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Embedding Digital Responsibility in Your Organization



In 2018, Rick Smith, founder and CEO of Axon, a stun gun and body camera manufacturer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, was concerned that advances in technology were creating new and challenging ethical challenges. So he created an independent AI ethics board, made up of ethicists, AI experts, public policy experts, and law enforcement officials, to advise Axon’s leadership. In 2019, the council recommended against adding facial recognition technology to the company’s body camera lineup, and in 2020 made recommendations regarding the use of automatic license plate recognition technology. Axon management followed both recommendations.

In 2022, the board recommended that a proposal for a manual for the production of a drone stun gun designed to combat mass shootings be dropped. After initially accepting the board’s recommendation, the company changed its mind and in June 2022, following the Uvalde school shooting, announced anyway, he was running the taser program. The board’s reaction was dramatic: Nine out of 13 members resignedand they released letter who expressed their concerns. In response, the company announced a freeze on the project.

As societal expectations for the responsible use of digital technologies rise, firms promoting best practices will have a clear advantage. In accordance with 2022 study, 58% of consumers, 60% of employees and 64% of investors make key decisions based on their beliefs and values. Increasing your organization’s digital responsibility can drive value creation, and brands that are seen as more responsible will enjoy higher levels of stakeholder trust and loyalty. These enterprises will sell more goods and services, it will be easier for them to hire staff and maintain fruitful relationships with shareholders.

However, many organizations have struggled to balance the legitimate interests of competing stakeholders. The main tensions arise between business goals and responsible digital practices. For example, requirements for data localization often conflict with the aspirations for efficiency in globally distributed value chains. The ethical and responsible checks and balances that need to be put in place during AI/algorithm development tend to slow down development speed, which can be a problem when time to market is paramount. Better data and analytics can improve service personalization, but at the cost of customer privacy. The risks associated with transparency and discrimination issues may discourage organizations from using algorithms that could help reduce costs.

If managed effectively, digital responsibility can protect organizations from threats and open up new opportunities for them. Based on our ongoing digital transformation research and in-depth research on 12 major European consumer goods, financial services, information and communications technology and pharmaceutical firms that are actively involved in digital responsibility, we have developed four best practices for maximizing business value. and minimize resistance.

1. Tie digital responsibility to corporate values.

Commitment to digital responsibility can be formulated as a charter that sets out the key principles and guidelines that your organization will follow. Start with a basic question: how do you define your digital responsibility goals? The answer can often be found in your organization’s values, which are articulated in your CSR mission or commitment.

According to Jakob Wessner, manager of organizational development and digital transformation at beauty and personal care company Weleda, “Our values ​​determined what we wanted to do in a digital world where we set our own limits on where we would go or not go.” . “. The core values ​​of the company are fair treatment, sustainability, honesty and diversity. So when it came to setting up a robotics process automation program, Weleda’s executives were careful to make sure it didn’t involve job losses, which would violate the core value of fair treatment.

2. Extend digital accountability beyond compliance.

While corporate values ​​provide a useful anchor point for digital responsibility principles, relevant provisions on data privacy, intellectual property rights and artificial intelligence cannot be overlooked. Forward-thinking organizations are taking steps to go beyond compliance and improve your behavior in areas such as cybersecurity, data protection and privacy.

For example, UBS Banking Group’s data protection efforts began with GDPR compliance, but have since become more focused on data governance practices, AI ethics, and climate-related financial disclosure. “It’s like puzzle pieces. We started with GDPR and then you just start using these blocks and the level goes up all the time,” said Christoph Tammers, head of data at the bank.

We have found that the key is to establish a clear link between digital responsibility and value creation. One way to achieve this is to complement compliance efforts with a forward-thinking approach to risk management, especially in areas where technical implementation standards are lacking or where the law is not yet enforced. For example, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has developed its own risk classification system for AI-related projects. The use of AI can expose organizations to the risks of biased data, inappropriate modeling techniques, or inaccurate decision making. Understanding risks and developing methods to mitigate them are important steps in digital responsibility. DT includes these risks in the scorecards used to evaluate technology projects.

Turning digital responsibility into a shared outcome also helps organizations go beyond compliance. The Swiss insurance company Die Mobiliar has created an interdisciplinary team consisting of representatives from compliance, business security, data science and IT architecture. “We structured our efforts around a shared vision where business strategy and personal data work together to proactively create value,” explains Matthias Brandle, Data Science and AI Product Owner.

3. Set clear controls.

Ensuring that digital responsibility is properly managed is not easy. Axon had the right idea when it was created by an independent AI ethics board. However, governance was not well thought out, so when the company disagreed with the board’s recommendation, it fell into a governance gray area marked by competing board and management interests.

