The state of responsible technology
What we can conclude is that responsible technology is now more than an assumption or a buzzword: it has become a concrete business consideration in all sectors. Leaders are increasingly questioning the impact of responsible technology policies on the perception of the brand by customers, investors, suppliers and partners. Organizations are thinking more seriously about how their current and future employees view their use and creation of technology. And forward-looking business leaders, both small and large, expect responsible technology, and practices related to environmental sustainability in particular, to continue to grow in importance.
Here are several other key findings:
• Organizations expect responsible technology investments to pay off in building brand reputation and customer and employee loyalty. When asked about the tangible business benefits of adopting responsible technology, the top three responses were improved customer acquisition/retention (47%), improved brand perception (46%), and prevention of unintended negative consequences and the associated brand risk (44%). Close behind are the top three, attracting and retaining top talent (43%) and improving sustainability (43%).
• Large companies take initiatives, while small ones react. Drivers of responsible technology policies come from a variety of internal and external sources. Large companies were more likely to say they were motivated by a desire to attract investors and partners (53%) and to align with their own mission and values (44%), while small companies were more likely to cite a desire to improve the perception of their organization (54%) and to strengthen employee retention (45%).
• No consensus on the responsible practices to be favoured. Organizations name a wide range of goals for their responsible technology practices, with inclusive design, data privacy, environmental impact, eliminating AI bias, and diversifying the workforce, each in the top three for about half of the respondents. User privacy and monitoring were considered less important than all the other options offered, with only 35% of respondents ranking it among their organization’s top three goals.
• Senior management must be involved to make impactful policies a reality. The most cited barriers to responsible technology adoption are lack of awareness from senior management (52%), organizational resistance to change (46%), and internal competing priorities (46%).
• Organizations both fear and appreciate the regulations surrounding responsible technology. Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) cite compliance with existing laws, such as GDPR, or anticipation of ongoing (and potentially more extensive) regulation as a major motivation for adopting responsible technology practices , although this figure varies widely by industry and geography. While some business leaders express apprehension over the ongoing regulations, others cite them as important directions for the industry.
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