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CONNECT WITH: THANDI DEMANET


Hi Thandi, please introduce yourself.

Hi! I’m Thandi, co-founder and director at Tessellate Advisory, a boutique firm that helps organisations adapt to and seize opportunities arising from the shift to a digital ecosystem-based economy. We help guide strategies and implement changes and shifts required internally to embrace and succeed in the future business landscape.

I’ve lived in 6 countries and worked with clients and partners across all continents and regions (except Antarctica!) This experience has engrained in me the importance of the human factor in business, even in tech-based business.

What are some criteria that you’ll be looking out for the awards?

I’ll be looking for initiatives that leverage communications technologies to contribute to resolving important issues and offers value not only in financial terms to businesses, but in terms of improving lives, societies and/or the planet. I’ll be looking for solutions the enhance quality of life, that “do good” through tech and digital advances.

I’ll also be looking for openness and collaboration, opportunities for growth and adaptation in the application of solutions and initiatives to other areas. As the ecosystem economy emerges, these will be key success factors.

Over the past few months I’ve had the great pleasure to engage with several start-ups and corporate innovation groups as well as multi-party collaboration initiatives and have been astounded by the ambition, vision and ingenuity. I can’t wait to see more

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation in the workspace – do you think we’ll ever see a society where remote working becomes the norm? What will it take to get there?

I do think remote working will become the norm. We were already seeing this upward trend as new generations enter the workforce and born digital nomads, autonomous, self-motivated and curious. We also the gig economy rapidly growing, and this will inevitably lead to remote work as individuals manage their own time and priorities, creating and evolving their portfolio careers. The traditional 9-to-5 and 40+ year career isn’t going to work for this or generation or ones to come. The social and psychological impacts are another matter though as instability, uncertainty and lack of a solid and close network of work-based friends diminishes. On the plus side, as we’ve seen through the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many advantages such as more time to spend with family, on hobbies, learning new skills, etc. as well as for benefits for companies which realise they don’t need such huge office spaces and for the environment as people commute less.

There was a massive push across all industries to offer digital products in order to stay afloat during COVID – what were some of the more innovative products you saw?

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) had to orchestrate an immediate shift to video consultations and telemedicine, an enormous undertaking. In select catchment areas, long-term telehealth plans have been executed in 15 days or less. With one of the world’s largest organizations able to build a robust digital capability almost overnight, old assumptions about what it takes to go digital are being rapidly overturned. Adoption rates have soared as there was no other option during the peak of lockdown and the changes are here to stay.

The use of drones and robots in South Korea has been exemplary. The country is swiftly moving to what President Moon Jae-in is calling “untact” in contrast to “contact”. Technologies are also being adapted and simplified to make them more accessible to ageing groups and the country is aiming to connect over 1000 farming and fishing villages with high speed internet, is providing thousands of tablets to pupils and students and is fostering the use of robots, automation and self-service anywhere possible. This allows people to carry on with a semblance of day to day activities and normality but will also have significant impacts on psychological and physical wellbeing which I won’t get into here.

I think the education sector globally and from primary to tertiary (not to mention parents!) needs to be applauded for it’s adaptation to this unprecedented and frankly debilitating situation. There have been many new offerings for digital education support both offered as tools for schools but also directly to students.

Also, not really an innovation to stay afloat but:

As a yoga instructor, I was concerned about everyone jumping on the online yoga bandwagon without expert assistance on alignment which could lead to injuries. I met an inventor and entrepreneur who had created a smart mirror which detects body movement and positioning and can signal when a pose in not being done correctly. She invented this several years ago and had since gone on to other things, but I’m sure had the timing been right to coincide with the pandemic, she could have been in with a chance at the $500 million Lululemon are acquiring Mirror, a 2-in-1 mirror and screen broadcasting fitness classes, announced in June.


Will ConnecTechAsia be the first fully virtual event you’ll be attending/speaking at? How do you feel about the show going virtual?

It won’t be the first, but it will be the largest and most diverse, I’m looking forward to it! It’s very unfortunate that so many events have either been cancelled or move online, but we all have to adapt! While the advantages of a live event can’t fully be replicated online, and connections are not the same online as in person, I very much look forward to meeting new innovators and leaders!

Finally, what do you like doing in your spare time?

Of course, spending time with family and friends has become even more valuable recently.

As mentioned, I’m a qualified yoga instructor and I also enjoy trying new sports and activities. I’m passionate about arts, culture and languages and very very much miss travelling!

Learn more about the awards and meet judge Thandi Demanet at ConnecTechAsia 2020, happening 29th September - 1st October. Register your visit here.