Using technology for social impact

December 5, 2019 | Toronto, Ontario
Contributed by Rebecca Hull, Marketing and Communications Strategist
Technology for social impact panel with DSB Dean

(L-R) Dean Leonard Waverman, Dr. Candice Chow, Anne Connelly, and Andreas Souvaliotis.

In Toronto on November 14, Anne Connelly, MBA ’10, Faculty, Singularity University and Andreas Souvaliotis, MBA ’89, Author, Social Entrepreneur shared their professional experiences in using technology like blockchain, cryptocurrency, and applications to change the world. The discussion was moderated by DeGroote Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, Candice Chow.

In addition to community members, employers, and alumni, dozens of DeGroote’s Integrated Business and Humanities students attended this event to learn from the School’s leading alumni about responsible leadership and sustainable business practices.

Top six insights from Knowledge @ DeGroote event:

1. Technology can make an exponential change when applied to big global challenges around the world.

Anne now teaches at Singularity University where their focus is on shifting people’s mindsets from creating change that is ten percent better to creating something that is ten times better. The goal is to use technology to make that exponential change when you apply it to big global challenges around the world.

2. When you use technology – when you harness it the right way – you can to multiply the impact on social change.

Technology and innovation can have an exponential effect on the lives that we want to change. Andreas saw the power of this change when he created the Carrot app, which motivated 1.1 million Canadians to lead more active lifestyles.

3. It is not about social responsibility anymore; it is about social opportunity.

Andreas’ pivot into “social opportunity” was because social impact was becoming an opportunity in the world. He didn’t believe that social change was just about saving lives and hugging trees; it was about harnessing the scale of the need and building businesses around it.

4. One of the best ways to achieve impact in the world is to invest in the companies that are building technology focused on impact.

Anne believes in shifting the narrative around how to achieve impact over time. It is time to shift away from the thought that charity or social enterprise is the best way to achieve impact in the world. The way to make the biggest impact is to start a company that uses technology to solve a specific problem.

5. Younger generations are asking more from the companies that they are buying from.

Companies must create positive change – whether it is the primary reason for the business or a secondary priority. It’s not good enough to just have a corporate social responsibility program; it must be incorporated into the business model.

6. Not only is technology changing exponentially, but the problems are also changing exponentially.

The traditional solutions are never going to be good enough. It requires bigger thinking because the problems themselves are going to be big. Technology has the potential to create the change we need to see and to stop some of these enormous global challenges.

Look for the next DWPN event on January 23, featuring DeGroote alumna and Top 40 under 40 “Queen of Apps” Melody Adhami, MBA ’07, CEO of Havas Canada who will talk about Women in Tech and share her experiences in digital innovation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Policy

We generally welcome discussion on our blog posts. However, we reserve the right to edit or delete comments in certain situations:

  • Comments which include unrelated or suspicious links or messages (spam).
  • Comments which are off topic.
  • Comments which attack or threaten individuals or a group of people.
  • Comments which include profanity or messages that would generally be considered offensive or inappropriate by the McMaster community.

This site is moderated by the DeGroote Marketing and Community Engagement team. If you have any questions please email Jared Lenover.