As SVP, Professional Services at BairesDev, Damian oversees the entire customer relations life-cycle, safeguarding the company’s operations.
We live surrounded by technology. So much so that it is inseparable from what humans experience in the 21st century𑁋unless you are purposely trying to live off the grid. Today, even non-techies constantly check their smartphones throughout the day, receive packages from online retailers, subscribe to streaming services, have a social media presence, look for addresses on map apps and find new food joints online.
Because technology is so ubiquitous in our daily lives, it also has the potential to bring about change for the better. Leaders in every industry, not only in tech, understand that their role is more than just pursuing profit. It also encompasses harnessing the potential of technological innovations to drive social change. In this article, I will make a case for how leaders should see profit and purpose as a combined goal and how to leverage technology for social good.
Gone are the days when a CEO was all about the bottom line. A new generation of C-suite executives is beginning to see their roles as a way of becoming change-makers. This leadership ethos is all about leveraging those assets for the broader good. They view technological innovation as a tool for societal benefit beyond the commercial realm.
Tech As A Tool For Social Empowerment
The impacts of these changes can be in bridging socioeconomic gaps, providing affordable education to underprivileged parts of society, reducing the carbon footprint and improving healthcare. Let’s examine a few examples.
Apps like ShareTheMeal enable users to donate to someone in need with a simple click. The United Nations World Food Programme delivers meals in Africa, Central America, Ukraine, the Middle East, Southeast Asia or wherever the user chooses.
Platforms like Coursera and Domestika democratize education by offering cheaper alternatives to traditional colleges and can help professionals in other areas pivot to a different career later in life.
My company has also worked on projects with companies with the mission of reducing the carbon footprint. One of our clients has a tech platform to give users easy access to clean energy. Their platform gives individuals greater control over what type of energy they support, how much it costs and how they pay. The platform also doubles as a marketplace for consumers and producers of solar energy.
Another exciting project we developed was a first-of-its-kind online clinic to help women be in control of their health during the second half of their lives. Their team of doctors and coaches serves patients in all 50 U.S. states, improving the quality of healthcare options patients have access to.
These examples were all born from leadership visions that extended beyond profit.
How To Pivot Toward Social Empowerment
For companies that already have an established business model but want to do more to increase their social empowerment, they must do the following:
• Integrate purpose into company DNA. Whether it’s a startup or a tech giant, having a clear, purpose-driven mission integrated into company culture ensures alignment toward societal good. That way, even when profits are not coming as expected, these initiatives won’t be relegated to secondary items.
• Foster collaboration. Leaders must encourage collaboration with NGOs, governments and other stakeholders to understand real-world challenges and ideate solutions. Additionally, all members of the company should be encouraged to get involved.
• Invest in R&D for social solutions. Dedicate resources to researching and developing tech solutions that address societal challenges. They must subsidize resources and time to create worthwhile solutions that make a difference.
Get All Stakeholders Involved
Sustainable societal change takes time and commitment. That is why leaders must understand that while their vision is the guidance, the stakeholders—from employees to consumers—play a pivotal role in driving social change. Engaging with these groups, gathering feedback and ensuring tech solutions resonate with genuine societal needs will amplify the positive impact.
One way to get all your team members on board is to involve them in decision-making and problem-solving. Hence, they get a sense of autonomy, empowerment and ownership of the social initiatives. Providing adequate resources, support and tools to perform their work effectively is vital. It is also essential to encourage talent to pursue their professional goals by providing them with training, mentoring and career progression. If they see the company values them, they, in turn, will be more likely to make the company’s goals—especially those on the social sphere—their own and run with them.
For example, my company has the Giveback Program every year—an initiative that supports causes that promote STEM education and improved access to technology. We invite all our clients to participate in the endeavor, in which we donate on their behalf to one of three preselected nongovernmental organizations. This way, we involve our clients and our people in making a difference in the world.
It seems that many leaders in the tech world are beginning to understand the intersection of profit and purpose and act accordingly. The digital age has equipped leaders with tools that, when used responsibly, can weave societal transformation into the fabric of their business models.
The journey toward tech for social good is a collective one, where leaders serve as torchbearers, guiding their teams and stakeholders toward a future where technology doesn’t just make life easier but also makes the world better. The question for every leader today is not whether they can drive profits through tech but how they can leverage that tech to leave an indelible mark on society.
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