Grace Abella-Zata, CEO of the IRC Institute (IRCI) Executive Board, contributed insights and information from IRC, the global alliance of executive search firms present in 47 countries, about executive talent management needs in the age of innovation during the Merit Summit held in Lisbon on January 16-18, 2018.

In particular, she shared the results of a survey among the members of IRC Global Executive Search Partners, which showed how companies all over the world consider it essential for C-level executives to participate and drive discussions on leveraging technology for competitive advantage. The survey also showed that understanding and using big data is likewise judged to be a critical executive competence.

Grace joined 275 attendees from 22 countries, 125 HR and learning & development experts from over 100 companies and 100 business school representatives from 32 business schools to discuss trends in executive education and corporate talent management. This year’s Summit revolved around Always on Learning; a theme focused on talent management and learning strategies that would enable organisations to thrive in a digital, volatile and globalised environment. The three-day Summit was packed with keynote speeches, case study presentations, panel discussions, workshop sessions and one to one meetings.

Grace joined a panel composed of Koenraad Goris, People and Organization Director of Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Christophe Coutat, Founder and Managing Director of the Advent Group, that discussed the talent strategies companies are adopting to drive innovation in organisations. Grace provided a global perspective, illustrating the various contexts where innovation takes place and the range of talent management strategies that companies are implementing to align with their unique situations. The panel also discussed partnerships that companies are forging outside of their own industries to get fresh ideas, the mindsets that are necessary to encourage innovative contributions and the adoption of new technologies to build new businesses or maintain competitive ad-vantage of existing companies.

“Overall, the partnership with the Merit Summit group is constructive for both parties because we both share a common interest in empowering business leaders to navigate an increasingly complex world at a time of massive transformation,“ Grace summed up her reflections about participating in the Merit Summit.