Social & Politics

Take Responsibility!

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The lack of trust is a central issue of our time. Without trust, institutions don’t work and people lose faith in their leaders. What should we do to rebuild trust? David Kirkpatrick (Techonomy) discussed this topic with Alexander Birken (Otto Group) and Andrew McAfee (MIT).

Otto Group CEO Birken emphasizes how the company has worked on sustainability, trust and human capital for almost 30 years. “It pays on our recruiting. Young people approach Otto because of our values. Same with customers – we get more business because we act this way.” Birken wanted to make clear it’s not a PR strategy but a matter of course: “Corporations have a responsibility to explain the digital transformation and changes that are happening.” He wants companies to educate their people and explains that most people are scratching at the surface and don't really understand how far-reaching the change due to digital transformation is. “It's our responsibility as a corporation to explain these changes."

Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT, studies how digital technologies are changing business, the economy, and society. He asks: “Do we finally have companies with eternal dominance?” And added: “The answer is no!” Most important to him is looking at citizens and voters to identify the change we want.”