Inspiring the next generation of responsible leaders

Maxine Taylor
By , - Responsible Business

“The leaders of tomorrow are very likely in this room.”

Inspiring words by chair of Fujitsu’s Future Leaders summit Oli Barrett at the Business in The Community annual awards event.

A key theme for Fujitsu’s time as Responsible Business of the Year 2015 was to inspire the next generation of future business leaders. According to our recent piece of research, only half of today’s under-25s have been asked for their ideas on responsible business.

This is why events like this that bring young people together to network and share their ideas are so important.

Having been lucky enough to attend, I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the 350 young people in the room and the inspiring talks we heard throughout the day.

As we highlighted in our global Megatrends, the world is changing at an exponential rate. The organisations of tomorrow need to understand and adapt to new challenges affecting us all as a result.

These young people will be the ones steering those organisations, so it was brilliant to see them so enthusiastic about responsible business and its ability to change the world.

Key to bringing out that enthusiasm was a line-up of ‘Mindblower’ sessions – talks from inspirational people who have a view on how businesses can do things differently for the benefit of everyone.

I thought I’d share some of my highlights from those sessions…

Thinking further ahead

Fujitsu’s Russell Goodenough suggested businesses need to think beyond the typical three-to-five-year planning cycle and look 15 or even 20 years ahead. This requires a complete shift in mind-set for many organisations, but, he argued, they need to get used to operating that way.

An automated society

“People being born today might grow up and think it’s crazy we ever let humans drive cars,” Fujitsu’s Graeme Wright said.

This is the future we’re looking at: increasingly automated. Everything connected. The rise of smart cities. As the world’s population continues to rise, using that data wisely will be key to ensuring we overcome those challenges.

Have a mission, not a vision

Our very own Jat Sahi was on-stage talking about achieving the right digital culture. The key, he said, is having a mission rather than a vision. And the leaders of today need to listen and understand the views of employees and customers.

You may have caught him talking about this in his live Periscope session at World Tour 2016!

A hyperconnected world

It’s impossible to watch our CTO Dr Joseph Reger talking about technology and not be inspired.

Here he was talking about the reality of a truly hyperconnected world – not just things you’d typically think about like wearables, but applying that connectivity to not-so-glamorous areas such as agriculture and waste management.

Technology has a huge part to play in those sectors, and to cope with the Megatrends mentioned above we need to start exploring them.

Embrace change

Another brilliant talk came from Forge Strategy founder Nick Pendleton. He told us all about his experiences working at the Post Office during its privatisation and how businesses can embrace change and face the future.

Digitalisation as a force for good

Finally I’ve got to mention another speaker who seemed to inspire the future leaders at the event:  Barclays’ first Digital Eagle Lewis Hunt.

To hear his journey through the business and understand how a company completely overhauled its legacy systems into modern, industry-leading offerings was brilliant, and it really framed digitalisation as a force for good.

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All inspiring stuff I’m sure you’ll agree!

It was great to see so many young people getting enthusiastic about responsible business and thinking about global challenges and actions they can take back to their own organisations.

Check out the results of our Winning the right way poll  for more insight into young people’s views on responsible business.

Missed the BITC Awards event? Take a look at our highlights video

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