10 Business Leaders on How to Ensure a Safe and Equitable Digital Transformation

World Economic Forum
January 31, 2022
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Business leaders at the forefront of the digital transformation of business and society reveal their strategies for ensuring an equitable digital transformation.

Digital transformation demands fundamental change across every part of the organization and this change must come from the top. What, exactly, should CEOs and business leaders do? How do we achieve this change in an equitable, sustainable way? What mindsets must leaders adopt, and what concrete approaches should they implement across their organizations, supply chains and communities? The World Economic Forum asked 10 business leaders at the forefront of the digital transformation their strategies for Industry 4.0 success. Here’s what they had to say.


Predictions 2022: Business leaders on how can we ensure a safe and equitable digital transformation

The past 18 months have transformed society – and sped up the digital transformation of our world.

On the plus side, digital technologies allowed business and society to continue to function even during lockdowns – helping companies survive, vulnerable people access healthcare and children continue to learn. When the worst of the pandemic is, someday, behind us, we’ll be able to take many of these lessons – and technological advancements ­– with us to enable greater access to healthcare (especially mental healthcare), education, job training and finance.

And it provided a much-needed boost to the pandemic economy. The UN's Sustainable Development Report 2021 highlighted the role of technology manufacturing as a key driver of the economic recovery, citing the rise in demand for computer electronics due to the global shift toward working from home, remote-learning and e-commerce.

However, with 3 billion people worldwide still offline, the pandemic also exposed and exacerbated digital inequality and the gaps that still exist in digital access, according to a report from the World Economic Forum and BCG.

And while many countries and industries were able to quickly access and seamlessly adapt to new forms of human interaction and remote work, the speed of the transition has led to vulnerabilities and risk. In 2020, we saw a 358% increase in malware and 435% increase in ransomware attacks. This further exacerbates digital inequality, with attacks on large and strategic systems carrying cascading physical consequences across societies, and prevention entailing higher costs. Intangible risks—such as disinformation, fraud and lack of digital safety—will also impact public trust in digital systems.

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World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

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