As a communications professional with over 20 years in the industry, I can confidently say that one of the most refreshing and hopeful changes I’ve seen in recent years is the increasing authenticity and focus on social activism of tech organizations large and small. .
It’s one of the reasons I was excited to see impact at the forefront of TNW Conference 2022, where leaders and changemakers come together to discuss topics about how tech companies can make changes that will lead us to a more inclusive and equal industry .
The world needs CHANGE
Bee Brightnesswe firmly believe that companies have a responsibility to act as citizens of the world – we cannot expect individuals to act to effect change if we do not do the same at the organizational level.
Increasingly, consumers are not sitting in the background and waiting for companies to take a stand. They poke holes in corpspeak and demand real change – with their dollars, their votes and the decisions about where and how they work. To survive, companies must listen to these myriad voices calling for change.
This year’s TNW conference was, of course, the place to find inspiration from the likes of Boyan Slat, who left university to The Ocean Cleanupor by Green Peace CTO Priscilla Chomba-Kinywa, who shared her vision of delivering inclusive technology to the South, without falling into the trap of bias and digital colonialism.
Or take TNW Startup Pitch Battle winner Swap studio, who want us privileged western consumers to stop shopping so much, because buying less is better than buying ‘green’. So why not buy NFT traceable used or end-of-life products and save a lot of H2O and CO2?
It was also heartwarming to see that change is not the only task of young people or the underprivileged, but is supported by people of all generations and privileges. Sir Tim Berners-Lee is 67 and is trying to ‘fix’ what went wrong with his little invention: the World Wide Web. Through his new company, Inrupt, and a new open source technology called Solid, he is adamant about returning ownership of data to the users of the web.
Companies that correct past mistakes (intentionally and unintentionally) and correct mistakes are what their audiences want them to do. That’s why we moved from ‘brand authenticity’ to ‘brand activism’. It no longer serves to passively share your values and pay lip service to charities. Companies must speak up.
That’s why we need companies like Accion at the forefront; CEO Michael Schlein spoke at an enlightening fireside about how fintech can disrupt a global financial system that currently abandons three billion people living in poverty. We assume that we have credit cards, that we can buy a house, start a business. Our bills and income come on a monthly basis. For many of us, that’s the norm. But think of the many farmers in vast parts of the world who are paid only once or twice a year at harvest time!
But now “we live in a revolution of innovation,” as Schlein puts it. “When you’re dealing with financial services for the poor, the argument was that distances were insurmountable or transactions would be too small.” Technology has changed all this. Fintech companies with the right activist mindset can provide security, visibility and opportunity to people hitherto ignored by the tech industry.
In a world that increasingly looks like it is in crisis economically, politically, socially and environmentally, we should look to the tech industry to shape our future and build a cleaner, healthier and fairer world. These are the companies we work with at Clarity. Because stories that bring about positive change need to be heard. We’ve had too many negative stories about technology making things worse. Let’s reinforce the stories that make things better.