Leadership philosophy on sustaining and improving life at Abbott

April 09, 2019 | 13:36
Abbott is a leading global healthcare company with the mission to create possibilities for people through the power of health. With a 25-year local history, Vietnam is one of the key emerging markets for the company and an example of sustained business growth as well as collaboration with the government and organisations to impact people’s health through healthcare initiatives. The positive impacts of what the company has done so far for the community are partly rooted in its leadership mindset. Douglas Kuo, general manager of Abbott Vietnam, talks about Abbott’s leadership philosophy and its journey to bring breakthrough innovations to improve the health of people in Vietnam.
leadership philosophy on sustaining and improving life at abbott
Abbott Vietnam general manager Douglas Kuo speaking at the Vietnam best places to work summit

As a leading global healthcare company recognised locally as one of the best places to work in the pharmaceutical industry, can you share how Abbott has been contributing to improve healthcare for Vietnamese people?

Abbott has a legacy of enabling Vietnamese people to live better and healthier lives since we established a presence in the country in 1995. Abbott is a trusted partner of Vietnam in continuously improving the nation’s health.

We are able to pursue this commitment by providing life-changing technologies. Abbott enables the Vietnamese people to live to the fullest with our science-based products, services, and innovations.

We continue to introduce first-to-market innovations in Vietnam that help people maximise their quality of life. For example, our nutrition business uses the latest science to create better ways to nourish Vietnamese bodies at every stage of life.

Furthermore, Abbott works with key stakeholders to bring continuously improved healthcare solutions to more Vietnamese people by improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare.

Abbott is a partner of the Vietnamese government in addressing major public health issues. We have existing memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health (MoH), which states our commitment to assist in addressing four of Vietnam’s most pressing health-related issues: maternal nutrition, healthy ageing, gestational diabetes, and food safety. Through our partnership with the MoH, we have contributed to the creation of Vietnam-specific guidelines for maternal nutrition, including the area of prevention and management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Abbott pursues its commitment to the health and well-being of Vietnamese people in a variety of ways, from community outreach activities to education for healthcare professionals. In Vietnam, Abbott and our foundation, the Abbott Fund, have provided more than VND230 billion ($10 million) in grants and product donations to help people build better lives and stronger communities.

Abbott has been the leader in the Vietnamese powder milk market. What stands behind this success?

We always start with science. We develop science-based nutrition products for people of all ages. We understand that proper nutrition is the foundation for living the best and fullest life possible.

Abbott develops products that help babies and children grow, keep bodies strong and active, and support the unique nutrition needs for people with chronic illnesses – to make every stage of life a healthy one.

Abbott develops products that help babies and children grow, keep bodies strong and active, and support the unique nutrition needs for people with chronic illnesses – to make every stage of life a healthy one.

What makes us different is that we lead with science and research. We develop science-based innovation to address growing and changing healthcare needs.

Abbott stays ahead of both global and local trends to improve health conditions for people of all ages across the world. The recent launches of our breakthrough innovations – Similac with Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) and Ensure with HMB – are strong proof of this.

Abbott started to research HMO (one of the most abundant solid components in breast milk supporting the development of a strong immune system for babies) 20 years ago and was the first company to introduce infant formula fortified with HMO – Similac HMO – in Vietnam and in the world.

This is one of the biggest breakthrough advances in paediatric nutrition in the past decade, bringing benefits to develop young Vietnamese generations.

We also introduce innovations that nourish the adult population, support adults' quality of life, and maintain muscle health to address the strength issues in ageing countries. Earlier in May 2018, Vietnam was also one of the first countries where Abbott launched our new Ensure Gold formula with HMB to support muscle health, as part of our continued long-term commitment to help to build healthy ageing communities in this country.

These are only some of the innovations that Abbott scientists and R&D Center have been working on in the past decades with careful pre-clinical and clinical researches as well as trials to ensure every product delivered to customers’ hands are of the highest quality. Abbott’s focus on quality has gained trust from Vietnamese customers and made it their first choice of nutritional product or service.

leadership philosophy on sustaining and improving life at abbott
Abbott's employees in Vietnam

What is Abbott doing to catch up with the digital transformation era, especially as technology is coming into the centerfield in consumer’s life?

For us, digital transformation means evolving the way we care for human health and personalise products/devices to meet their needs. Abbott is always proud of our science-based research to create life-changing technologies and breakthrough innovations, and to provide people with the best healthcare solutions.

We are always looking to the future. We always head toward changes in medical science and technology by investing in research and development for breakthrough innovations.

While we introduce first-to-market product innovations in Vietnam that help people maximise their quality of life, our commercial innovations create better ways to enhance consumers’ access to these products.

Abbott has been at the forefront of nutrition research, using the latest science to better nourish Vietnamese bodies at every stage of life. The launches of Similac with HMO and Ensure with HMB are ample demonstrations of such advancements Abbott has made in pursuit of our commitment.

In terms of commercial innovation, we are transforming the way we approach consumers. Our digital marketing campaigns have received positive attention from the public and the community.

I can share with you the recent success of Ensure Tet campaign’s viral video, which ranked second among the Best Tet advertising campaigns in 2019, a cross-industry title, or the meaningful Similac HMO’s “First Matters” campaign in which we encourage moms to let their babies go out to explore the world and have better learning experiences. We are leveraging digital trends to bring our healthcare solutions to reach more consumers.

What has Abbott been doing to motivate employees to stay curious, creative, and collaborative?

We are on a journey of transformation as the world we live in continually changes. Curiosity, creativity, and collaboration, which I call the 3Cs of our employees, are the key enablers to help us thrive during transformation, besides technology and product innovation.

Curiosity is learning agility. Creativity is the ability to connect the dots. And teamwork, or working with other stakeholders, is collaboration. Employees who carry with themselves the 3C will help the company to be the pioneer in bringing innovations to the industry and tackle healthcare issues nationally and globally.

Besides bringing the best healthcare solutions for global and local citizens, we also focus on creating a great place to work that offers differentiated benefits and development opportunities, where employees can build thriving careers, along with financial security for themselves and their families – all while knowing that they are doing life-changing work with some of the smartest (and coolest) people on the planet.

We always find and create opportunities to motivate our employees to stay curious, creative, and collaborative.

We trigger their curiosity by providing an agile learning environment where they can always ask questions about what’s next. We encourage our talents to work their creativity, to think and reinvent the way products or systems work to improve their work.

Together, we find ways to solve healthcare challenges for the community, including collaboration with professional associations, hospitals, universities, and other institutions to uplift the healthcare knowledge and practice in Vietnam.

That is how we, together with local communities, raise awareness on and help solve the health concerns faced by the Vietnamese, thus, elevating Vietnamese healthcare.

By Thanh Trung

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional