Qingtong Zhou is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Information Officer for Lenovo. In this position, Mr. Zhou is responsible for ensuring that Lenovo has the core systems in place to enable all Lenovo customers do business with Lenovo smoothly and all employees to work seamlessly in a virtual global workforce that is unified, productive, and efficient.
He is also responsible for driving business transformation at Lenovo, and is part of the company’s executive team leading integration efforts following the recent acquisitions of Motorola Mobility and IBM’s x86 server business. The inclusion of a Business Model Transformation team in the CIO organization allows Mr. Zhou to directly oversee both the strategy of transformation and the teams that create the fundamental tools and processes required to make transformation a reality.
Prior to being appointed to CIO, Mr. Zhou held several positions at Lenovo including: head of strategy and planning, CFO of China, and CFO of Lenovo Emerging Markets Group, among other roles in finance. Mr. Zhou received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Tsinghua University where he also received an MBA in General Management and, in between serving in Lenovo’s strategic planning department and leading the company’s financial strategy, he earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Having roots in engineering has allowed him to bring a unique perspective to managing both financial and technology aspects of Lenovo’s business. He credits a background in STEM as a contributor to successfully working across business and technology teams, connecting with Lenovo’s end user community and meeting the needs of today’s internet plus era.
At Lenovo, we view STEM education and its role in workforce development and talent management as critical to the future success of our company, our economy and maintaining global competitiveness. We’ve reached a transformational time in our industry: the Internet-plus era is changing the way to do everything from creating devices, using big data and connecting. IT is now linked much more directly to the consumer than in the past and as a result is positioned to play a much larger role in companies’ ultimate success.
This new IT professional requires a different set of skills. Through investment in STEM education and workforce development we can help empower young people with technology and build future leaders – not only for the US, but on a global scale.
Engineering and science are critical areas for a nation’s competitiveness in the global economy. The speed at which technology is advancing is in large part due to these roles. Technology is improving peoples’ lives every day. We enjoy things today we could not have imagined a few years ago.
Through education, we can encourage students to pursue STEM careers by introducing them to the many different elements and offerings of various technologies fields, which will ultimately help drive competitiveness.
Beyond developing core STEM baseline skills, a lot of change is happening in how young people perceive careers in technology. Globally there is a great deal of interest in technology startups. This is driving interest in getting an education that will support a career in technology. Technology careers are becoming sought after and “people are proud to be a geek.” It’s great that there are opportunities for young people to make money in technology.
In terms of producing candidates for technology jobs, there are really two parts to the education system. First there are the technology skills. The teaching of these skills may always be a little behind what is considered cutting edge as the nature of developing curricula keeps what is being taught a version behind. However, the second part, teaching critical thinking skills could be improved. We teach students how to get to a known answer with a certain formula or method but we don’t do as good of a job teaching students how to solve problems with no definitive answer. We need to do a better job of teaching students how to problem-solve as part of a team and how to lead.
At Lenovo, we do not limit the scope of our education related social investments, but rather take a more pragmatic approach in considering each opportunity based on its own merits. We support education-related programs and initiatives through our industry-leading products and technologies, community investments and program sponsorships. This includes donating equipment, providing financial contributions and lending expertise to schools and related organizations across all global markets. Lenovo supports global education investments in both K-12 and higher education with the goal of advancing, enhancing and extending education at all levels.
A great example of our commitment to STEM education is an innovative, multi-year program we have undertaken with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to bring a robust mobile app development curriculum and delivery program to NAF academies across the U.S. Known as the Lenovo Scholar Network, the program is designed to enrich high school students with an intensive application development curriculum to enable the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs.
The Lenovo Scholar Network encourages greater interest among underserved high school students in STEM subjects while providing them with high-tech skills to succeed in the 21st century. As part of their coursework over the 2014 – 2015 academic year, Lenovo Scholar Network students were given Lenovo PCs and tablets and tasked with designing, coding, developing, and testing a mobile app and creating a business plan to take the app to market. Students used the MIT Center for Mobile Learning’s App Inventor, a web-based tool for creating Android apps, to build and test their apps on Lenovo devices.
Additionally, in 2012 Lenovo expanded its relationship with The Harpeth Hall School for girls in Nashville, Tennessee, elevating The Center for STEM Education for Girls to an international scale. The partnership is providing the needed resources to collect and disseminate research in best practices in STEM classrooms at the secondary level, to attract international researchers and educators to an annual STEM conference, and to provide scholarship funds for both educators and students to participate in the Center’s STEM Think Tank and Conference and Summer Institute.
These are both incredibly valuable initiatives to drive interest in STEM education in the U.S. to a diverse audience of boys and girls, but even more so on a global scale where we can align these initiatives with Lenovo’s overarching corporate strategy to leverage diversity as a key competitive advantage.
Lenovo is a truly global company. Our leadership team is diverse and balanced with 7 nationalities in our top 12 leaders, while the top 100 executives hail from about 20 countries. This diversity in leadership and talent allows us to drive innovation and creativity at Lenovo by leveraging both the similarities and differences of our diverse, talented and global workforce.
Our culture, which is grounded in diversity, is what has enabled us to consistently raise the bar on delivering breakthrough innovations, award-winning designs and strong financial performance.
We call it The Lenovo Way — it’s the values we share and the business practices we deploy. It’s how we address our day-to-day commitments and is embodied in the statement: “We do what we say and we own what we do.”