Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tech for Social Good

A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it ............Philosophy of Plotinus 1923

Serving shareholders can no longer be the main purpose of corporation; rather, it needs to be about serving society, through innovation, commitment to a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.

That strategic impulse to identity a higher purpose that would galvanize the organization could be found through

  • New growth: how successful has the company been at creating new products, new markets and new business models, this includes revenue outside the core 
  • Repositioning the core: how effectively has the company  adapted its traditional core business to changes or disruptions in its markets
  • Financials: has it turned around its businesses from losses or slow growth

Siemens moved beyond the purpose of maximizing shareholder value to a mission of “serving society” This transformation began in 2014 that called for harnessing technologies such as AI and Internet of Things. USA CEO Barbara Humpton says “ ownership culture is central to everything”, Infusing a higher purpose into the company called for pushing decision making out from the center to every business unit so employees feel they have a stake 

This shift will redeploy capital to its Digital Industry and Smart Infrastructure business focused on energy efficiency, renewable power storage, distributed power and electric vehicle mobility.

Company like Netflix in 2013 when the CEO Reed Hastings released a memo to employees and investors detailing a commitment to move from just distributing content digitally to become a leading producer of original content that could win an Oscar.

Since unveiling that new purpose, Netflix revenue has tripled and profits at 32 fold

In 2019, Tencent refined its mission in response to technology’s dominance in our lives, boiling it down to “ tech for social good” developing educational content and services for schools and education management. Tencent has now become the first Asian company to surpass $500 billion in market valuation.

Businesses for the future should leverage on a purpose driven mission 

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