Inside Silicon Valley: Executive Study Tour to San Francisco - HKU SPACE
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Inside Silicon Valley: Executive Study Tour to San FranciscoEvent Recap

Group photo at Golden Gate Bridge

Group photo at Golden Gate Bridge

Delegates attended the workshop “Design Thinking @ Silicon Valley Model” conducted by Mr. John Stoddard in the INSEEC Business School San Francisco.

Delegates attended the workshop “Design Thinking @ Silicon Valley Model” conducted by Mr. John Stoddard in the INSEEC Business School San Francisco.

Visit at Intel

Visit at Intel

One of delegates Mr. Terrence Annamunthodo, Managing Director of Perpetuum Wealth Management, shared his inspiration from the tour.

One of delegates Mr. Terrence Annamunthodo, Managing Director of Perpetuum Wealth Management, shared his inspiration from the tour.

Visit at Facebook

Visit at Facebook

Sharing from Plickers

Sharing from Plickers

Group photo with Mr. Shawn Dehpanah, Vice President, Partnership and Corporate Innovation for APAC, Plug and Play Tech Centre

Group photo with Mr. Shawn Dehpanah, Vice President, Partnership and Corporate Innovation for APAC, Plug and Play Tech Centre

Delegates received their statement of attendance in Napa Valley.

Delegates received their statement of attendance in Napa Valley.

HKU SPACE Executive Academy (SEA) partnered with Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce’s Young Executives Club (YEC) to co-organize an Executive Study Tour to San Francisco.

Delegates from a range of industries joined the six-day programme from 19-24 August, which included business lectures, company visits and networking. This exclusive mission gave them the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the latest innovations and technology transformations in Silicon Valley.

Executive learning
Strategic thinking and design thinking can help business leaders find practical and creative solutions to problems and drive future growth. These concepts were covered in two executive entrepreneurship workshops delivered during the tour.

Professor Edison Tse, Director of the Asia Center of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, gave a lecture on “Traditional Enterprise Innovative Transformation.” This is an important topic for Hong Kong’s many SMEs in traditional sectors that are facing a rapidly changing business environment. “At Stanford we learned about the different levels of innovation, from incremental innovation to disruptive innovation,” said Mr. Matthew Man, President and CEO of Megasoft.

Delegates also attended the “Design Thinking @ Silicon Valley Model” workshop by Mr. John Stoddard at the INSEEC Business School. Stoddard discussed the design thinking methodology, which applies strategies from the design world to wider use in business. They reported that these lectures had helped them learn more about the importance of customer journey mapping, and inspired them with some creative ideas on business development.

Visiting global giants
There were also a number of corporate visits including some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.

“There was much to learn from the way they organize their working spaces among other things,” Mr. Terrence Annamunthodo, Managing Director of Perpetuum Wealth Management said. “We were able to see the places and meet some of the players in the world’s best technology ecosystem. We came to appreciate how far behind Hong Kong is and how much work will have to be done if it is to have any chance of participating in this sector.”

Google’s Business Development Lead, Ms. Cindy Gao, gave a presentation about the company’s work culture when the delegation visited the company’s headquarters. She also discussed its recruitment and selection process, and how Google manages the development of different projects.

Tesla offered a tour of their manufacturing plant in Fremont, which is currently manufacturing the company’s Model X and Model S. After the factory visit, Mr. Zhang Wei Long, Senior Product Engineer, gave an overview of the technology and design of Tesla’s electric cars.

The packed schedule also included a visit to the headquarters of Intel and Airbnb.

Start-up ecosystem
Besides visiting some of the biggest names, the delegates also had the opportunity to explore Silicon Valley’s start-up and innovation ecosystem.

The Plug and Play Tech Centre is an innovation platform that brings start-ups and large corporations together. Mr. Shawn Dehpanah, Vice President, Partnership and Corporate Innovation for APAC, introduced the company’s role as an incubator and accelerator. Plug and Play has seen significant success with companies it has invested in, including Dropbox and PayPal. Delegates said they were inspired by these stories and by the different innovative business ideas and marketing strategies that have successfully evolved.

Delegates also visited an Asia-focused incubation hub, One Piece. Mr. Gao Da Fu, Head of Community, shared his thoughts on the opportunities for start-ups in the Asia market, and explained how One Piece can assist. Two pitches were presented to members by start-ups currently based at One Piece – Internet of Things platform Nodle, and Plickers, which creates teaching tools.

Ms. Bonnie Lai, Director of Business Development and Administration at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, noted that such incubation facilities have an important role to play in encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I think Hong Kong business people tend to ‘miss’ the incubation part of how Silicon Valley VCs think,” she said. “They seem to forget that start-up companies need solid guidance and business knowledge during the incubation period – which help start-ups to succeed. That’s where Plug & Play’s role is critical to the success of any start-up companies they take on. They teach and nurture.”

Beyond business
In addition to the company visits and lectures, delegates visited some of San Francisco’s tourist spots including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Civic Center. They also took a short trip to visit Napa Valley for a wine-tasting session at St Supery Vineyard and Winery followed by lunch at the Brix Restaurant and Garden.

Delegates reported that they had learned how leaders can evolve amid the current digital transformation, and how companies should encourage disruptive innovation.

SEA would like to thank the Chamber for the joint effort in putting the programme together, as well as other companies that contributed to make this Executive Tour a huge sucess.

Executive Business Mission Tour is one of the signature programmes of SEA. This programme aims to provide an opportunity to business executives so as to foster international perspectives on global markets and economies, political environments, cultural diversity and innovative enterprise management. It also offers an occasion of networking with business leaders from around the world and develop a global vision and mindset. We are going to launch more Executive Business Mission and Study Tours. Hope that you could join us in the upcoming programmes as your business adventure.

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