Tech company affirms diversity as key to innovation


    by Deriq T. Bernard

    SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurship, especially in the Philippine digital technology requires thoughtful problem-solving, an extensive understanding of issues and the context in which they exist.

    For Patrick Gentry, CEO and co-founder of Sprout Solutions, this means drawing on the diverse knowledge and experience of everyone in his organization.

    According to Gentry “servant leadership” is their key approach to corporate governance.

    Beyond transparency and compliance, this style of stakeholder engagement has helped the company foster an environment that provides employees at all levels the opportunity to influence Sprout’s direction as an organization.

    “That kind of approach to leadership is extremely appealing to the high-level resources that are coming up through the ranks right now. Those people that are between 30 and 40 that have 10 years of experience under their belt, they really look for that style of leadership and that style of government,” noted Gentry.

    He explained that servant leadership encourages employees to voice out their opinions to steer a business towards optimum impact for everyone affected by its operations. This is particularly advantageous to digital technology companies, who need to keep their products and services relevant to the market while attracting new talent that can help the business keep up with changing demands.

    “In this age of digital disruption, we rely on innovation, and to have innovation you have to have a lot of diverse ideas coming up from the bottom. The people at the rank and file level are the closest to these issues and a lot of times have a lot of amazing ideas,” Gentry said.

    This is why the company holds diversity in such high regard.

    Not so much in terms of creating an environment that boasts diverse genders, races, and cultures, but one that respects the ideas and thought generation they bring to the organization.

    Further commitment to the diversity of perspectives and ideas manifests in the company-wide “10th man rule,” which mandates at least one person to disagree with any agreed upon course of action to encourage full exploration of possible solutions. In what Gentry calls a “conflict-averse society,” this helps Filipino businesses practice good governance by ensuring all concerns are made public.