Transforming People, Process and Technology… a long-term marathon, not a sprint!
Fortune India|March 2021
Surena Gupta spoke to Bill Gates and Rakesh Rathi on their vision for the Next Wave of Innovation under Fortune India Exchange.

Bill Gates Co-founder of Microsoft is a technologist, business leader and a philanthropist.

Rakesh Rathi (MBA/Engineer) is a Senior Global Client Executive based in Europe and recipient of a decorated and prestigious corporate award from the President of India for engaging with C-suite executives.

IN CONVERSATION

Technology, Digitalization and Automation

BILL GATES: We are changing the world with technology, signalling the digital transformation that human society, economic relations, and lifestyle are currently undergoing. The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.

RAKESH RATHI: Technology has become ubiquitous in the workplace. Every vertical and industry is now disrupted by technology and this then results in improved Customer Experience (CX) impacting everyone B2B or B2C. Customer-centric automation is the center-stage of the exponential digital revolution where innovation is the gamechanger. Cloud, 5G, AI/ML, Collaboration Tools, Cyber Security, Robotics and Quantum Computing would define the next-gen tech. We are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to disruption and digitalization.

Trust in Transformation & Science

BILL GATES: The issue is just basic trust—for ex: how do people think about vaccines? And so, the vaccines that really count are the ones that have gone through the gold standard regulators, because people do worry about safety and effectiveness and that they can be made at low cost and very high volume. Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision and it imperative they are fair to the employees.

RAKESH RATHI: Transformation is a collective alignment of People, Process and Technology. Strategic maturity of business KPIs with tech is extremely important. In parallel, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is also an absolute reality and hence any initiative to transform has to be driven top-down by CxO and listening to your customers for a successful result. Transformation is a long-term marathon, not a sprint!

Innovation in Drug Development

BILL GATES: We actually have a concrete project with Moderna to do a malaria vaccine construct using the messenger RNA platform [a method also being used for some COVID vaccine candidates]. We started backing these mRNA vaccines almost a decade ago. They are very promising and could be used potentially for HIV and tuberculosis as well.

RAKESH RATHI: Collectively, the top 20 pharmaceutical companies spend approximately $60billion on drug development each year. Gene therapy, mRNA, Biotechnology have had a huge success in the past and this was reflected during the recent vaccine development for Covid-19; this validates continuous investments for innovation in pharma. A hybrid mix of Reimagining R&D, Patient-and Healthcare-professional-centric Design Thinking (DT), Agile development, Process re-engineering using predictive modeling, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Language (ML) coupled with Digital and Tech enablement will accelerate new drugs development which currently takes years and billions of dollars and also a faster GTM (Go-To-Market). Health is now a top priority globally!

Collaboration among companies and PPP (PublicPrivate Partnership) — a vision for optimism

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