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Infusing Digital Responsibility into Your Organization



In 2018, Rick Smith, founder and CEO of Axon, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based manufacturer of Taser weapons and body cameras, became concerned that advances in technology were creating new and challenging ethical issues. So, he set up an independent AI ethics board made up of ethicists, AI experts, public policy specialists, and representatives of law enforcement to provide recommendations to Axon’s management. In 2019, the board recommended against adding facial recognition technology to the company’s line of body cameras, and in 2020, it provided guidelines regarding the use of automated license plate recognition technology. Axon’s management followed both recommendations.

In 2022, the board recommended against a management proposal to produce a drone-mounted Taser designed to address mass shootings. After initially accepting the board’s recommendation, the company changed its mind and, in June 2022, in the wake of the Uvalde school shootings, announced it was launching the taser drone program anyway. The board’s response was dramatic: Nine of the 13 members resigned, and they released a letter that outlined their concerns. In response, the company announced a freeze on the project.

As societal expectations grow for the responsible use of digital technologies, firms that promote better practices will have a distinct advantage. According to a 2022 study, 58% of consumers, 60% of employees, and 64% of investors make key decisions based on their beliefs and values. Strengthening your organization’s digital responsibility can drive value creation, and brands regarded as more responsible will enjoy higher levels of stakeholder trust and loyalty. These businesses will sell more products and services, find it easier to recruit staff, and enjoy fruitful relationships with shareholders.

However, many organizations struggle to balance the legitimate but competing stakeholder interests. Key tensions arise between business objectives and responsible digital practices. For example, data localization requirements often contradict with the efficiency ambitions of globally distributed value chains. Ethical and responsible checks and balances that need to be introduced during AI/algorithm development tend to slow down development speed, which can be a problem when time-to-market is of utmost importance. Better data and analytics may enhance service personalization, but at the cost of customer privacy. Risks related to transparency and discrimination issues may dissuade organizations from using algorithms that could help drive cost reductions.

If managed effectively, digital responsibility can protect organizations from threats and open them up to new opportunities. Drawing from our ongoing research into digital transformations and in-depth studies of 12 large European firms across the consumer goods, financial services, information and communication technology, and pharmaceutical sectors who are active in digital responsibility, we derived four best practices to maximize business value and minimize resistance.

1. Anchor digital responsibility within your organizational values.

Digital responsibility commitments can be formulated into a charter that outlines key principles and benchmarks that your organization will adhere to. Start with a basic question: How do you define your digital responsibility objectives? The answer can often be found in your organization’s values, which is articulated in your mission statement or CSR commitments.

According to Jakob Woessner, manager of organizational development and digital transformation at cosmetics and personal care company Weleda, “our values framed what we wanted to do in the digital world, where we set our own limits, where we would go or not go.” The company’s core values are fair treatment, sustainability, integrity, and diversity. So when it came to establishing a robotics process automation program, Weleda executives were careful to ensure that it wasn’t associated with job losses, which would have violated the core value of fair treatment.

2. Extend digital responsibility beyond compliance.

While corporate values provide a useful anchor point for digital responsibility principles, relevant regulations on data privacy, IP rights, and AI cannot be overlooked. Forward-thinking organizations are taking steps to go beyond compliance and improve their behavior in areas such as cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy.

For example, UBS Banking Group’s efforts on data protection were kickstarted by GDPR compliance but have since evolved to focus more broadly on data-management practices, AI ethics, and climate-related financial disclosures. “It’s like puzzle blocks. We started with GDPR and then you just start building upon these blocks and the level moves up constantly,” said Christophe Tummers, head of service line data at the bank.

The key, we have found, is to establish a clear link between digital responsibility and value creation. One way this can be achieved is by complementing compliance efforts with a forward-looking risk-management mindset, especially in areas lacking technical implementation standards or where the law is not yet enforced. For example, Deutsche Telekom (DT) developed its own risk classification system for AI-related projects. The use of AI can expose organizations to risks associated with biased data, unsuitable modeling techniques, or inaccurate decision-making. Understanding the risks and building practices to reduce them are important steps in digital responsibility. DT includes these risks in scorecards used to evaluate technology projects.

