In advance of Techonomy 2018, we asked our speakers crucial questions that frame our upcoming flagship event.
Q: How big of a responsibility does business have to make the world more equitable?
Like it or not, business has incredible influence over our economies, societies, standards of living, employment…and it has huge influence over how the pendulum can swing on topics such as diversity, inclusiveness, leadership development and employee engagement. Companies that consider their culture as a differentiator to drive performance and innovation can have a particularly positive effect on talent, can shift workforce trends, and can drive consumer impact. Those that have a good awareness of this reality and use their power properly can align their business purpose to create positive results for society. The impact and opportunity for purpose-led organizations is massive from all angles.
Q: What emerging technology can have the greatest positive impact on society?
How — in the midst of the digital age as we know it today — do we stay connected, avoid burnout and better understand mental health impacts of work, all while cultivating an engaged, representative workforce that grooms inclusive leaders, inspiring innovation and purpose? This is not an easy thing to balance. Tech advancements can be great when implemented in a purposeful manner, but we can’t ignore the human factor — the combination of the two will have quite a powerful impact on society.
Q: What is the biggest business issue that you worry is not getting enough attention?
Passive approaches to people-related issues are still rampant. The “check-box” approach that some leaders and companies take may keep them technically in the clear, but is that approach meaningful? Is it doing anything that really makes an impact? Our workforces are so delicate — competition, pace and pressure keep mounting, and people of all backgrounds yearn for equality, purpose and meaning more than ever. It’s really hard to manage and lead a group of people. But those leaders who bring courage, integrity and empathy, who listen and stay humble, those are the ones to watch. It’s needed now more than ever.