As it focuses on developing education around the world, Lenovo has begun to build a global vision to bring smarter technology to underserved groups which began last year with a corporate campaign ‘Smarter Technology for All’, crossing 12 markets and running in 13 languages (see below).
Created by the company’s in-house creative team, the work ran over out-of-home advertising, cinema, TV and digital, and social media across key regions that included China, US, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, and Mexico with the aim of telling the stories of how Lenovo’s customers were making an impact around the world.
“We believe what distinguishes Lenovo is when you see instances of smarter technology, it is being brought forward by multiple organizations already. But the ability, in a sense, to be egalitarian and really bring it for everybody is something that we believe that as an organization we're uniquely positioned to do,” outlines Bhaskar Choudhuri, chief marketing officer, Lenovo Asia Pacific to The Drum’s deputy head of content Charlotte McEleny while speaking as part of The Drum’s Can-Do Festival.
“Then the realization came that if we are to, therefore, translate our vision, you have to do it in a manner tp translate it in an inner sense, in terms of the benefit that is commonly understood by end consumers in these markets, and mostly I'm talking about developing markets like India. That was the germ of the idea to see what could be a possible benefit that we can look at providing which brings alive our vision of smarter technology for all for consumers in a market like India.”
He continues to explain that there is a deficit of teaching professionals in India – around one million teachers, a problem that Lenovo chose to help solve which has been a focus for the last eight months and opens up the question as to whether a brand such as Lenovo should even enter into the problem in the first place.
“The education sector over the last 10-to-15 years, especially with digital coming in, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of innovation coming in and you have multiple examples worldwide, whether it is the Khan Academies of the world and you have some great examples, even from India, like ByJu's where using digital platforms, education has been brought forward and made accessible to a significant proportion of the population, which, which hitherto didn't have access to it. And especially when you look at large geographies or developing countries, you will find that the biggest problem of education is of accessibility.”
He goes on to add the view that by taking out ‘the middle man’ and helping bring a tech supplier face-to-face with a consumer, access to technological innovation in education will happen with more ease, citing the growth in volunteer teaching applications within a month of the campaign beginning at around 10,000.
Choudhuri turns his attention away from India as he cites an example of coding becoming an essential skill for children to be taught in Japan, according to its government and seeking to invest in partners such as Lenovo to help teach students, a project that has supplied an of more than 78,000 PCs units to provide training.
“We'll see how we can really help the government to provide that,” he states before offering another example with work going on in Australia which is also looking to invest in coding, but for girls and in Southeast Asia where another campaign is running to improve digital technology within schools.
“So not only are we providing machines, but we are also looking at networking capabilities of the land part of it and how well they can, therefore, communicate with students in school and in certain times even in remote areas, but more importantly, significantly investing in teacher training,” he adds, citing the familiarity that youngsters have with digital platforms from an early age as meaning that students may have more experience and knowledge than their teacher in some instances.
“Therefore, how do you upskill the teacher and also bring about a change of attitude because no matter how much you upskill you have to understand that the student is a digital native?” A situation that can mean some students are held back when more adept than the person providing the education, which is even more difficult for both parties.
Questioned on how he sees technology enabling education as a solution, he offers an example of a field trip to perhaps the Smithsonian Museum for students all around the world, using virtual reality; “That is what is possible if we can bring that benefit at scale. That's what the future of education will look like, in terms of what Lenovo can provide.”
During the discussion (watch above), Choudhuri also spoke about the brand’s experiences during lockdown with the Coronavirus pandemic and his views on whether brands that serve and market themselves around a chosen purpose are more successful or not.