PM and Google boss meet for coffee and to ‘espresso’ their thoughts on boosting innovation

PM Morawiecki and Google CEO Sundair Pichai share a coffee as they take a stroll through Łazienki Park. Krystian Maj/KPRM

Google’s CEO Sundair Pichai visited Warsaw on 21 January to discuss the digital economy and innovation with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other Central and Eastern European leaders.

Born in India in 1972, Pichai studied metallurgy before winning a scholarship to study at Stanford University in the US.

After completing an MBA and a stint in consulting, he joined Google in 2004 as the head of product management and development. In 2015, he was appointed CEO.

Google has over 70 offices in 50 countries, including one in central Warsaw. The company also opened a Google Campus – a type of co-working space for start-ups with free Wi-Fi and coffee – in the former Koneser vodka factory in the city’s eastern Praga district.

The two then sat down for a chat before joining other CEE leaders taking part in discussions about the digital economy and innovation.Jakub Kamiński/PAP

In addition to space for working or meetings, the site also hosts numerous events.

In Warsaw, Pichai and Morawiecki attended the Central and Eastern Europe Innovation Roundtable organised by Poland’s Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology at the Palace on the Isle in the Royal Łazienki Park.

The round was attended by representatives of major Polish companies such as LOT airlines and from officials from other countries in the region, including Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Virginijus Sinkevičius and Czech Deputy Minister of Innovation and Trade Petr Očko.

The event focused on cooperation between the public and private sectors, specifically to tap into the region’s digital potential, from employing local talent to boosting innovation.

The Central and Eastern Europe Innovation Roundtablein Warsaw was organised by Poland’s Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology at the Palace on the Isle in the Royal Łazienki Park.Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Morawiecki noted that although Central and Eastern Europe has produced innovators in the past, their talent has often been used elsewhere.

“We do not want another brain drain; we want these brains to work for Google, for Poland, Lithuania, etc.,” he said, speaking at the roundtable.

He emphasised Poland’s desire to participate in the fourth industrial revolution, with a focus on developing robotics, artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship.

“I would like us to find the best solution for combining the achievements of recent years -- the cloud, artificial intelligence we talked about and other latest technological solutions,” he added.