What Does It Take To Be A Game-Changer?

Insights and perspectives from a diverse set of game-changers at Perspectives with Vyn 2023.

“An event, idea, or procedure that affects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something.” is how the Oxford English dictionary defines a game-changer. 

Perspectives is a unique, exciting, and inspiring flagship event hosted by Vyntelligence every year at which you’re guaranteed education, business excellence and insights into the future. At this year’s Perspectives event, we asked you to define what it means to be a game changer. Amongst statements such as “bold!”, “unafraid to fail” and “resilient against push backs” from the audience, we were lucky enough to hear from a diverse set of 6 speakers who shared their insights, through the art of storytelling, on what it means to be a game-changer in today’s climate.

Carlos Moreira, EDP: The game-changing impact of working with partners in the future of green energy 

Our first speaker, employing the joys of technology, joined the event virtually. Carlos Moreira, a member of the Client Solutions management team at EDP, leads the field operations for solar, energy management and smart mobility across Europe. Carlos kicked off the event by reminding us that climate change is no less than a reality. He mentioned that to simply reach the Paris Agreement, we would need to globally reduce carbon emissions by 45% within the next decade. And after the complete introduction of solar and wind energy, a further 2.8 million blue collar workers will be needed by 2030 within the operational, construction, and maintenance sectors of the industry. This statistic alone implies the level of efficiency and effort that is required to make the transition to green energy. We need people that currently don’t exist. 

That’s where we need to collaborate with innovative technologies to fill the gaps left by a lack of resources. EDP are changing the game by partnering with Vyn, allowing the organisation to reduce the need for transportation by 2000 technical trips per year, therefore mitigating the effects of climate change.

“Great change is not achieved by one company, it is achieved by the partnership of multiple companies.”

Carlos Moreira, Member of Client Solutions Leadership Team, EDP

Nandu Nandkishore, Nestlé: How do you manage disruption whilst creating the culture to be a game changer? 

Collaboration and change can be difficult. Even the strongest, most robust processes will need to change at some point. Our second and keynote speaker of the evening presented his eye-opening perspective on being a game changer in the face of disruption, talking from experience as an expert global executive with leadership roles at Nestlé and teaching roles at London Business School and Indian School of Business. Nandu Nandkishore shared his secret to success and how that is manipulated within the current era of change. Nandu stated that change is all around us, some ways more obvious than others. “Let’s look at Japan, where one in four citizens are over the age of 65. Their population is ageing, and therefore experiencing the gradual shift in work, production, and government priorities. Now bring this to a global scale our urban species used to be agrarian”. 

Everywhere, everyday, there is change. Nandu even took us back 65 million years, to the age of the dinosaurs. In that world, the key principles of success were size, strength, and where one stood in the food chain. But where are the dinosaurs now? The fact is, those who survive and excel are those who can adapt to the ever-changing world. And this is what Nandu aimed to teach. Disruption should not always be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity for change.

“Disruption is a niche, not something that we should ignore, but instead as something to adopt and respond to.”

Nandu Nandkishore, Global executive with former leadership roles at Nestle

Emily Timmins, Anglian Water: A game-changer’s optimal state for growth: on their tip toes

Now, let’s look at something closer to home. Every change champion would agree that creating adaptable, collaborative processes isn’t just difficult but also takes time. Emily Timmins, Director of Water Recycling at Anglian Water and a strong advocate for a focus on the behavioural impact of team and business culture shared her secret sauce on how to empower a team of game-changers. Emily conveyed that every leader needs to drive three qualities into their team: accountability, belief, and collaboration. 

She explained that, within her position as a leader of operational teams, her teams needed belief to simply start executing their plans. They needed to be guided to move with intent. The direction or the goal is irrelevant at this point. Once you’ve got movement, then you install accountability.

“Often in times of crisis, we become stiff, curl up and initiate fight or flight mode. What we need to do is entirely the opposite – open up and ask for support.”

Emily Timmins, Director of Water Recycling, Anglian Water

Complimenting that with small things such as celebrating failures and uplifting wins then cements belief across your teams. A team that holds strong accountability and has a steadfast belief is then open for successful collaboration. These structured improvements build a strong base of intention, dedication, and commitment upon which more complex concepts and technologies could be applied. 

Emily’s perspective on “being a game-changing leader is about patience” and the need to collaborate with their teams, showcasing “commitment for what you’re doing, to inspire, to empower, and to foster that transformational power” that is released through communication.

