Tech can bring markets together and promote inclusive diversity

Diversity is a driver for better decision-making, performance and innovation.

Diageo was born as a global and diverse multinational FMCG company, but the rise of technology is helping us unlock that strength like never before. My team, the Centre of Digital Excellence, is based at our London HQ but has key members across the world who are as critical to shaping our strategy as those physically in the room. 

Embracing technological advances, we’re now able to capture the strongest ideas from our business (which operates in 180 countries), many inspired by unique local conditions and challenges, and then rapidly scale them. Collaboration, connectivity and communication are being effortlessly embedded in the business, undoubtedly bolstering our core values of diversity and inclusivity, and empowering every employee.  

The global nature of Diageo means one of our greatest strengths is the fusion of cultures, backgrounds and perspectives in our work. Connecting with colleagues across the globe is a vital part of our growth and success; digital platforms lead us to better, more relevant work at a global level that will be better received at a local level. 

Virtual-presence tech and collaborative cloud software provide consistent, high-quality communication, helping us to create, analyse and discuss simultaneously and smarter. These tools enable better face-to-face, relationship-building conversations across great distances; we can work on complex projects without losing members of our team to their email inboxes. 

I am a big believer in diversity being a driver for better decision-making, performance and innovation

I’ve seen how our digital workplace creates a positive and more productive environment in which people feel closer to their colleagues and more open about sharing their own challenges and questions. The transparency these technologies facilitate goes beyond our internal community, and extends to our external partner relationships. We work with agencies around the world using technologies such as these for a more collaborative and open environment and to make them feel part of our extended family.

Working in a global digital team that truly reflects the business’ international footprint, I am a big believer in diversity being a driver for better decision-making, performance and innovation. Different markets have different challenges, but we have found that working together, fusing data, technology and marketing into one creative force, is key to driving transformation.

Digital is redefining how our organisation will operate in the future, allowing us to share insights, fundamental to daily cross-border decision-making, with ease and at pace. 

As a digital leader, thinking differently with an entrepreneurial spirit is key to ensuring that everything we do is relevant for the consumer of tomorrow.

Ben Sutherland is the chief digital officer at Diageo.

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