I recently had the opportunity to profile our company, TCS at the AIESEC YouthSpeak Forum at the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki as well as to run a workshop there with a class of students. The experience was a rewarding one, not just because of the wealth of great energy and interest I experienced from our young audience but also because it reinforced to me the importance of community outreach.

Everyone within TCS knows that as a company we are committed to community. We demonstrate that commitment in various ways including educational outreach as I just mentioned, our on-going goIT program here in the Nordics as well as sponsorships of the Finnish Paralympics team and sporting events like TCS Lidingöloppet in Sweden.

The event, which was arranged through AIESEC, the global, non-political, independent, not-for-profit organisation run by students and recent graduates reinforced the importance of correct alignment with the right institutions as a company. Contact with AIESEC was already well underway with our global graduate work placement program ACE and the connection has proved mutually beneficial. Outside of the ACE program, in Finland, our collaboration with AIESEC Suomi has been specific to workshops and mentoring.

AIESEC as an organization aims is to provide young people with self-driven, practical, global experiences, to enable them to see the world, make a real difference and discover what truly matters to them. This is very much what we want to achieve through the ACE program. In addition there are so many touchpoints between the values of their organization and our own, most specifically their alignment to UN sustainability development goals.

During the event and in our workshop, we asked the students to consider a number of topics for guided group discussion. This was put in the context of the changing nature of the work environment they are now entering – one which is moving away from processes, routines and control towards one driven by research, problem-solving and innovation. We asked them to consider such questions as ‘Is entrepreneurship a viable career option in the future?’, ‘Is Artificial Intelligence a threat or an opportunity?’ and ‘What is the alternative to education in a highly networked society?’

The answers revealed an audience who clearly have the depth of thinking to embrace the challenges of the future – one where technologies will dramatically shift the goalposts towards machines replacing monotonous or even dangerous work (one student envisaged robots exploring deep space, which I found fascinating) and a future where entrepreneurship is the default working mode for many rather than the norm.

We cannot underestimate the role technology has to play in our everyday future lives and TCS, as a company at the vanguard of technology has great responsibility in how we work together with community to derive the greatest benefits for all. Interfaces with the next generation of workers and decision-makers like those we met that day are all important bridges to that desired future.