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Technology for Good Workshop Showcases INSEAD Alumni in Action


Hoffmann Institute

Technology for Good Workshop Showcases INSEAD Alumni in Action

Technology for Good Workshop Showcases INSEAD Alumni in Action

The February workshop in Munich, organized by the National Alumni Association of Germany’s Business and Society Club, points to the powerful potential of our INSEAD community to have positive impact in the world. 

The late-2017 impact survey of more than 5,700 INSEAD alumni sponsored by Dirk Luyten MBA‘89J, gives us some interesting insight into our alumni community. The survey shows that 42% work for firms with more than 5,000 employees, 36% have C-suite posts and 69% have regional or global responsibilities.

Applied to the entire INSEAD alumni community of over 58,000 members from 163 nationalities operating in 176 countries, these numbers clearly show our community’s global reach.

Just imagine if members of this global community joined forces to create, lead and manage organizations that contribute to positive societal progress. The exciting news is that a lot is being done already and several National Alumni Associations and the INDEVOR Global Club are kick-starting business and society initiatives to accelerate progress.

I had those numbers in the back of my mind when I attended the Technology for Good workshop organized by the INSEAD National Alumni Association of Germany’s Business and Society Club in Munich last month.

It was great to see more than 60 alumni show up after work on a regular Thursday at the IBM Watson IoT Centre (#BestViewofMunich) to unpack the concept of technology as a force for good. I was particularly impressed with the group collaborations on practical implications for professional work. I enjoyed seeing these leaders reflect on what they could do differently to achieve more and more meaningful impact.

In a classic INSEAD format, live cases from esteemed guests were used to spark conversation: Wolfgang Ziebart, sitting on the boards of JaguarLandRover, Infineon, Continental, BMW, ASML, Nordex and Autoliv, shared what he did in all these functions to “leave the world a better place with the help of technology”.

Allessandra Hawthorne, heading ethics and compliance with Boehringer Ingelheim, showed how technology helps companies follow responsible rules.

Angela Lawaldt, Partner at Bonventure Impact Investors, walked us through investments made in revenue-generating businesses delivering solutions in health, education and the empowerment of disadvantaged groups.

John Vasquez, head of Software Development with IBM IoT and a man who holds over 200 (yes…two hundred) patents, recalled how he designed an AI-based obstacle detector to enable blind athletes to run marathons.

These are all projects that enable positive progress and showcase the potential of impact-driven leadership. And the conversation surfaced more examples from alumni in areas ranging from climate change to defense. It was great to hear how INSEAD leaders are transforming organizations, one story at a time.

These stories also reminded me of some underlying truths – the power of human-centered storytelling; the importance of considering technological and sustainable transformation together and the fact that technology design is never neutral. In short, the event demonstrated that making technology a force for good is up to us and decisions we take.

Overall, the evening was a great illustration of what life-long learning looks in practice. Reflecting on what made it effective beside excellent presentations, it struck me that the engaged crowd really invested in making the exercise work and the diversity of viewpoints from alumni living in the region – but not all from Germany – provided different perspectives. With a little bit of German social lubricant added to the mix, it was the recipe for a classic INSEAD cocktail.

Check out the official story here.

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