At Gofore, we have been referring to ourselves as ‘pioneers of ethical digitalisation’ for years. This year, we want to more concretely explain what it means to us.
Ethical digitalisation, for us, goes beyond merely complying with laws and regulations; it is deeply rooted in the company’s values and culture. Gofore has always wanted to operate on the ‘good side’ so to speak, and create a positive impact on the world. It is important to us that, in addition to simply avoiding harmful activities, we are able to promote digitalisation that improves the quality of life.
On a high level, pioneering an ethical digital world means, for example, inclusion, demanding transparency, built-in accountability, accepting and possibly even building frameworks and reporting models, strong company values as a basis of company culture, and courage to lead the discussion.
More concretely, Gofore’s commitment to ethics materialises in everyday work and impactful customer projects of digital society and intelligent industry, through which we leave our mark on the surrounding world together with our customers from various industries.
In practice, we see pioneering an ethical digital world meaning, for example, cybersecurity, accessibility, supporting green transition in the heavy industry, artificial intelligence and automation, electrification, and ESG consulting.
Collaboration within Gofore brings synergy to ethical digitalisation
In customer projects, a comprehensive ethical perspective is key. Collaboration within Gofore plays a vital role in bringing synergy to the realisation of ethical digitalisation. Through our growing integrated service offering, we are able to support our customers’ production and service processes and their lifecycle more broadly, and thus also develop the ethicality of our customers’ business.
For example, through management consulting, we are able to bring ethical perspectives to the management level early in the process, after which they naturally flow into practical implementation and development work. By strongly integrating design into development, we aim to ensure the ethical and accessible utilisation of technology, data, and artificial intelligence.
Our testing and cybersecurity functions, on the other hand, are pivotal in ensuring the high quality and security of the services we build. Quality assurance also enables more efficient and thereby more sustainable work by identifying errors already in the development phase. This minimises rework and reduces the carbon footprint, all while ensuring high user satisfaction.
In addition, the role of change management is emphasised in promoting ethics. It helps to take care of people during change and to create change resilience, which ensures the adoption of new ways of thinking and working. Gofore has started to leverage change management expertise in various projects.
Multidimensional benefits of ethical digitalisation
Enthusiasm for ethical digitalisation should of course arise simply from the fact that it aims to create a better world and society. Technology is one of the significant factors that enable the mankind to solve complex challenges such as climate change. However, ethical digitalisation offers many other concrete advantages.
Ethical choices not only reduce negative environmental impacts, but can also save costs and build more sustainable growth. One concrete example of this is moving energy-intensive services to the cloud. In addition, the awareness of ethics and sustainable development among various stakeholders, such as consumers and investors, is continually increasing. We see these aspects becoming key business drivers and competitive factors, creating a strong foundation for customer relationships as well.
A genuine commitment to ethical digitalisation is also important in terms of employer reputation. Younger generations in particular increasingly value ethically operating organisations, and an organisation’s ethical values may strongly influence their decision to join the organisation. We have witnessed this ourselves.
Contemporary issues, such as geopolitical challenges and changes in the security environment, are visible to everyone. Partly because of this, the need for meaningful work and the ability to make an impact has grown, which is reflected in people’s commitment. Ethical actions and responsibility create a sense of meaning in daily work, especially when working on impactful projects. Thus, ethical action increases both the attractiveness and retention power of an organisation, especially when it is genuine and value-based.
Ethical competence as a competitive advantage for digital experts
We argue that ethical competence is a significant advantage for experts in today’s digital environment. Organisations are expected to pay increasing attention to how technological problems can be solved ethically and sustainably. While the ethical principles of an organisation are often defined at the management level, the ethical competence of experts becomes crucial in translating these principles into practice.
So it is not just about understanding ethical aspects, but the ability to integrate ethics into everyday work, providing a meaningful and business-critical touch to the project at hand. When thinking about ethical competence, the human perspective is also essential, especially if the expert works as a consultant in the customer interface.
While quantitative metrics, such as project schedule, are crucial, real quality lies in the experience and trust of the customer and the customer’s customer. The feeling of quality arises from successful handling of challenges, and honest and respectful communication with the customer.
Quality also includes the ability to add value. Ethical digitalisation as a term might be less familiar than, for example, sustainable development or artificial intelligence. Its direct business benefits and impact can also sometimes be challenging to identify and justify. Consequently, the ability to concretise abstract concepts and thereby enlighten others is increasingly valued.
We invite you to join us in developing ethical digitalisation! It is about concrete actions towards a more sustainable world.
The authors are Gofore’s business directors.