The IT Challenge. Do you accept?

“Whatever your line of business, in today’s environment, innovation and the efficient and ethical use of data, are two of the most prominent factors in a business’ success or failure.”

Republic Bank Executive Director, Derwin Howell shared this while speaking at the recent Tech Hub Islands Summit hosted by AMCHAM. At Republic Bank, we’ve always invested in ensuring that as a leading financial institution we remain committed to the practical and modern tech solutions, and training that are key to our advancement.

Embracing technology is no longer an option, it’s our future. It has become one of the most difficult challenges for institutions, societies and countries to accept and move towards. Artificial Intelligence is just one example of the many technological innovations that we expect to realign and even, reduce the need for Human Resources in the traditional sense, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the transition towards technology should be seen as an opportunity to develop other sectors and supporting initiatives. Introducing training and creating new and exciting opportunities for advancement and specialisation in other fields must be pursued almost simultaneously and in a comprehensive, integrated manner if we are to make the most of these new tools.

In this case over the years at our Bank we have embraced a tiered, holistic approach that ranges from encouraging staff to look to continuous education with recognised tertiary institutions that may range from training courses and certified programmers to fully fledged degrees. We also have in-house training sessions as well as mentoring to encourage staff to embrace new technology and processes.

But the overall, core message is in providing staff with an understanding of the path, the next steps and that change will help us all to succeed.

As Bill Gates said, collaboration as well as innovation are key, “technology is just a tool...and the teacher is the most important.”

We are all teachers and students – embracing change is ineffective if there is not a welcoming of questioning and learning.

Along with this move towards embracing technology there must also be a commitment to rewarding and recognizing creativity and critical thinking. Technology must not be an excuse to interrupt our own story and our ability to reflect and day dream. The ultimate goal is to embrace a greater understanding of ourselves and our world through reading, music, exercise – all contributing to overall health and intellectual innovation. It was through this manner of combination play – learning the violin along with long walks, reading, painting and thinking – that Albert Einstein was able to create his theory of relativity. Many artists were able to create their best work through combination play – and it is a manner of living and creating equanimity that perhaps we should all embrace.

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