A Recap on the Integrity and Ethics Conclave 2021 – Mohd. Ali Dashti

Reflectionist Mohd. Ali Dashti (ITBM 2021-2023)

Like every year, the flagship event of the Guest lecture Committee (ITBM), i.e., the Integrity and Ethics Conclave, was organized on the 16th of October 2021. This time it was the 6th Edition and the theme for this year’s conclave was Virtuous Concord: Practicing Morality for Peaceful Co-existence. “The theme encompasses the areas where there is a need for the rightful use of resources and creating a world of coevality.” The theme was divided into four sub-themes i.e Responsible Automation, Veritable Operations, Customer – the Forgotten King, and Probity for Comity.

Dr. Dhanya Pramod, the Director of SCIT, inaugurated the event by welcoming all the esteemed speakers and briefing everyone on the importance of integrity and Ethics in our professional and personal lives. Post this, the audience was presented with a fantastic video that introduced all the different sub-themes.

The Keynote speaker was Mark Goyder– Founder of Tomorrow Company. He has written several books, among which his most famous one is ‘Living Tomorrow’s Company.’ Mark Exclaimed his views on the topic of ‘Adding Value. A Societal Perspective, Individual Perspective, and Companies Perspective are the three perspectives in which value can be added. He started by explaining the importance of the Societal perspective. He talked about companies that add value to society, such as Mann Deshi Bank, and companies that remove the value from the society like Tobacco, Sugar, food and drink companies, etc. Then he moved to the second perspective that is adding value from a company’s perspective. He started by Quoting Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata group “ In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business but is the very purpose of its existence.” The practise of returning to society what we earn evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders, and the community. He then quoted Mark Zuckerberg “Give people the power to build a community and bring the world closer together,” but the reality is often different. Continuing with the company’s perspective, he shed light on identifying a well-led company that adds value. Some of the critical factors are the company’s Purpose and Values, the Success model, and the Key relationships of the company. And finally, in the Individual Perspective, he mentioned that one needs to be clear on the non-negotiables. He gave examples from his childhood and his professional life as well. And finally, he concluded by challenging the audience to write their obituary as that would provide them with the realization that they want to be and are adding enough value to society, followed by answering a few questions.

Then we had the next speaker Ashutosh Kapse, the Head of Cybersecurity at IOOF holdings and the Vice President of the ISACA Melbourne chapter. He spoke on the sub-theme Phygital World – Is the customer the forgotten king?. He started by talking about the state of play in the current time and discussed the various existing customer and industry trends. The customers are moving towards online shopping, with mobile being the point of interaction. The industry, on the other hand, is taking advantage of this digital trend. Even after the covid restrictions have eased down and people can physically visit the stores, they still find it more convenient and personalized to shop online for all their needs. Then he explained how the word Phygital is coined. It is a combination of the words Physical and Digital, thereby blending both worlds. Phygital augments digital connections with human experience and physical interaction. He showed us various examples of stores within his city where Phygital was implemented, such as the Nike Live store, a coffee shop named Skip. He then shifted our focus on the concerns of consumers in the Phygital world. He then explained how ethics and integrity are part of the governance and the Organizational structure to support Customer Governance. The importance of the Customer Governance Office was presented, the import roles of the people within it, and that they report directly to the Board Members of the organization post which the session was open for questions.

We then had a fantastic skit performed by SCIT’s drama club – Team Eklavya, who presented a performance that depicted the importance of integrity and was set in the 90’s era of Bombay.

The next speaker for the day was Manjusha Raulkar, the Group CHRO for Suzlon Energy Limited and an accomplished HR professional. She started by presenting a Ted Talk Given by Clay Christensen on “How Will You Measure Your Life?” at TEDxBoston. It was a very insightful video post in which she started her talk by introducing us to the concept of Corporate Governance and its definition. Then she talked about the four pillars of Corporate Governance, i.e., Accountability, Fairness, Transparency, and Responsibility. These pillars are the fundamental drivers of corporate governance, and every aspect of one work, irrespective of their job role, is based on these. She spoke about the different roles and responsibilities. The focus of the talk then shifted to the Global Evolution of Corporate Governance over time. Here the emphasis was given on the case of the collapse of Enron along with Arthur Anderson. She then talked about the role of HR in Corporate Governance and how their part is to influence the business by driving the company’s strategy. We were then introduced to the company Suzlon and how Corporate Governance is implemented at Suzlon. Finally, some of the benefits of a good governance model are that it gives rise to a strict compliance culture, Enables corporate social responsibilities, and lifts a company’s influence and reputation. And then, the session was open for questions.

The next sub-theme was Responsible Automation, and Varun P Divadkar was the speaker. He is the Senior Vice President at BNY Mellon. He started by giving us a brief on what automation is and how it is a vast topic that encompasses so many domains, be it Health care, Manufacturing, IT, Travel, etc. Hence, he clubbed together specific scenarios and used cases from his own corporate experience. This part of the talk was highly interactive, and he presented the audience with scenarios where the company had to decide whether to opt for the automation or not based on how much beneficial it is to automate the current process in comparison to the cost of developing and implementing the said automated process. He split the scenarios and kept providing additional inputs, which made the audience change their decisions on whether the automation should be implemented. Post this, he talked about the classical idea behind automation, where the goal of automation is to reduce human intervention in all those well-defined rule-based tasks that would have otherwise been repetitive or monotonous. He emphasized that there should always be a balance between the process being automated and those not being automated. He concluded his talk by discussing the various pros and cons of automation. He again emphasized on their being a balance in how much automation is being implemented within an organization.

The final speaker for the day was Dr. Roy John, the Founder, and Partner at ConSoul Associates LLP, and he spoke to us on the topic of Probity For Comity. He started his talk by telling us how Swiggy being such a new company, is one of the Largest Employers in India and its contribution to society. Apart from employment, the other values they are adding are the automobile sector, the telecom sector, and the hospitality sector. Corporates play a vital role in adding values to society, and if there are any violations in the integrity and ethics of such corporations, it is very impactful on us. Then he shared data about corporate fraud and over $4.5 Trillion loss globally each year. He then showed us the stats of who commits the maximum number of frauds in an organization, and it was found the employees commit the most number of frauds which is at 40 %. Still, when looking at it from a value perspective, the Owners and Executives commit Larger value Frauds which takes up 50% of the value. He, too, took Enron as an example to talk more about the frauds in detail. He told us about the rise and fall of Enron and how they committed the fraud that led to their eventual bankruptcy. Next, he talked about why people commit fraud, and the three key factors were Opportunity, Rationalization, and Motive/Pressure. The 5 Principles about Frauds are A) there is always going to be a fraud. B) Finding Fraud is a good thing. C) There is no one solution. D) Fraud and Corruption are ever-changing. E) Prevention is the most effective way to address fraud and corruption. Post this; the session was open for questions.

At the end of the event, after listening to all the fantastic speakers, the audience was delighted with a performance by the band Beyond Myth Studio. The artists Sachin Gupta and Mansi Chauhan performed the songs Hall of Fame, Legends Never Die, and Ye Honsla Kaise Jhuke, and this was the icing on the cake for a great conclave.

Finally, Prof. Dr. Shaji Joseph, the faculty mentor of the Guest Lecture Committee (ITBM) concluded the event and delivered the vote of thanks.