The Role of People and Culture in Making A Company Become A Better Innovative Space

Following a great discussion about workplace design in the first webinar belonging to the series “Innovation at work” organized by Dreamplex and AIA Vietnam, we now shift to People and Culture. Companies are more innovative by improving productivity, increasing competitiveness, improving brands’ images and better attract, engage and retain employees. Innovation can not come from machines. It has to come from people. So how do organizations promote and encourage innovation? What are the do’s and don’t of innovative organizations?

AIA Vietnam and Dreamplex organized a series of 3 webinars that feature different sides of Innovation at Work. To discover more about the role of people and culture in making a company become a better innovative space, in the second webinar hosted by AIA Vietnam and Dreamplex in May 12 2021, we invited 4 experts: Anh Nguyen (Associate Director – Organization Development & Talent Management from AIA Vietnam), Cris Tran (CEO of FAM Central), Sakshi Jawa (Chief People Officer from Tiki) and Minh Giang (Partner of Talent & Culture from Mekong Capital) to extract tangible values and practical advices.

Can companies become innovative? What is People and Culture’s Roles in Innovative Workspace creation? 

According to all the experts’ answers, companies definitely can become innovative. And this process can not lack of People and Culture. 

From the perspective of Ms Minh Giang’s Partner of Talent & Culture from Mekong Capital, each of us has our own definition of innovation. At Mekong Capital, they define “innovation” very simply. It’s just a new way, new method, new product or even a new idea. Being innovative does not mean that you have to do something big, but how you improve what you have done to make it better.  

Sharing the same point of view, Ms. Anh Nguyen who has been working in an over 100 year old insurance company – AIA who is on their big digital and innovative transformation journey stated that: “innovative” should be “cultivated” because innovation is not all about the company itself, it should be about the employees – the People as well. How they ask questions, handle the problems and go out of their comfort zone. The AIA’s perspective is from your mindset, how you look into and solve the problems in different angles.

And to consolidate Ms Minh Giang’s and Ms Anh Nguyen’s ideas, it is totally true that innovation can start from small things. Sakshi Jawa, revealed their practice at Tiki as the leading online retailer in Vietnam that they make sure everything is an on-going process, we’ll grow as they learn. The most common perspective from the majority of companies about “ being innovative” is to fail fast because not all innovations are successful. Thus, it is critical to give the employees a platform to fail, get up and start again. As a leader, we have to stand up and say it is totally fine when someone fails because everyone can make mistakes, as long as we learn to move on. Last but not least,  we encourage our employees to think out of the box, do something new from their day to day tasks.

People and Culture: How do we build a mindset of innovation for employees?

According to Cris Tran – CEO of FAM Central, companies understand that innovation doesn’t come right away. Innovation is a journey to nurture, grow and make it become a core capability of yourself and your organisation. It requires everyone’s efforts from senior employees to junior ones to be on the same page. Innovation is about the transition from one place to another place, so it is key to place people in the right and suitable position, prepare them with proper training, equip them with new knowledge and reward people. 

Ms Minh Giang shared: “In Mekong Capital, we start with commited breakthrough results meaning that we commit to visions, or purposes that we have never done before. From this commitment, we then define our core values and behaviours for everyone to conceptualise how “being innovative” looks like when it comes to actions”. 

Sakshi believes that everyone is innovative if they are given the right platform, depending on different cultures. If innovation is one of your organisation’s core values, you need to highlight it from the very beginning of building the hiring framework. Besides, no matter if it is a bad innovation or a good innovation, your employees deserve a reward. And a reward is not always about monetary benefits, but it can be giving them more exposure to your employees to senior leadership, putting them in creative projects. 

How can we maintain innovation with people and culture?

Employees need to be aware of the company’s vision, goal and direction to become innovative based on those. 

Open communication is core and two ways communication is encouraged for all employees’ concerns. There are many activities to foster open communication including: the change management workshop, HR dialogues, lunches with CEO for new members, etc. Moreover, reducing hierarchy to simplify the organisation to make the process shorter and increase productivity is a great way in maintaining and fostering innovation. 

As shared by all the experts, creating a sense of ownership within a team is a key factor for a company to become innovative. And when it comes to the “How”, a lot of interesting answers such as investing widely in education and employee experience; acting now; holding responsibility and accountability; challenging others and yourself with respect; staying solution focused; going extra miles etc and last but not least encouraging people to do best from the smallest things.

Meet The Speakers | Innovation at Work Webinar Series

Anh Nguyen, Associate Director – Organization Development & Talent Management, AIA Vietnam

With wide range of experience in human resources management spanning over 15 years in both end-market and local HR senior roles, Anh has delivered added value in HR management for companies she worked in various industry sectors, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Pharmaceuticals, Medical Device, Advertising, Hospitality and Financial Service.

