting edge might mean going to the executive committee and saying, Hey, we’re going to face a compliance challenge. Here’s the innovation we’re bringing to the architecture so that we can manage not just the next country or regulatory regime we have to comply with, but 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 emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and the industrial metaverse?
Art: Oh I love this one because it’s the perfect example of a lot of things happening in the tech industry and there’s so much back to the previous point of applied curiosity and how we can try this. So specifically around AI and the industrial metaverse, I think it fits very well with Lenovo’s natural strengths. Our heritage is that of a leading global manufacturer, and now we are also looking to move into service-oriented services, but applying AI and technologies like the metaverse to our factories. I think it’s almost easier to talk about the reverse, Laurel, which is if we… Because, and I remember very well that we mapped this, there’s any area of the supply chain and manufacturing that is not impacted by these areas. If I think of an example, in fact, it’s very timely that we have this discussion. Lenovo was recognized just a few weeks ago at the World Economic Forum as part of the Global Leading Manufacturing Flagship Network.
And a lot of that relies on applying the technologies around AI and the metaverse and integrating them into all aspects of what we do around our own supply chain and manufacturing network. And so if I take a few examples from the quality side within the factory, we’ve implemented a combination of digital twin technology on how we can design for cost, design for quality in a much faster way than before, where we can prototype in the digital world where it is faster and cheaper and correcting errors is faster and quicker. So we are able to iterate much faster on our products. We can have better quality. We have adopted advanced computer vision so that we can identify quality defects earlier. We are able to implement technologies around the industrial metaverse so that we can train our factory workers more efficiently and better using aspects of augmented reality and virtual reality.
And we’re also able to, one of the really important parts of running an efficient manufacturing operation is actually planning production, because there are so many thousands of parts coming in, and I think anyone listening knows how much uncertainty and volatility there has been in supply chains. So how do you take such a multi-thousand-dimensional planning problem and optimize it? These are things where we apply smart production planning models to keep our factories running smoothly so that we can meet our customers’ delivery dates. So I don’t want to buzz, but I think the answer was literally: there’s no room, if you think about logistics, planning, production, scheduling, shipping , where we couldn’t find any use cases for AI and the metaverse that were able to significantly improve the way we run our operations. And again, we do it in-house and that’s why we’re very proud that the World Economic Forum has recognized us as a Global Flagship Network Manufacturing Member.
Laurel: This is certainly important, especially when we bring computing and computing environments together in this increasing complexity. As businesses continue to transform and accelerate their transformations, how are you building Lenovo’s resilience? Because it is certainly another fundamental characteristic that is so necessary.