It’s being said a lot: we are living in unprecedented times. It is precisely when we face the unknown, or a new endeavour, the need for leadership emerges stronger than ever. This is now particularly true in the digital age, given the key role technology is playing in tackling the pandemic and keeping the global economy going while social distancing is the norm.
This kind of leadership has been exercised by the signatories of the Digital Declaration (www.digitaldeclaration.com), a commitment by global CEOs, to practice responsible leadership in the digital age. Since its launch at the World Economic Forum in January 2019 with the endorsement of 40 CEOs it has more than doubled its number. This reflects the growing momentum for a new form of leadership which delivers progress against a triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.
The Digital Declaration signatories are living up to their commitment by taking timely action to safeguard their employees, customers, and society without compromising the protection of personal data. They are also taking action to support the efforts from the public sector during this crisis. Here are just a few examples.
Signatories taking action
As connectivity becomes not only essential, but truly critical in these challenging times, so does the role of telecommunications providers. Telefónica is making every effort to ensure its networks work at full capacity, in a reliable, stable and secure way, while protecting the health of its employees and working closely with health authorities and social agents. For instance, it has increased customers’ mobile data allowance and entertainment offering at no extra cost, as well as reinforcing the educational content on its Foundation’s online learning platforms. To help contribute to efforts to contain the outbreak, Telefónica has made its Big Data and anonymised data management capacities available to public administrations and health institutions, and has created a fund of 25 million euros to provide healthcare equipment and ventilators to the most needed areas. “Telecom companies are part of the solution to this crisis. Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked closely with the health authorities and social partners to provide a responsible response to all our stakeholders. We will continue to support our communities in this unprecedented crisis.” said José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica. Other mobile operators including Vodafone, Telenor, Deutsche Telekom, Airtel, MTN, Orange, to name a few, have been actively engaging with public and healthcare authorities with data analysis too.
Putting people first is also a core value at Lenovo, which has taken measures to safeguard its employees, partners, customers and communities. Lenovo CEO, Yuanqing Yang, believes “Technology will play a key role in helping address the near term challenges the virus has created.” This is why Lenovo has donated technology to new hospitals as well as researchers studying the virus, made software and hardware available to schools to operate online, and added donations from its employees worldwide, including its CEO. Moreover, this pandemic has highlighted the relevance of Lenovo’s mission to increase access to technology and connectivity for under–resourced communities. Lenovo philanthropy is working with global partners and communities to connect these populations with access to technology and education.
VMware also shares this concern for people. CEO, Pat Gelsinger said “I am more convinced than ever that we have the resilience, the grit and the resourcefulness to get through this together.” Under this spirit of collaboration, a global group of VMware employees created a solution to make it easier for businesses and individuals around the world to contribute their unused computer power to Folding@Home, a project that allows people to help researchers find potential cures to diseases like COVID-19. Furthermore, VMware is supporting its customers’ efforts to find innovative ways to overcome this crisis, as well as providing government agencies around the world with digital workspace solutions to empower their mobile teams, assuring the delivery of critical services.
Infobip is taking care of its community too. The company is offering its global cloud communications platform free of charge to public health and government institutions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also Cisco is doing a great job supporting its communities. The company has partnered with #FirstRespondersFirst to Open Four Bright Horizons Centres to offer free child care to first responder healthcare workers.
CEOs are taking the lead and showing true leadership, the kind that does not wait but instead works efficiently to provide innovative solutions while collaborating and enabling others to contribute. Companies will be defined by the way they react to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud the Digital Declaration signatories are living up to the challenge and are showing what it means to be a responsible leader in the digital age.