Carly: Invent, re-invent

President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly S. Fiorina, stresses the key virtues of the Internet 'renaissance' - invention and re-invention.

President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly S. Fiorina, stresses the key virtues of the Internet 'renaissance' - invention and re-invention.

by Samuel Quek

TAIPEI, 12 June 2000 - Carly Fiorina believes that technology is entering a transformational phase where it can touch lives in new, positive ways.

Fiorina was speaking at the 2000 World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) held in Taipei, Taiwan, the 12th bi-annual conference organized by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA).

"This is an age where people can connect, anytime, and anywhere to useful e-services of any kind," said Fiorina. "It's simple to use - you don't work the web, the web works for you."

Borders between companies, countries and institutions are deteriorating, said the CEO, and its starting to look more like a biological system. A company is a living system, outlined Fiorina, operating in an ecosystem of other living systems.

Change or die
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but those who are most adaptive to change," said Fiorina, quoting Charles Darwin, the founder of the evolution theory.

The key is to recreate an invention that meets a past need and re-invent it to meet a present need. The process of inventing and re-inventing is continuous, just like evolution, said Fiorina.

"Change can be difficult, but as Darwin teaches, its necessary for survival," she said. "A market-leading company is like a healthy system."

Leading companies need to straighten out their strategy and structure. They also need to re-think their measurements of rewards and reassess their cultures and behaviours, which are in turn defined by company values.

Business is based on trust
"We need to build trust, which is based on ethical businesses," she said. "If customers trust us, they will vote with their money."

She also pointed out the need to call for public policies that encourage trust, protect consumers and businesses, especially in this world of cyber-terrorism.

"With each cyber-attack, trust is shaken," she observed.

Customers need to have the confidence that when they do business across countries, there will be an adequate redress system should anything go wrong, said Fiorina.

She projected that new government policies would soon take shape to protect the consumer, but asked that the policy-making process be an open one between the governments, businesses and the consumers.

At the heart of everything
"Education is the only way to bridge the digital divide. This must become an urgent priority."

"We can fail, if we forget that in the end this is all about people," she cautioned.

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