Making digital responsibility a shared outcome also helps organizations move beyond compliance. Swiss insurance company Die Mobiliar built an interdisciplinary team consisting of representatives from compliance, business security, data science, and IT architecture.  “We structured our efforts around a common vision where business strategy and personal data work together on proactive value creation,” explains Matthias Brändle, product owner of data science and AI.

3. Set up clear governance.

Getting digital responsibility governance right is not easy. Axon had the right idea when it set up an independent AI ethics board. However, the governance was not properly thought through, so when the company disagreed with the board’s recommendation, it fell into a governance grey area marked by competing interests between the board and management.

Setting up a clear governance structure can minimize such tensions. There is an ongoing debate about whether to create a distinct team for digital responsibility or to weave responsibility throughout the organization.

Pharmaceutical company Merck took the first approach, setting up a digital ethics board to provide guidance on complex matters related to data usage, algorithms, and new digital innovations. It decided to act due to an increasing focus on AI-based approaches in drug discovery and big data applications in human resources and cancer research. The board provides recommendations for action, and any decision going against the board’s recommendation needs to be formally justified and documented.

Global insurance company Swiss Re adopted the second approach, based on the belief that digital responsibility should be part of all of the organization’s activities. “Whenever there is a digital angle, the initiative owner who normally resides in the business is responsible. The business initiative owners are supported by experts in central teams, but the business lines are accountable for its implementation,” explained Lutz Wilhelmy, SwissRe risk and regulation advisor.

Another option we’ve seen is a hybrid model, consisting of a small team of internal and external experts, who guide and support managers within the business lines to operationalize digital responsibility. The benefits of this approach includes raised awareness and distributed accountability throughout the organization.

4. Ensure employees understand digital responsibility.

Today’s employees need to not only appreciate the opportunities and risks of working with different types of technology and data, they must also be able to raise the right questions and have constructive discussions with colleagues.

Educating the workforce on digital responsibility was one of the key priorities of the Otto Group, a German e-commerce enterprise. “Lifelong learning is becoming a success factor for each and every individual, but also for the future viability of the company,” explained Petra Scharner-Wolff, member of the executive board for finance, controlling, and human resources. To kickstart its efforts, Otto developed an organization-wide digital education initiative leveraging a central platform that included scores of videos on topics related to digital ethics, responsible data practices, and how to resolve conflicts.

Learning about digital responsibility presents both a short-term challenge of upskilling the workforce, and a longer-term challenge to create a self-directed learning culture that adapts to the evolving nature of technology. As issues related to digital responsibility rarely happen in a vacuum, we recommend embedding aspects of digital responsibility into ongoing ESG skilling programs,that also focus on promoting ethical behavior considering a broader set of stakeholders. This type of contextual learning can help employees navigate the complex facets of digital responsibility in a more applied and meaningful way.

Your organization’s needs and resources will determine whether you choose to upskill your entire workforce or rely on a few specialists. A balance of both can be ideal providing a strong foundation of digital ethics knowledge and understanding across the organization, while also having experts on hand to provide specialized guidance when needed.

Digital responsibility is fast becoming an imperative for today’s organizations. Success is by no means guaranteed. Yet, by taking a proactive approach, forward-looking organizations can build and maintain responsible practices linked to their use of digital technologies. These practices not only improve digital performance, but also enhance organizational objectives.


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Revolutionizing Marketing: The Power of AI in the Digital Age



Embracing AI-Powered Marketing: Transforming Brands in the Digital Marketplace

In the crowded digital marketplace, standing out is challenging. Enter AI-powered marketing, a revolutionary upgrade transforming brands into digital powerhouses.

Hyper-Personalized Campaigns: Beyond Basic Personalization

Gone are the days of generic marketing. Today’s gold standard is AI-driven hyper-personalization. This approach uses customer data analysis to create deeply resonant, individualized marketing campaigns. With AI’s ability to segment audiences based on intricate criteria, including purchasing history and browsing behavior, your messages can hit the mark every time.

Enhanced Customer Journey Mapping

AI’s capabilities extend to mapping the entire customer journey. By predicting needs and preferences at each stage, AI aids in crafting narratives that guide customers from discovery to purchase, integrating your brand into their personal stories.

