The journey to establish the position of a leading enterprise in innovation

“Innovate or die” – that is one of the most famous maxims of the “father” of modern business administration Peter Drucker. This perspective summarizes the important difference between businesses (enterprises) willing to innovate, create, break through and those that fail.

In the world, there have been many bloody lessons on innovation that many giant enterprises, including companies with a tradition of hundreds of years, had to pay dearly like Nortel, Nokia or Yahoo. !. In 2000, at its peak, Nortel employed 90,000 people and had a market capitalization of $250 billion. Due to various reasons, including slow technological innovation, in 2009 Nortel was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

Similarly, Nokia once held up to 41% of the global market share, a record that will be difficult for any company to replicate. However, by 2013, change was slow, while an explosive technology storm engulfed the illustrious Nokia. Likewise is the lesson of Yahoo!, the once icon of the Internet was once valued at 128 billion USD but also collapsed when “sleeping on victory”.

The story of Nortel, Nokia or Yahoo is always mentioned as a vivid and profound lesson for businesses about having to constantly change and innovate to get a competitive advantage in the context of what technology has been doing. drastically transform the world as well as traditional business models.

In 2021, along with Turkey (ranked 41st), India (46) and the Philippines (51st), Vietnam (44) is one of the four middle-income countries recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is assessed as catching up with the increasing momentum of the global innovation index.

In Vietnam, the Military Industry and Telecommunications Group (Viettel) was assessed by Clarivate – a leading international organization for analyzing the quality of scientific research – as the most influential Vietnamese enterprise on innovation in 2021. South Asia and Southeast Asia regions.

Clarivate assessed Viettel as the leading technology corporation in global innovation in 2021 with 4 criteria: number of patents; number of citations; patent success and degree of globalization. This is the result of a journey spanning more than a decade, starting with aspiration, realized with persistence and thinking differently.

According to Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung, Head of Viettel’s Strategy Department, innovation in Viettel’s view includes two aspects: innovations in technology, inventions and innovations that form new business models.

In the field of research and production, Viettel has mastered all equipment in its telecommunications network, which is the largest and most modern network in Vietnam, among the top 30 in the world. With Viettel’s efforts, Vietnam has become one of six countries to successfully develop 5G in less than three years, after the technology was first introduced in 2018.

“The fact that Viettel laid the foundation for 5G as well as many other technologies shows that Vietnam has the ability to approach global advanced technologies if determined,” said Viettel Group’s Head of Strategy.

In forming a new business model, Viettel has made great changes in business structure. After the transition, from a telecommunications enterprise, Viettel has become a technology corporation with 4 main fields: Telecommunications (domestic and foreign, investment and infrastructure leasing); Information technology solutions and digital services (Infrastructure services, IT solutions, cybersecurity, cyberspace, digital finance, digital media and entertainment); Research and production High-tech industry (defense industry, civil); Delivery, logistics and trade.

In the world, when it comes to technology, research, production and establishment of intellectual property rights, it is something that any company or organization must pay attention to very early in order to maintain a competitive advantage and protect it. self.

“It is very clear that an organization that wants to have a position in the high-tech market must have intellectual property, Viettel has invested very early in this issue,” said Chairman and General Director of Viettel Tao. Duc Thang said.

In the 10 years from 2011 to 2021, Viettel has 79 thousand initiatives and ideas (SKYT), an average of one new idea every hour. Of these, more than 10,000 health care systems have been recognized, bringing in more than VND 5,300 billion worth of benefits.

Viettel currently has 51 patents in Vietnam, 11 patents in the US, 220 core technologies, 150 scientific publications… By 2025, Viettel aims to submit about 470 applications. patent signing.

According to engineer Cu Xuan Hung – Technology Technology Center, Viettel High-Tech Industry Corporation, Viettel’s innovative research process is a long and persistent journey with many efforts when there is no road ahead of Viettel. which is open.

“After many failed attempts, each time we gained a little bit of experience and knowledge. Finally, from the initial initial ideas, we sketch and refine to come up with a final, breakthrough and more creative idea. Creativity often comes from small things,” said engineer Hung.

According to Mr. Tao Duc Thang, innovation for Viettel is because of the existence and development of the corporation. “It is not because of creativity that Viettel chooses to work hard, but because Viettel’s existence poses challenging tasks. If Viettel no longer sees a challenge or a difficult job, it means that Viettel has put an end to it,” Thang said.

In fact, due to the competitive landscape, innovation is now no longer an option but a mandatory requirement. Innovation is likened to a marathon in which each enterprise is forced to become an innovative enterprise to a certain extent in order to survive and develop.

According to the head of Viettel, during its 33 years of construction and development, each period Viettel has continuously had unique and breakthrough innovations, contributing to creating a strong Viettel today.

Over the past 10 years, the value of major brands of the international telecommunications industry has declined at a remarkable rate. Especially the emergence of technology empires such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have constantly expanded encroachment into the traditional “territory” of the telecommunications industry.

The introduction of Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging service around 2010 and later voice and video call applications completely changed the mobile phone usage habits of global users. This means that the traditional revenue of telecommunications carriers is negatively affected.

Recognizing this trend early, in recent years Viettel has quickly carried out a comprehensive transformation. In 2020, Viettel basically completed the transformation from a telecommunications enterprise into a digital service provider.

And even in 2020, Viettel’s total revenue of digital services grew by 27.7% compared to 2019. This number is twice as high as the growth rate of Vietnam’s IT industry (14.7%). . Especially, Viettel’s brand value has doubled since deciding to transform into a pioneer and key enterprise in creating digital society since 2018.

According to a popular concept, small businesses and startups are considered to have the advantage of being more flexible and creative than large enterprises. However, Mr. Cao Duc Thang said that this is only partially true. “Innovation and creativity are the work of all businesses if they want to develop,” the head of Viettel affirmed.

According to Mr. Tao Duc Thang, leading companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon have a scale of trillions of dollars but are extremely creative because “they know that if they don’t continuously innovate, they will die”. In contrast, small businesses and organizations that do not value innovation and differentiation are unlikely to succeed.

“With Viettel, a lot of work has to be done in the context of global competition in the Americas and Africa markets. In the country, the competition is also very fierce, spreading evenly in telecommunications services, digital services, high-tech industry… All of which requires innovation,” said Mr. Tao Duc Thang.

Mr. Tao Duc Thang emphasized, Viettel has created a lot of pressure on its own, requiring a breakthrough and creative way of doing things, because “just working on average will not be able to develop quickly”. Therefore, Viettel has many ways to promote innovation.

The first is to set challenging goals to force a breakthrough.

The second is to divide the big work, in each organization there are very creative groups, no one can do it for anyone.

Third, innovation must be ingrained in the subconscious mind of each employee as well as the will of the leader.

Viettel’s chairman said that in Viettel’s vision, innovation is not to bring its own wealth. Instead, those innovations must bring prosperity to both Viettel, society and the people. Therefore, when creating a product or service, in addition to ensuring profits so that it can be compensated and reinvested, Viettel always has to calculate that “services and products may be exclusive but must think about people.” Can people use it, can it meet their pocketbook?”

“Innovations help Viettel overcome many difficulties and challenges. It is the same challenges that help Viettel to innovate to realize its goals. That is also the way for Viettel to reach the position of a large global corporation”, said Mr. Tao Duc Thang.

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