Innovative Digital Technologies in Today’s Times

Over the years, businesses have applied innovative digital technologies to achieve market dominance by disrupting traditional business models. With a challenging decade before us, we now have an opportunity, arguably a responsibility, to use these game-changing tools and technologies to disrupt the way we have traditionally addressed humanity’s most pressing challenges and to deliver viable solutions at scale.

The Case For Inclusive Innovation

Businesses have never been in a better position to use their tools and expertise to engage in inclusive innovation. From educating rural populations to improving crop yields, corporations have both the power and incentive to make their innovations available to solve dire environmental, health, social and economic challenges.

Inclusive Innovation In Practice

Apart from extending the benefits of innovation to the underserved, there is another inclusive dimension to this framework for innovation: creating collaborative ecosystems of different entities to drive meaningful outcomes at scale. No single organization on its own can do the heavy lifting required to reshape our current trajectory. Industry partners must collaborate with subject matter experts in research and academia, alongside governments and NGOs.

Ecosystems of this breadth and depth are critical to developing sustainable, long-term solutions. Smart cities, for example, owe their rise to the collaborative consortia of practitioners and experts. Singapore is a textbook example of this multipronged partnership. By working with technology vendors and experts in urban planning and other domains at research centers and universities, the island city-state became an internationally acclaimed smart city.

With the goal of driving sustainability and quality of life for its citizens, more platforms have been developed to deliver services by leveraging technologies like mobility, automation, AI, cybersecurity and IoT. These services ranged from introducing the world’s first driverless taxi fleet to issuing crypto-based mobile digital identities that residents can seamlessly use for both government services and commercial transactions.

The Business Case For Inclusive Innovation

Inclusive innovation is much more than ticking the corporate social responsibility box. There is a business case here: Building solutions for our most intractable problems creates a new channel for the industry to invest in and build new platforms that have scalability and effectiveness.

The Sky’s The Limit

The challenges that can be tackled by applying technology are limited only by our creativity and determination. As an example, in healthcare, technology can also play a pivotal role in closing the access gap. Telemedicine, which allows healthcare professionals to treat patients remotely via digital technologies, is gathering momentum worldwide. Monitoring devices, including wearables, cameras and bed sensors, automatically transfer data to healthcare workers who are on call to evaluate patients. People can also proactively share data with clinicians; for instance, diabetes patients can transmit their daily food intake via their mobile devices to physicians.

Overcoming Hurdles

To be sure, innovative digital technologies efforts are not for the faint of heart. There will be numerous hurdles to clear. To chart a way out of the problems we face today, we must add powerful innovative digital technologies to the solution mix, and no one is better suited to take the lead than those developing and applying these technologies. We need to collectively map social responsibility to the innovative journey of the enterprise. If we can change history by using technology to upend entire industries, imagine what we can achieve by applying them inclusively to solve the world’s most dire challenges.

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