Fostering Innovation and Diversity in a Period of Digital Transformation

In May 2016, women and men from across the globe gathered in San Jose to join the conversation on how to inspire, engage, and advance women in engineering at the annual IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC).

The theme of the show was “Lead Beyond: Accelerating Women Who Change the World.” In line with this theme,Pat delivers opening keynote at WIE ILC attendees participated in a number of educational and networking opportunities such as a start-up pitch competition, a micro-hackathon and a career fair.

On the first day of the conference, VMware CEO (and IEEE Fellow) Pat Gelsinger helped kick off the day by delivering one of the opening keynote talks on “Fostering Innovation in a Period of Digital Transformation.” A captive audience listened as Gelsinger talked about his driving passion for building diversity as a business imperative and how diversity contributes to a more innovative culture.

Gelsinger kicked off with a broad industry view: Since our world is more complex and more connected than ever before, change is moving at an unprecedented pace. There are no longer geographical boundaries limiting us. He points out that as a result, we can’t allow boundaries limiting us anywhere – including the workforce. A diverse workforce helps business thrive – especially in changing conditions.

How does VMware fit into all of this, Gelsinger asked the audience? At its core, VMware is focused on innovating and disrupting computing – but the company also makes women in technology a business priority (particularly with regard to growing the STEM pipeline). This inclusive culture is key to VMware’s DNA. “We know if we want to continue to innovate and win in the marketplace, women are a critical talent pool that we are committed to growing. We’re not doing this just because it’s a good idea. It’s good business,” Gelsinger said.

According to Gelsinger, part of the whole evolution of change in the technology industry involves having companies step up their practices for diversity and inclusion. He went on to describe how VMware is making an inclusive culture part of its DNA and continuing to innovate and win in the marketplace – with women as a critical talent pool that VMware is committed to growing.

His presentation continued on to identify industry trends and imperatives that all IT leaders must address to stay relevant in today’s market. Specifically, he called out being able to innovate like a start-up and deliver like an enterprise. He tied in how ensuring an inclusive environment underscores the values of the company and helps support the smart business outcomes needed for success.

In closing, Gelsinger declared that change is about adapting and learning to anticipate market transitions – and even more importantly, about anticipating the needs of customers before they may even be aware of the need themselves. While each technologist likely has a different point of view on industry shifts and paths forward, every aspect in executing – no matter the imperative – is dependent on having a diverse workforce. The IEEE Women In Engineering International Leadership Conference is helping move the industry increasingly in that direction.

To learn more about how VMware is helping to increase diversity in the workplace, read about VMwomen, the recent Women Transforming Technology (WT²) Conference and the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion program.