Enabling local innovations through partnerships

Enabling local innovations through partnershipsMore enterprises in Hong Kong are embracing innovation through partnerships with external communities, aiming to leverage the creativity, skills and talents of partners to accelerate innovation.

Cathay Pacific Airways, CK Hutchison Holdings, Fung GroupHong Kong Jockey Club and KPMG have experience working with external partners including startups in their innovation initiatives. At the CIO Leadership Forum 2017 early this month, they pointed out that innovation is an ongoing process, and management has to be open-minded when dealing with partners, employees and even failures.

Innovation in established firms

“You have to make sure innovation is driving disruptive business models which are still relevant and commercially viable to your environment. It fulfills your commitments to the stakeholder community, shareholders and employees,” said Patrick Kirby, director of management consulting at KPMG.

Kirby noted that the consultancy firm is exploring the use of new technologies like artificial intelligence in its professional services such as audit services, tax services and management consultancy services.

Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) works with external partners to fill in the Club’s skill set gap in its backend system project.

“A lot of the skills are required to re-platform our backend but we don’t have them in the Club. We have to reach out to partners who’ve got experience outside our organization,” said Mark Carr, chief architect of HKJC.

Cathay Pacific Airways leverages external partnership to enhance customer experience.

“Cathay Pacific wants to become more a travel related rather than a pure airline company,” said Nick Laqua, enterprise architecture lead at the airline.

“Customer experience is not just transport experience, so naturally we have to partner with companies.”

Laqua added that the airline has partnered with external organizations to bring in new perspectives or new services. Examples are the use of data analytics in airline operations and the recent launch of a handcrafted bottled beer for passengers.

Produced by the airline and Hong Kong Beer Company, the new Betsy Beer is fused with science and traditional brewing techniques for consumption especially in the air.

Global supply chain services company the Fung Group has deployed a multi-layered approach to innovation.

“On one hand, we do have the usual partnerships with the vendor community; on the other hand, we also partner with top universities like MIT,” said Pedro Eloy, director of new media & information technology at Fung Group.

The Group has developed leadership programs to equip management teams with new tools for innovation and experimentation. These programs are delivered in collaboration with university partners around the globe.

“External partners help us innovate and at the same time see a reality that we may not be looking at it in the same way,” Elroy added.

To CK Hutchison Holdings, partnership with startups delivers monetary benefits to the company.

“We are dealing with more and more smaller partners and startups who are rapidly bringing new technologies. What we see in working with new business partners is it can actually increase revenue,” said Peter Bourke, head of group information systems at CK Hutchison.