An Open Letter to Robert E. Moritz, CEO of PwC
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
This blog is written as a theoretical open letter to the CEO of PwC. I have never worked for PwC and can not comment on their exact technological policy in the workplace. This is a creative writing blog based off or publically available research on how PwC is aggressively "upskilling" their entire staff. This short youtube video is what inspired this blog.
To: Robert E. Moritz, CEO PwC
Re: PwC Should Build People, Not Technology
As you yourself have stated in numerous companywide town halls, our clients rely on our innovative solutions in an ever-changing landscape. But how are we to deliver on your promise when management considers genuine human creativity inferior to automated computers? While historically successful, we cannot continue to throw technology at our problems. Because ultimately, failing to deliver a humanistic and personalized experience to our clients will prove catastrophic in the near future. As we look to differentiate our products and services, I’m asking you to turn your attention towards promoting employee creativity.
During my early days at PwC, I found ways to remain creative by sitting around a whiteboard and brainstorming with my colleagues. We didn’t have instant messaging at the time, so we were able to focus and build real solutions to problems facing our clients. This seems impossible now. The connectedness made imaginable only through mobile technology has made spontaneous brainstorming sessions a relic. Our thoughts and emotions are in jeopardy of becoming second-class considerations in a company hyper-focused on digital upskilling.
Because I know how hard it can be to stop checking email and instant messaging, I’m asking for the opportunity to disconnect on a more regular basis. I’m asking not just for me, but for every employee within the organization. Humans are not simply a means to an end. Emotion, cognition, and decision remain definitely important in our work to delight clients.
I’d like to suggest some tangible ways to implement this initiative. For starters, it’s not inconceivable to build a “serenity switch” which can be placed on the desk of every employee. Not unlike the iconic big red Staples button, this switch will serve as a reminder that disconnecting is necessary within a high-functioning workplace. When you press the switch, corporate email, phone, and instant messaging services can automatically be set to “out of this world”. It’s similar to “out of the office” notifications sent when someone is on vacation, but it’s a reminder that creativity is paramount and not to be interrupted.
I’m also asking that “creativity time” be implemented at an organizational level. Encourage managers to set aside a dedicated time every week, in excess of three hours, to encourage technological distancing, human interaction, and creativity. This time would prove crucial to employees who what to spend time working on the “big picture” in collaboration with one another. Devoting time to disconnect from distractions is one of the only ways the company can leverage its most valuable asset: its employees.
The “serenity switch” and “creativity time” are just two possible implementations of this larger and more far-reaching initiative. There are many other ways to promote creativity through technological distancing that I hope you’ll consider implementing into the culture of the organization.
Creativity has been the backbone of this company since its founding in 1998. And while technology has allowed us to innovate in the past, the effects digital upskilling has had on our company’s collective cognition and capacity for creativity has been undeniably detrimental. If you remain skeptical regarding the power of technological distancing, consider that a creativity infused workplace will be tremendously good for business. Giving employees the space to be creative will drive more thoughtful solutions and allow us to delight clients in a way never before possible.
I believe the future will belong to those who believe in their dreams. Please consider giving us the time we need to dream.