Anthony Bull, Cadent Gas: Understanding the experience of working with people is the game-changer

Do insights always come from high levels of experience? What scale do game-changers operate at? Vyn invited Anthony Bull, Customer Project and Insight Specialist at Cadent Gas, to provide a younger insightful perspective on what it means to be a game changer. A true Vynner, he is passionate about fostering relationships and collaboration to elevate customer experience. Within the gas industry, Anthony has been working on digital transformation from a paper-based work style into innovative platforms that help improve productivity and deliver a better experience. 

Anthony shared that initially, the idea was rejected as older colleagues were less likely to collaborate with a younger, less experienced employee. However, after branching out and actually talking to the team, Anthony was able to understand their working intentions and goals. This allowed him to pick out areas of enthusiasm, and apply this energy into driving new change away from the status quo. People that want to see you succeed, that know you, that take interest in your work, are more likely to help you achieve your goals. Anthony discussed how having empathy for others will enhance the development made by all workers. It’s the relationships that achieve successful change. 

He concluded that collaborations with sustainable innovators like Vyntelligence and their AI technology are fantastic, so long as everyone is involved and collaborating along the journey of changing the game. 

“New processes are useful, but without bringing the people along the journey with you, no change will happen.”

Anthony Bull, Customer Project and Insight Specialist, Cadent Gas

Grant Cowans, Telent: Traffic lights: the necessity that changed the game

Talking about getting people on board game-changing technologies, what about game-changing projects? We were privileged to hear from Grant Cowans, Head of Operations (ARP) at Telent – a pioneer for championing innovation across large scale projects. Grant revealed that 25% of the UK’s traffic lights are in Central London. Moreover, London is known to have more traffic lights than the entirety of the UK combined. Taking on a maintenance project for these traffic lights, Telent had to find a better way to improve  Grant shared that the legacy process of working with traffic lights, digging up the road, was ineffective as it negatively impacted the society, economy, and environment. So how did Telent employ a game changing solution? 

Change, innovation, and empowerment. Each quality works towards the other. Telent actually built Oxford Circus indoors, recreating every set of traffic lights in the area to monitor the time taken by pedestrians and vehicles as well as the ability to sense motion and distance. By recreating the environment through the new plug and play system, the 9 month programme was shortened to 3 months. Grant and his team proved that if you consider heart and mind, if you prioritise the people affected, you can visualise and innovate with more conviction and direction, thus creating game changing solutions.  

“Empowerment, innovation, change – empowerment to make the innovation to lead the change –that’s how you become a game changer.”

Grant Cowans, Head of Operations (ARP), Telent

Kapil Singhal, Vyntelligence: AI and empathy: the real game-changer

Perspectives is fortunate enough to obtain real-life experiences from the game changers of today. So, to conclude, we invited the person who catalysed the word ‘Vynner’ to close off the event. Co-Founder and CEO of Vyntelligence, Kapil Singhal, shared his perspective on AI’s functionality and practicality as a game changer. After summarising the previous perspectives from across water, gas and transport industries, Kapil had a solid base to refer to when discussing the structuring of a functioning society. He posed the question “how can AI amplify our progress as a species?” 

Turns out, a current OpenAI process has about 90 billion different variables. The human brain has 90 billion neurons that are employed when processing information. This puts humanity and AI on par, in 2023. Kapil explained that we need to involve AI and take advantage of its ability. For example, back in 2013, Vyn had to think: what was the game changing solution we needed to introduce into the utility market? The answer was: videos. Videos are the highest reachable quality of data presentation in today’s world. Taking a short video to report something reduces long journeys, uses less resources on maintenance and operational teams, and most importantly results in a happier customer. 

That was our first game changing solution. But as society and technology evolves at a rapid pace, we now need to think again. How can we employ the benefits of AI to their best potential, and combine that with the human qualities of emotional intelligence and empathy? Kapil left the audience with the statement that “this is just the beginning”.

“There will always be more change, which is exactly why the world will always need game changers.”

Kapil Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder, Vyntelligence

So what does it really take to be a game changer? How do we as leaders elevate the production, innovation, and transformational power in today’s workforce?

We collaborate. We control. We commit. These qualities form the foundation upon which we can change the game. The stories shared at Perspectives 2023 are deeply celebrated because they introduce a fresh mindset for growth and brilliance. We are grateful to each of the fabulous speakers, and hope that every invitee and reader of this blog has learnt something new about the game changers of our society and go on to change the game themselves.

Watch the full playback of the event.

Get insights from last year’s Perspectives with Vyn.