Establishing a clear governance structure can minimize such tensions. There is an ongoing debate about whether to create a separate team for digital responsibility or distribute responsibility throughout the organization.

Pharmaceutical company Merck took the first path, creating digital ethics council provide guidance on complex issues related to data use, algorithms and new digital innovations. He decided to act because of the growing focus on AI-based approaches to drug development and big data applications in human resources and cancer research. The board makes recommendations for action, and any decision that is contrary to the board’s recommendations must be formally justified and documented.

Swiss Re, a global insurance company, has adopted a second approach based on the belief that digital responsibility should be part of an organization’s overall operations. “Whenever there is a digital corner, the owner of the initiative, who is usually in business, is responsible. The owners of business initiatives are supported by experts in central teams, but business lines are responsible for its implementation,” explained Lutz Wilhelmi, risk and regulatory adviser at SwissRe.

Another option we have seen is a hybrid model, consisting of a small group of internal and external experts who guide and support managers across business lines to implement digital responsibility. The benefits of this approach include increased awareness and shared responsibility throughout the organization.

4. Make sure employees understand digital responsibility.

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

Training digital responsibility staff has been one of the key priorities of Otto Group, a German e-commerce company. “Lifelong learning becomes a success factor for every individual and also for the future viability of the company,” explained Petra Scharner-Wolf, Member of the Executive Board for Finance, Control and Human Resources. To jump-start its efforts, Otto developed an organization-wide digital education initiative using a central platform that included many videos on topics related to digital ethics, responsible use of data, and ways to resolve conflicts.

Learning about digital responsibility is both a short-term challenge to upskill the workforce and a long-term challenge to create a culture of self-directed learning that adapts to the evolving nature of technology. Since issues related to digital responsibility rarely arise in a vacuum, we recommend that aspects of digital responsibility be included in ongoing ESG professional development programs that also aim to promote ethical behavior in a broader stakeholder manner. This type of contextual learning can help employees navigate the complexities of digital responsibility in a more applied and meaningful way.

The needs and resources of your organization will determine whether you decide to upskill your entire workforce or rely on a few specialists. The balance of both can be perfect, providing a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding of digital ethics throughout the organization, as well as having experts available to provide specialized guidance when needed.

Digital responsibility is becoming almost an imperative for today’s organizations. Success is by no means guaranteed. However, by taking a proactive approach, progressive organizations can create and maintain responsible practices related to their use of digital technologies. These practices not only improve digital performance, but also improve organizational goals.

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The Q1 GDP report shows that the supply side of the economy is suffering from anti-growth policies.

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2 Executives Take Vacation After Bud Light Promotion With Transgender Influencer



Bud Light beer maker Anheuser-Busch said on Tuesday two of its executives went on vacation after a transgender influencer featured the beer in a social media ad.

Sales of Bud Light fell amid calls for a boycott due to advertising and criticism of the company’s response to the backlash, which included the targeted harassment of an executive on leave.

Alyssa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, and Daniel Blake, who is in charge of overseas marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s major brands, have gone on vacation, the company said.

“We have made some adjustments to simplify the structure of our marketing function to reduce levels so that our most senior marketers are more closely aligned with all aspects of our brands,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “These steps will help us focus on what we do best: brew great beer for all consumers, always making a positive impact on our communities and our country.”

The turmoil at the company began on April 1, when influential transgender Dylan Mulvaney posted a video on his Instagram account to promote the Bud Light March Madness contest to his 1.8 million followers. In her post, which lasted less than a minute, she revealed that the company had sent her a can of Bud Light beer with a picture of her face. The image of the jar has been edited into the video.

A few days later, conservative celebrities and politicians called for a boycott of the brand. These calls were then followed by calls for a reverse boycott or buyout, encouraging people to buy Bud Light to show support for the marketing.

Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, settled the controversy in the statement 14th of April.

“We never intended to engage in a discussion that divides people,” he said. “We’re in the business of bringing people together for beer.”

This has not mitigated criticism of Bud Light. who grew up include complaints about his lukewarm response to the backlash, as well as the targeted harassment of Ms. Heinerscheid.

Critics of the Ms. Mulvaney ad found a March podcast interview in which Ms. Heinerscheid said that some of Bud Light’s previous commercials had “sassy, ​​out-of-touch humor” and that the company needed to be more inclusive for its demographic growth. As quotes from the podcast spread, The Daily Caller, The New York Post, and The Daily Mail published photos of Ms. Heinerscheid at a college party in 2006.

