Philip Smith, Xynteo's chief operating officer and executive vice-president of our 'Europe Delivers' (ED) programme, recently moderated a panel on digitalisation and sustainability. Fresh from his participation, Philip tells us why he is excited about the role digital technology plays in a sustainable future.
The power of digital transformation
The Masters of Digital annual conference in Brussels brought together over 400 senior representatives from the digital industry, as well as senior representatives from EU institutions and national governments.
During his panel discussion with Christel Heydemann, President of Schneider-Electric France; Laurence Tubiana, CEO of European Climate Foundation; Stefaan Vergote of DG CLIMA for the European Commission; and Krista Huhtala-Jenks, Head of Go to Market, Maas Global, Philip discussed how digitalisation is transforming Europe into a world-class sustainable continent.
The speed and scale of change present us with a raft of tremendously 'wicked problems' that we need to collaborate to overcome. Amongst the topics discussed were the future of the energy markets and the concept of 'prosumers', the massive scale of the impact the ICT sector can bring to decarbonisation and how ICT can support rapid scaling of interventions and mobilise higher levels of informed consumer engagement.
Sustainability, first and foremost
Philip started his career in the British military, leading teams in various operational theatres. "Challenging places where you can see the very best of humanity and the very worst of it in the span of a day," he says. It is this experience that reminds him of an African proverb: "we have borrowed the present from our children".
This mindset drives him to help solve human problems at a systems level. After meeting a Norwegian serial clean-tech investor, he saw the potential in clean-tech to change the way we grow and power ourselves.
After this, he completed an MBA, focusing on the UK renewable energy market, which was sponsored by IBM - the multi-national IT services and consulting company - where he led consulting and services relationships across Europe and globally.
"As a father to two children, I often think of how do we preserve the magnificent, crazily complex, very fragile and interdependent ecological system we live in," he says.
He is not only dedicated to environmental sustainability, but also to the wealth and job creation that it will drive.
"I am inspired daily by the breadth of Xynteo's work and by the energy, curiosity, creativity, passion, courage, ability, kindness, humility and integrity of our people. I believe that we are truly privileged to work at the intersection of human need and business opportunity every day," he concludes.
Europe Delivers is a platform with a mission to mobilise European leaders to drive a new kind of growth that secures the wellbeing of European citizens today – and for generations to come. Our vision for growth is one that works with nature, not against it; delivers value across generations, not financial quarters and election cycles; and creates prosperity and wellbeing for all Europeans, not just a privileged few.
You can also read the report "A new kind of growth for Europe" here.