Honeywell CEO hails pandemic-driven DX innovation

Pictured: Que Dallara, President and CEO, Honeywell Connected Enterprise

 

The CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise has described how the pandemic has helped speed up the company’s programme of digital transformation.

 

Que Dallara, president and CEO of Honeywell, said that by deploying the right digital solutions, Honeywell has been able to speed up employee productivity and product innovation, and also improve customer experiences, despite 21 months of hardly any face-to-face interaction and forced collaboration via screens.

 

She pointed out how innovation is in the company’s DNA: “Honeywell invented unleaded petrol, we created technology for 85% of the world’s biodegradable detergents, we design and build large-scale manufacturing plants,” she explained. “Honeywell has been a part of innovation, whether it’s in energy or safety or security. We’ve been a part of every US space mission.”

 

Dallara explained how the pandemic affected plans for transformation: “It has shown us the need to move even more of our processes online. Anything that can be digitized will be digitized. We can now see how information technology and operational technology data will converge and open up opportunities to drive performance in a way that it can’t today.”

 

She said DX has also improves the employee experience, leading to better customer service experiences and business growth.

 

Dallara said Honeywell’s main DX partner has been Salesforce: “Its Customer 360 helps with three areas,” she explained. “One is around managing our thousands of customers and thousands of sellers, and we couldn’t do this without software that helps us keep it together. Two is around our field service organization. And again, we have thousands of frontline workers in this area. And then last, we use it in HR to handle our employee service cases. Connecting multiple departments through one integrated platform enables Honeywell to provide a 360-degree view of data.”

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

 

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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