Ms. Heinerscheid and Mr. Blake could not be contacted for comment.

News of the executives’ departure began to circulate after the announcement of Ms. Heinerscheid on Friday at Beer Business Dailytrade publication, and another about her boss, Mr. Blake, on Sunday at Wall Street Magazine.

The controversy had a negative impact on Bud Light sales, which fell 17 percent in the week ended April 15, according to Beer Business Daily.

In the United States, the beer industry is dominated by two large breweries that control 65 percent of beer sales: Molson Coors Beverage Company, which owns well-known brands including Coors and Miller, and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which also owns Corona and Michelob.

Just over 20 years ago, beer accounted for about half of alcohol sales in the country. That market share was about 42 percent last year, as sales of gin, vodka and other spirits have skyrocketed in recent years.

Anheuser-Busch, which introduced non-alcoholic and canned cocktail drinks, said its North American beer sales fell 4% last year.

Bump Williams, who runs a liquor consulting firm, said he worries that the Bud Light controversy could lead to a negative “halo effect” around other Anheuser-Busch brands, many of which have seen sales drop slightly.

Harry Schumacher, publisher Beer Business Daily reported that Bud Light’s sales were down, while those of its rivals Miller Lite and Coors Light were up nearly a dollar for a dollar.

Mr. Schumacher said the situation for Bud Light was “dreadful” in the short term, but it would likely have less of an impact on the company’s long-term business as the brand had already declined. “It only exacerbates that decline curve that has already been happening,” he said.

He said that the popularity of different beer brands varies by generation, and Bud Light is in decline in this cycle.

“This has been going on since Prohibition was repeated,” he said. “And brands change about every 20 to 30 years.”

He said the company could have “a bright ray of hope” as the controversy has attracted so much media attention.

“They seem to have taken a stand, although they didn’t really support it very well,” Mr. Schumacher said. “They threw him in there and hid him, which I think is unfair to Dylan and a little unfair to the trans community.”

Criticism of Bud Light arose when Republican state lawmakers proposed legislation that aims to regulate the lives of young transgender people, restrict drag shows so that they can broadly cover transgender performances, and require schools to hand over transgender students to their parents.

Ms. Mulvaney has been documenting her move to TikTok, where she has over 10.8 million followers. In March, she turned one year of the series “Days of Girlhood”.

Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch said it was “working with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to genuinely connect with audiences across a range of demographics.” milestone”.

Ms Mulvaney didn’t respond to the Bud Light hype, but she spoke about the hostility she faced in an interview on the Go with Rosie O’Donnell podcast, which was released amid backlash. She is “an easy target,” she said, “because I’m still new to this.”

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Patriarch Shiromani Akali Dal Parkash Singh Badal dies at 95



Parkash Singh Badal, a staunch Punjab politician, died Tuesday after a short illness. Patriarch Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and five-time Chief Minister of Punjab has been admitted to a private hospital in Mohali after complaining of chest pain. hey what 95

Badal began his political career in 1947 when he became the sarpanch of his village. In 1957, he was first elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly on the SAD ticket. In total, he was elected to the Punjab Assembly 10 times during his career. He was party president from 1995 to 2008.

During his years in the Government of Punjab, Badal served as Minister of Panchayati Raj, Community Development, Livestock, Dairy and Fisheries. He was Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly in 1972, 1980 and 2002. He was also Trade Union Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation in Morarji Desai’s government in 1977. In 1992, under his leadership, the Akali organized a boycott. on elections to the National Assembly.

Like several other political leaders, Badal was imprisoned during the state of emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1976. He was also sent to prison in the 1980s during the Sikh agitation for more autonomy. He suffered the same fate due to a communication problem with the Sutlej Yamuna. Throughout his political career, the Congress and its leader, Amarinder Singh, remained his main rivals.

Since the formation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Akalis have been close to the party. From time to time, Parkash Singh Badal and the leaders of the BJP made alliances in the Punjab and at the Government Forming Centre. However, during the 2021 farmers’ protest, Akalis withdrew her support for the BJP in the center.

In the 2007 Punjab Assembly elections, the SAD-BJP coalition won a comfortable majority and Badal became Chief Minister. The Alliance retained power in 2012, with Parkash Singh Badal retaining his position as Chief Minister. He became the first person to serve two consecutive terms as head of the Punjab.

By a unique coincidence, he became the youngest and oldest chief minister of the state. In 2008, he stepped down as party chairman and was replaced by his son Sukhbir.

Since losing power to Congress in 2017, Badal has become less and less active in politics.

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