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September 30, 2016updated 05 Oct 2016 3:41pm

HP CEO: We are a people brand – not exclusive

A visit to HP's Silicon Valley labs offers a look at a roadmap.

By Ellie Burns

As one of two companies borne from one iconic organisation, HP Inc is on a mission to define its brand and company identity. As the one year anniversary of the split from Hewlett-Packard approaches, HP CEO Dion Weisler used HP Labs’ 50th anniversary as a vehicle in which to set out the kind of company he wants HP to be.

It was clear from the CEO’s address that HP Inc wants to be known as a brand for everyone, whereby diversity fuels innovation.

“As an organisation, as we have created the new HP, diversity is the cornerstone and the foundation of how we think about creating innovation,” said Weisler.

The HP CEO was bold in stating that he wants HP to be a ‘brand for the people’, with emphasis placed not on revenues or shareholders, but on how the company can impact society at large.

“This is a company really on the move, but we are on a move with a purpose. We have a very clear vision to make life better for everyone, everywhere. HP has always been a brand for the people, its not an exclusive brand.”

Showing that his vision is already being put into practise, the HP CEO talked about how the company boasts ‘one of the most diverse boards in corporate America’, with Chairwoman Meg Whitman making an appearance via video in order to throw further light on the company’s top level diversity.

Talking about how the boards were assembled following the split, HP’s chairwoman said:

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HP Chairwoman Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman made an appearance via video to echo Weisler’s comments about the importance of diversity at HP.

“First we had to take the existing set of board members and decide which ones should stay at HPE and which ones should go to HP Inc and then we said, what are the strengths and characteristics that we need when we took stock of the businesses that we are in. We thought about the kind of background that we would want and we also wanted to build in diversity – gender diversity, racial diversity, but also a diversity of perspectives and experiences.

HP is seemingly practising what they preach when it comes to the company slogan ‘keep reinventing’, with the company using HP Labs 50th birthday celebration as an exercise in corporate image. Notable were the absences in the CEO’s keynote – mere lip service was given over to the takeover of Samsung’s printer business, with the Hewlett-Packard split remaining somewhat of an elephant in the room – Labs was an asset split between the two newly created entities, but it remains unclear how large a chunk HPE took on its way to independence.

It wasn’t all image and brand identity at the 50th birthday of HP Labs, with HP CTO Shane Wall shifting the focus from diversity to four megatrends that will drive technology for the next 30 years. Setting out HP’s vision for the next 30 years, Wall detailed rapid urbanisation, changing demographics, hyper globalisation and accelerated innovation as the trends driving the future.

“When you look at the next thirty years, what you see is a rapid change in how we live where you start seeing mass urbanisation and we have it today,” said the HP CTO.

“When we look to the next thirty years there are going to be profound changes that will impact everything about how we interact, how we design products, how we manage precious resources.”

Wall spoke about how rapid urbanisation will give rise to 41 mega cities by 2030, with changing demographics seeing an expected 97% of the world’s growth in emerging markets. Hyper globalisation, according to the CTO, will see the emergence of China, India and Africa, while accelerated innovation will see smartphones a billion times more powerful than today’s devices.

This future landscape painted by Wall, gives rise to HP’s future mission to create ‘blended reality’ – a coming together of the digital and physical worlds where immersive experiences dominate everyday lives.

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