New Technologies

There is also mounting evidence of the advantages that can accrue to organizations that think about these issues proactively and align their strategies and actions with their commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Reported benefits range from increased employee commitment to positive customer reactions and improved financial performance. The reputational damage firms incur when they are found to have failed to behave responsibly can be severe (e.g., Volkswagen’s falsification of diesel emissions tests).

In addition to responding to environmental and demographic changes in the workplace and marketplace, organizations and their leaders must embrace the trite but true statements about the impact of technological change. Underpinning technological change is the sweeping impact that the digitization of information is having. The quantity of data available to managers is mind- boggling. It is estimated that digital data will grow from 400 billion gigabytes of Web-enabled data in 2013 to 40 trillion gigabytes by 2020.51 The explosion in the amount of data available will be aided by the impact of inexpensive nano-scale microelectronics that will allow us to add sensors and collection capacity to just about anything. The use of data mining methodologies and artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly common in organizations that seek to transform data into information.52 The following list of technological innovations points to the breadth of changes we can anticipate. This is not the stuff of science fiction. In most of these areas, applications are already present and costs are declining rapidly:

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Software that writes its own code, reducing human error Health care by cell phone, laptop, and app Vertical farming to save space and increase yield

The Internet of Things, cloud technology, and crowd sourcing are providing access to massive data pools that can be translated into useful information and action. The automation of knowledge work Advanced robotics, from industrial applications to surgery Wearable computing, from basic data gathering to human augmentation and computer–brain interfaces Autonomous and near autonomous vehicles Next-generation genomics, from agricultural applications to substance production (e.g., fuel) and disease treatment applications Renewable energy and energy storage breakthroughs that will change energy access and cost equations 3-D printing for applications as varied as the production of auto parts and human body parts Advanced materials (e.g., nano technology) for a host of applications that will result in dramatic reductions in weight and improvements in strength, flexibility, and connectivity Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery technologies.


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