Global Companies Turn East for Business Innovation: Odgers Berndtson

Top-performing multinational companies increasingly now look to Asia Pacific as a testbed for innovation in their business models and services before introducing them to other parts of the world.

The disclosure comes in a book, “Leadership Disrupted”, published in Singapore today by Mark Braithwaite, head of global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson in Asia Pacific. It charts how top companies and their leaders are responding to disruption and how they are striving to stay ahead.

Based on research from 70 face to face interviews with the APAC leaders of some of the world’s most successful multinational companies, with combined sales exceeding $1 trillion, the book investigates how all leaders are being challenged by the accelerating pace of change.

“Business model innovations are increasingly being tested in APAC and exported to Europe and the US,” says Mr. Braithwaite. “Innovation is no longer just about product, but new ways of servicing customers and companies choose Asia to test this because its culture of embracing change is far ahead of that in the West.”

“The pace of change is accelerating, and we are living through a period of disruption that will be an extinction event for companies that are slow or unwilling to adapt,” Benjamin Tan, Senior Vice President Asia, for Qantas Airways is quoted as saying.

Richard Martin, Managing Director of IMA Asia adds: “During turmoil, success comes down to the teams that are built and how they are led.”

One successful innovation trialled in Asia comes from a global services company, which moved its whole business onto WeChat in China. The innovation was to shift 100% of communications between employees and customers – including marketing, invoicing, video-conferencing – onto WeChat. The global CEO said this leapfrogged the West and resolved many efficiency problems.

“Leadership Disrupted” is published by Odgers Berndtson, also hosting a series of events to discuss the issues it raises across Asia Pacific. In response to the concerns and challenges shared by chief executives, the firm has introduced a proprietary new tool, LeaderFit Profile, to help assess mindset in executive recruitment.

/Public Release.