Technology: Threat or Opportunity?

By João Tapioca, ESSEC Global MBA Strategy & Management major 2019-2020

We had an inspiring session with Céline Marchal Dassonville from Ethiwork on how technology can be used to create a positive social and environmental impact. Our first lesson was that technology is not good nor bad in itself, but it is never neutral. Technology always brings change and the direction of change is highly dependable on human intentionality for its ordering and purpose. This is a pivotal role played by strategy consultancies especially those concerned with economic, social and environmental sustainability such as Ashoka, Ethiwork, BSR and GreenFlex among many others.

Céline stressed the difference between Tech for Good, Tech in Good and Impact Tech. While the first is related with the outcome provided by the technology, the second concerns the use of the technology itself. Tech for Good is developing a Bubble Barrier that prevents plastics disposed in rivers to reach the ocean, while Tech in Good is guaranteeing that this technology does not over oxygenate the rivers interfering negatively with the aquatic life. When both sides are addressed, this is Impact Tech. We were taught about the framework to measure this impact and reminded that we needed a common understanding of what is Tech for Good.

There is a forming consensus that it is any technology that addresses one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. I believe technology is what we make of it and I came from Brazil to ESSEC to learn how technology can be used to strengthen democracy (SDG 16). From here, I foresee a brighter future. Now, let's beat swords into plowshares.

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