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Author's profile photo Kate McNeel

Connecting the Unconnected: ITU’s Telecom World 2014

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) held its annual conference, Telecom World 2014, in Doha, Qatar from December 7 – 10th.  The ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology.  More than 3,500 attendees from across the world attended, with representatives from carriers, government agencies, NGOs and suppliers on hand.

SAP’s Lise Tcheng, Global Vice President and Head of Services for Telecoms, spoke as part of a panel session on Tuesday, December 9th.  The session, Innovation for Telcos – A Practical Guide, focused on providing practical advice to help telcos stay relevant in a rapidly changing market.  Lise focused her remarks on illustrating principles that can help large companies remain innovative.  Using SAP as an example, she identified three principles to help encourage creativity – Leadership, Sustainability and Purpose.  The top leadership must be truly focused on driving internal innovation, encouraging and rewarding new ideas.  Sustainability is vital, because innovation cannot be seen as a single event. Programs must be put into place that encourage entrepreneurism, provide a framework of support, and allow for new ideas to be tried out quickly to either “fail fast” or move on to the next step.  SAP’s purpose – making the world run better and improving people’s lives – provides a sense of mission and focus, challenging participants to think creatively about how we can give back to the world around us.

As an industry conference, ITU Telecom World is unique, in that it brings together carriers, vendors, regulators, NGOs and government agencies to discuss the promise and challenges of connecting the unconnected across the globe.  The ITU has a strong focus on sustainable development and youth, and one of the highlights of the show is their Youth Innovation program.  During the conference, key topics of discussion were universal broadband access, spectrum allocation, regulatory and
financing solutions, big data monetization and Internet of Things.

Recaps of many sessions from the show can be found here. For the French speakers among us, this video from BEUR TV (which serves French-speaking North Africa) provides a good overview of the meeting and includes an interview with Lise (starting at the 3:45 mark).

For more information on SAP’s participation in this event, contact Kate McNeel ( or Lise Tcheng (

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