Am onboard an Air India flight from Bangalore back to Delhi on to Zurich and Munich after a phenomenal week in India. I have to say that I don’t remember such a warm welcome by team colleagues and HP employees on any of my previous business trips ever – at least not in the past few years.
I had a wonderfully packed agenda that covered a wide spectrum ranging from a presentation and panel discussion at the AMCHAM meeting in Delhi to discuss HP’s approach to Shared Value to a series of Volunteering events in Delhi and Bangalore as well as a visit to a rural HP ehealth center in Payra Danga close to Kolkatta.
Here are a few impressions:
Day1: After the HP Living Progress presentation at the AMCHAM Launch of Compendium of CSR Activities followed a Panel Discussion on “Creating Shared Value: The New CSR”: Picture is with Dr. Chatterjee from the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs – we had a very good discussion on the new Indian CSR regulation and its implications on companies like HP. Actually, we met with all the Business leads and functions subsequently to work on a plan to put this into action for HP.
It was also great to finally meet the Indian Leadership Team as well as the Corporate Affairs Team in India in person – we spent the afternoon together to work on plans how to best scale our Living Progress Initiatives in India to benefit the people at the bottom of the pyramid. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I look forward to scaling our ehealth centers and expanding our HP LIFE e learning initiative in India.
Day 2 – fantastic meeting with the impressive folks from the National Skills Development Foundation on a potential collaboration in the Education space going for ward. The NSDC is a Public Private Partnership whose objective is to skill 150 million people in India by 2022 by investing in initiatives in training and skill development in 20 high growth sectors and the unorganized segment. When we met with them we saw great potential for a mutual way forward if we combine our skills and technology with their extensive network.
Day 3: Visit to the HP ehealth centre in Payra Danga close to Kolkutta
I have to admit that the 2.5h drive from the city to the village of Payra Danga and back was quite an adventure – streets are narrow, traffic is heavy, everybody is honking all the time and people don’t pay much attention to which side of the street they are driving on…between the crazy traffic, the cows that cross the street every now and then and the people that cut their way across the street you end up thinking that it seems impossible to arrive all in one piece. But we did it!
And this is what we saw when we got there - one of the HP e health centres that brings healthcare to rural areas rather than bringing people to the cities where the vast majority of healthcare is being offered. It’s a simple container equipped with medical devices – all hooked up to the cloud so that the doctors can analyse the data and make smarter fact based decisions.
Here you can see Sushil Bhatla our program manager for the ehealth centers talking to Ravi Natarajan who heads Corporate Relations and CSR at our partner organization NH – while a few women are waiting for their medication after having had a consultation with the doctor via video link beforehand.
Day 4: Off to Bangalore
3 cities - 3 quite different impressions: Bangalore is further south located in the state of Karnataka and is widely known as the Silicon Valley of India with a heavy presence of IT companies. No wonder that the city is amongst the top ten preferred entrepreneurial locations in the world – so an ideal location for us to discuss the rollout of HP Life e-learning. We started off the day with a great joint volunteering activity with the Agastya Foundation and attended a science fair where kids learn the principles of physics through a series of low cost innovative experiments and hands on examples that make learning fun…
Below is a group picture with the kids and our HP volunteers..
One of the highlights of the trip – and there were many - was the visit in Bangalore where I met with some of the most dedicated, passionate and creative HP employees on the globe. I had already known that these folks tirelessly get engaged in their communities and that they use their IT and Application Design skills to come up with replicable solutions that address critical societal and environmental issues. But when I got to the office to meet with a team of about 60 volunteers I found out that approximately 20 of them had gotten on a bus overnight to drive from Chennai to Bangalore to meet with my colleague Elizabeth and myself to share some of the good work that they are doing in their local community. Not only had they spent their night on the bus but they also took the day as a vacation day which is really incredible. Chennai is not on my list for my next visit to India in the hopefully not too distant future.
When you follow healthcare in India you will soon come across the name of Dr Devi Shetty, the Indian cardiac surgeon who has dedicated his life to making cutting-edge medical care affordable to the masses in India and lately also beyond the borders of India. He is not only one of the most charismatic people I have met but also a visionary and pioneer when it comes to utilzing technology in hospitals to remove human error. We have often called healthcare the last frontier of IT since the industry simply has not transformed itself the way other verticals like Finance and Media have gone through. There is still a lot of paper based communication going on and a lot of human errors have catastrophic results for the patients. Dr Shetty is working on a fully automated dashboard similarly to what our team has done with HP Labs and the Lucille Packard Hospital in the US. So we are looking at how we can further share our learnings and help them apply technology to drive efficiencies and better access for people in India to their health system.
It was an incredible week with fascinating and rich impressions and I very much look forward to returning to this beautiful country and the fabulous people I have met during my stay. The team deserves a big THANK YOU for putting this amazing trip together.