SEO Wizardry: Mastering Search Engine Dynamics

With ever-changing algorithms, SEO is a complex puzzle. AI serves as a sophisticated navigator, deciphering these changes through machine learning. It aids in keyword optimization, understanding search intent, and aligning content with search trends.

Predictive SEO

AI tools offer predictive SEO, anticipating search engine and user behavior changes. This proactive stance ensures your brand’s prominent visibility in search results, capturing the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Mastery: Crafting a Digital Narrative

AI transforms social media strategies from uncertain to precise. By analyzing vast social data, AI provides insights into resonating content.

Content Optimization

AI analyzes performance data to recommend effective content types. This data-driven approach refines your social media content strategy.

Engagement Analysis

AI examines user interaction nuances, understanding engagement patterns. It helps tailor interactions for maximum impact, including adjusting posting schedules and messaging for increased relevance.

Conclusion: Navigating the AI-Driven Marketing Landscape

AI-powered marketing is essential for thriving in the digital age, offering precision and personalization beyond traditional methods. For small businesses, it’s a chance to leverage AI for impactful, data-driven strategies.

As we embrace the AI revolution, the future of marketing is not just bright but intelligently radiant. With AI as your digital ally, your brand is equipped for a successful journey, making every marketing effort and customer interaction count.

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AI: Your Small Business Ally in a Digital Age



In the ever-evolving landscape of modern commerce, small business owners find themselves at a crossroads of opportunity and obsolescence. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI) – once the exclusive domain of tech behemoths, it now stands as the great equalizer, offering small businesses a competitive edge previously unthinkable. The emergence of AI as a wingman for small businesses is not just a fleeting trend but a fundamental shift in how entrepreneurs can leverage technology to revolutionize their operations.

The 24/7 Customer Service Hero: Chatbots

In the digital storefront, customer service is the heartbeat of business survival and success. Chatbots emerge as the indefatigable heroes of this domain. Envision a customer service agent that never clocks out an entity that requires no sleep or sustenance yet delivers consistently and instantaneously. These AI-driven chat interfaces embody the essence of your brand’s voice, capable of handling a barrage of customer queries with a speed that outpaces the swiftest of typists. They are the embodiment of efficiency – ensuring that customer satisfaction is not just met but exceeded around the clock.

Unearthing Market Treasures: Data Dive

AI’s prowess in pattern recognition has catapulted data analytics into a realm once considered the stuff of science fiction. Small business owners armed with AI tools can sift through vast swathes of data to extract actionable insights. These algorithms act as modern-day oracles, predicting market trends, discerning customer behaviors, and offering sales forecasts with remarkable accuracy. Equipped with: this knowledge, small businesses, can navigate the market with the foresight and precision of an experienced captain steering through foggy seas.

Personalization at Scale: Customize Like a Boss

The age-old business mantra of the customer is king is given new potency with AI’s personalization capabilities. Tailoring the customer experience is no longer a luxury but a necessity. AI enables small businesses to offer bespoke experiences to consumers, making them feel like the sole focus of their attention. It’s personalization executed with such finesse that customers are left marveling at the thoughtfulness and individual attention, fostering loyalty and establishing deep-rooted brand connections.

Offloading the Mundane: Task Slayers

Repetitive tasks are the bane of creativity and innovation. AI steps in as the ultimate task slayer, automating routine chores that once consumed disproportionate amounts of time. From scheduling appointments to managing inventory, AI liberates entrepreneurs from the drudgery of administrative duties, freeing them to refocus on the creative and strategic endeavors that propel business growth.

Mastering Social Media: Social Savants

Social media – the pulsing vein of modern marketing – demands astuteness and agility. AI emerges as the savant of social media, capable of demystifying platform algorithms to optimize content delivery. It knows the optimal times to post, the types of content that resonate with audiences, and the strategies that convert passive scrollers into engaged customers. By automating your social media presence, AI transforms your brand into an online sensation, cultivating a digital community of brand ambassadors.

The Verdict: Embracing AI

For a small business owner, AI is not about an overnight overhaul but strategic integration. The goal is to start small, allowing AI to shoulder incremental aspects of your business, learning and scaling as you witness tangible benefits. The transition to AI-enablement does not necessitate a background in technology; it requires a willingness to embrace change and a vision for the future.