Ms. Anh Nguyen is also an independent trainer and facilitator for Pace Institute Management and leadership consultant for some private organizations. Specializing in Talent Management, Learning, Organizational Development and HR Business Partnering, Anh wishes to create a meaningful career in attracting, developing and retaining the best people for organization in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific Region.

Cris Tran, CEO, FAM Central

Cris recently co-founded FAM CENTRAL, a blockchain platform that enhances the interaction between fanvestors, with movies-artist-music projects.

He is an experienced strategist, corporate team player and start-up enthusiast with a passion for building businesses and challenging the status quo. Cris Tran was the former CEO at Infinity Blockchain Ventures. IBV is a blockchain consulting and development firm operating over 10 different countries.

Prior to this, Cris was the Country Head for Frost & Sullivan, a global management consulting firm, based out in Singapore and specialized in Digital Transformation. He also participated in the IPO launch of S.E.A (value about $884 mil @ NYSE).

Sakshi Jawa, Chief People Officer,  TIKI Corporation in Vietnam 

She has an MBA degree in HR with 15-year experience in the HR field across Asia and particularly has expertise in the Ecommerce domain, for both well-established Ecommerce companies as well as startups. 

Before joining TIKI, Sakshi was HR Director at Coupang (Leading Ecommerce company in South Korea) and had worked at Amazon with different roles in India and Singapore, leading HR Business partnering for Sales, Marketing, and Infrastructure teams. 

She also had 2 years working as C&B Head for Prudential Vietnam from 2010 – 2012 after spending her first few years of her HR career in the Global Decision Management Division of Citibank.

Minh Giang Nguyen, People & Culture Partner, Mekong Capital 

Minh Giang has relentlessly transformed and ‘expanded’ herself, her experience, and her leadership by continuously generating new initiatives to add value to the Mekong Capital team and the companies in their portfolio. Under her leadership, the Talent and Culture (T&C) team is at the core for cultivating the best Employee Experience from recruiting, training, and developing, to team building activities and building corporate culture, which resulted in Mekong Capital being voted as one of the Best Places to Work in Asia in 2019.

About AIA and Dreamplex | Innovation at work webinar organizers


AIA Vietnam officially started operations in Vietnam in February 2000. Today, 20 years after its inception, AIA Vietnam has grown to be a trusted brand in Vietnam.

Over the last 20 years, AIA Vietnam has been focusing on laying a strong foundation for its sustainable growth through the training and development of its human resources. AIA Vietnam has established a network of more than 170 offices in 53 provinces and cities nationwide and serves the holders more than 1,000,000 policies across the country. Notably, AIA Vietnam is proud to announce that the company has been confirmed as a Great Place to Work which will now cover the period of Sep 2020 to Aug 2021. 2020 is the 3rd year in a row that AIA Vietnam has achieved this honorable certification from the global executive advisory and culture consulting services Great Place to Work® Institute.


Dreamplex creates “A Better Day at Work” that perfectly meets the needs of fast-growing companies who understand that their young employees expect more from their workplace. Well-designed private, branded offices, 5-star hospitality-level care and an engaging program of social activities, training & development, and wellbeing initiatives help those companies attract, engage, and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent in Vietnam. Dreamplex has 5 locations across Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In 2021, Dreamplex will be adding three new locations including The UnOffice projects in District 2 and The Campus in district 4 and one more in Ham Nghi. 

  • The UnOffice – District 2 (Launching in October) 

Launched in October 2021, the UnOffice on Nguyen U Di in District 2 packs over 800 workspaces across 3300m2. Designed with Gen Z and Millennials in mind, it’s the exact opposite of a static, boring, unhealthy office building.

The office offers large multi-functional spaces that are highly interactive, and a series of totally unexpected elements on every floor. Plus, plenty of meeting, napping, and F&B spaces. The perfect shared campus for companies in the logistics, eCommerce, fintech, and other industries.

  • The Campus – District 4 (Launching in November) 

Our largest Dreamplex yet. Launching in November 2021, we believe this will be the most unique destination office in Saigon: an industrial warehouse conversion with over 1700 workplaces, built around a lush, tropical garden.  

On 6800m2 across two floors of two warehouses, this is the place for larger teams to have the best of a (series of) private office(s) inside a shared campus. Besides large private suites, the indoor/outdoor concept includes large event areas, big lounges, a coffee shop and other F&B options, alongside over 15 types of spaces to work, meet, and focus.

To learn more about how Dreamplex can help innovative companies of any size offer their teams a Workplace Experience of the future, please contact Daan van Rossum, Chief Experience Officer: daan@dreamplex.co or +84 901489369

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