Innovations of Tomorrow Starts Today: Talent for the Future

 |   Microsoft Hong Kong

Innovations of Tomorrow Starts Today

By Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau

What kind of talent and mindset are needed to maintain Hong Kong’s leadership in research and entrepreneurship? I sat down for a virtual fireside chat last week with Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Harry Shum and Wei Shyy from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), to answer this question and talk about what we can do to empower everyone with the digital skills they need.

Hong Kong’s enduring economic success is the result of its ability to innovate and stay relevant. Today this success is driven by digital innovation, and for 30 years Microsoft Hong Kong has been supporting the business community with digital upskilling initiatives, empowering companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.

Both Microsoft and HKUST celebrate their 30th anniversary in Hong Kong this year. We are more excited than ever before about Hong Kong’s future as an entrepreneurial city driven by digital skills technology. Consistently ranked among the top five fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world, Hong Kong is a top 25 international startup hub destination. For these reasons, it was interesting to speak to Jean-Philippe, Harry Shum and Wei Shyy to understand why digital skills have become a priority for every company.

Digital skills are important to the pandemic recovery

As a fast-growing startup ecosystem within the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong is home to many future leaders of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Jean-Philippe began by sharing his perspective on why we have reached a turning point for companies all over the world. “Today tech accounts for 5% of global GDP and it is going to grow to 10% of global GDP in the next 10 years, which means all companies are about to increase their tech capabilities. From a skills standpoint, we are seeing a trend of more companies hiring people with digital skills and this will only increase,” he said.

This is especially important during the pandemic recovery as workers upskill and reskill to ensure they can adapt as companies go through a process of rapid digital transformation. Last month, Microsoft Hong Kong announced it had helped almost 90,000 workers gain access to digital skills since the start of last year.

Embracing a mindset shift

Empowering companies through the pandemic must start with educating the business community on the value of digital skills and technology.

This will require a mindset shift according to HKUST President Wei Shyy, who said: “Digital talent shouldn’t be limited to IT professionals. We need to be thorough in how we integrate these skills within Hong Kong’s fast-growing environment. Hong Kong, in the last two or three years, has changed a lot in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship and we should promote an entrepreneurial spirit and a growth mindset at every level to encourage more digital innovation.”

This is a journey Microsoft Hong Kong is invested for the long term, working with education providers, government, and public and private enterprise to encourage a new approach to skills-based work and learning in the 21st Century. Harry said a combination of business acumen and a digital-first mindset will be most important for Hong Kong in the next decade: “As we enter the digital age, computational thinking and entrepreneurship will become the two key factors driving research and development.”

Our recent partnership with HKUST launched the city’s first AI-centric MBA elective in Hong Kong, featuring an AI curriculum from Microsoft’s AI Business School. The enhanced curriculum was available to students in early 2020 with an aim to equip business leaders and organizations with the critical skills, knowledge, and culture to succeed in a post-pandemic world.

Empowering everyone with the digital skills they need

During the virtual fireside chat, Jean-Philippe shared how his foundation ‘Live for Good’ aims to unlock the potential of young people with diverse backgrounds through social entrepreneurship and by accelerating positive innovation. “In a hybrid world, talent is everywhere, especially for people working in digital. This fundamental shift has expanded economic opportunities for individuals and enables organizations to build high-performing, diverse teams from a near-limitless talent pool,” he said.

Microsoft Hong Kong’s Upskill HK initiative is working locally to benefit over 100,000 job seekers in Hong Kong by the end of this year. To achieve this target, we are working together with LinkedIn and our partners across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

A better tomorrow

With support and encouragement, digital talent can thrive in Hong Kong and the panel agreed the city has a bright future ahead. By working together in partnership we can achieve so much more and I would like to thank Jean-Phillippe, Harry and Wei for an interesting discussion about how we can create a better tomorrow.

Watch the video on demand here.