In summary, as the digital revolution marches forward, AI stands ready to partner with small businesses, providing them with tools once deemed the province of giants. This partnership promises to elevate the small business landscape, ushering in an era of democratized technology where every entrepreneur can harness the power of AI to write their own David vs. Goliath success story. AI, the once-distant dream, is now the most loyal wingman a small business can enlist in its quest for growth and innovation.

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Apple’s October Scary Fast Event: Everything revealed about the new MacBook Pro, iMac and M3 chips



It’s time for another Apple event, with a spooky twist. The company announced a surprise “Scary Fast” event last week, prompting the rumor mill to speculate that Apple would be revealing new chips to power a new lineup of Macs.

As our resident Apple expert Brian Heater wrote, a new 24-inch iMac and a MacBook Pro refresh would be the most likely new announcements to expect from the October event, and as it turns out, he was spot-on. Apple’s new M3 chip lineup was the focal point of the event, powering each of the devices Apple showcased in their half-hour prerecorded event that had some fog, some bats and ominous choir music…but no big surprises for those following the rumor mill.

Since the event kicked off off at the uncharacteristically late time of 8pm ET / 5pm PT, so you might have missed out out on the reveals while putting the finishing touches on your Halloween decorating, or watching Monday Night Football. No judgement, we’re here to recap everything the October Apple event showcased in one spot.

New M3 chips

Credit: Apple

The “scary fast” part of the Apple event, as expected, are the new M3 chips. Apple has announce a M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max, which will be included in Apple’s new 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pros.

This time around, Apple has placed an emphasis on graphical horsepower, with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, mesh shading and Dynamic Caching, which Apple claims “dramatically increases the average utilization of the GPU” by allotting exact amount of local memory to given tasks. These new chips were frequently benchmarked against their M1 predecessor, with Apple claiming the M3 renders at 2.5x the speed of the M1 and its CPU is 30% faster than the M1.

Check out the full rundown of the three M3 chips right here.

New MacBook Pro models

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 Update in Space Black Color

Credit: Apple

Yes, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros come with upgraded internals, but the first thing you might notice is the new color: Space Black. Beneath that color, you’ll find that new line of M3 chips. The 14-inch MacBook Pro can contain any of the trio, while the 16-inch model will only come with the M3 Pro or M3 Max chips.

As we’ve noted, the M3 chips packed into both models are putting an emphasis on getting the most out of the new GPU, though Apple also boasts that both form factors’ battery can last 22 hours on a single charge.

Both are available for preorder tonight, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro starting at $1,599 and going to $1,999 with the M3 Pro. The baseline 16-inch MacBook Pro goes for $2,499 and the pricing for the M3 Max chip upgrade for both models has yet to be disclosed.

And that space black color is exciting news for any Mac fan still pining for the 2006 MacBook, whose dark tone hadn’t been replicated in the MacBook iterations that followed, even those Midnight MacBook Airs.

Check out the full rundown on the new MacBook Pros here.

New M3 iMac

2023 M3 iMac Spec Rundown

Credit: Apple

Apple’s iMac line is getting a colorful refresh, with an added M3 chip to add horsepower to the palette change. Apple is sticking with the 24-inch form factor, and upgrading the screen with a 4.5K retina display, 1080p FaceTime camera and a six-speaker system supporting Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The new iMac will be available for preorder with green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue and silver options starting tonight.

The $1,299 baseline comes with a 8-core GPU and 8-core CPU, with a $1,499 version upgrading you to a 256 SSD.

For more info about what else is new in the M3 iMac, head here.

An sneaky iPhone showcase

You may not have noticed it, but at the very end of the event, Apple dropped a quick note on the stream: “This event was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac.” It’s a bit of a victory lap, but as our other Apple expert Darrell Etherington notes, it’s a pretty impressive flex for Apple to shoot its half-hour hardware showcase entirely on a phone.

Recap the full Scary Fast event

If you want to just dive right in and experience the October event all over again or for the first time, you can catch the entire archive via the YouTube embed below right on Apple’s website.

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