By Stephanie Chan
An AI-powered mouse that can take dictation in seven languages. Candy-colored keyboards capable of conjuring up our universal human language—emojis—with the push of a button. With innovations like these, Swiss-based consumer electronics company Logitech is helping to shape a future of work, play and creation that’s healthier, more inclusive, and, dare we say it, more fun for everyone.
Delphine Donné-Crock, general manager of Logitech’s Creativity and Productivity group, spoke to AmCham about their one-size-doesn’t-fit-all approach to productivity tech.
AmCham: Delphine, thank you for speaking with us today. Tell us a bit about your career background and the business that you oversee at Logitech.
Delphine Donné-Crock: My group, Creativity and Productivity, represents mice, keyboards, presenters and webcams—it’s about 40% of the company’s fiscal year 2021 sales. I’ve been in tech for more than 25 years and I’ve had many roles within product development, marketing, general management in the US, Europe, and Asia. Now I’m based in Switzerland, but my team is set in eight different countries and multiple time zones. We have a very diverse team at all levels: nationalities, gender, age, profiles and functions.
AmCham: Let’s start our conversation about the future of work by talking about the recent past of work. What opportunities for innovation did the pandemic create for your group?
DDC: My group focuses on helping anyone who is creating, learning, working, communicating & collaborating in the digital world. Well before the pandemic, we were always very focused on multi-audiences: one size does not fit all. We were already looking at how different people work at their desk, depending on their profession, specific needs, their physical attributes and what they can or want to invest.
The pandemic accelerated the growth we had already seen in the digital world while also amplifying the awareness of our categories. Suddenly working from home with sub-optimal equipment for hours on end increased consumers’ focus on having the right set-up, posture and equipment to be at their best for eight to ten hours a day. We learned a lot about the dynamic of mental and physical health and collaboration challenges when you work from home. But we also learned about the freedom that working from home brings to people, and the joy our products can bring to their workspaces.
AmCham: What personal experiences influenced your thinking about the future of work?
DDC: I’ve been at Logitech for 15 years and there are certain products I developed that I was very attached to. But working from home, I had to learn that they were not optimal for me personally. Once I adjusted devices that were adapted to my morphology and daily usage needs, I felt pain relief literally overnight.
The other aspect was the importance of reaching out to team members to continue having some social engagements. Otherwise you can easily lose this critical personal connection at work.
It’s definitely informing a lot of the improvements we’ve made on our product, the most recent ones being MX Keys Minis and POP Keys. The evolution of the keyboard layouts came from the learnings of the pandemic and the need for more expressive communication with emojis, as well as easy access to mute/unmute buttons for Zoom.
AmCham: What is Logitech’s vision for the future of work?
DDC: We are so fortunate to be in an industry that is part of the larger secular trend into the digital world. In the coming years there will be more digital workers, there will be more interaction in the cloud and there will be more desks (work and learn from home, work from the office). This transformation is helping to bring increased inclusivity, as you can now hire software coders in Africa, Eastern Europe, China, India, even if you’re a global company based in the United States.
This is an amazing secular trend which touches working, learning, creating, playing. We touch every single aspect of it, including well-being, because you spend so much time at the desk.
For us, wellbeing is about unleashing the potential and support of all people to do everything they want or need to do, while improving physical comfort, their mental health or physical health. I love that we are giving access to so many more people than we have up until now, in terms of gender, age, and specific disabilities.
AmCham: How do you see your typical customer’s workspace evolving?
DDC: The category that Logitech plays in is still skewed towards men. We want to provide tools that are more adapted for women and our diverse audiences at multiple levels—in the way they are designed and the way we help women to understand the benefits of our category.
AmCham: How can companies help women to get more out of tech in their everyday lives?
DDC: What I’m seeing is that women want things to be made in a simple yet engaging way, and they want to have fun with the products. Technology should adapt to your needs, not you adapting to technology so it’s important that we have a different mindset in our development for diverse audiences. When you hit that magic recipe, you will see that women are as passionate about technology as anyone else.
AmCham: Do you think enough is being done to help women join the tech industry?
DDC: Bringing more women in the industry takes more patience and work from the recruiting manager. It’s really easy to say, I need someone urgently, so I’m not going to do a deep search and give more chances to women candidates.
There are a lot of wonderful women in the industry, and there are also a lot of women in other industries that can transfer over. We need to break the barriers of requiring experience in a certain industry, or a certain number of years of experience. What is really important is to look at the qualities of every candidate, in terms of their capability to analyze, their passion—to try to break these biases and barriers for recruitment, and be a bit more patient.