Using Tech for Good Where it Matters Most in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas

By | 3 minute read | April 28, 2020

Image Credit: Fast Company

Making the world a better place is a guiding principle embedded in IBM’s core values. As COVID-19 continues to present unprecedented, global challenges for individuals, communities and organizations across the globe, we continue to take a stand and do what’s right to reestablish health and safety across the globe. I’m constantly in awe with the ingenuity and collaborative effort across sectors that have all stepped up in response to this crisis.

Providing meaningful leadership by creating sustainable solutions through community efforts and business pursuits, we leverage the breadth of innovative technologies, techniques and talent to empower communities working to overcome society’s toughest challenges.

And to make that sustainable and scalable impact, companies need to place beneficiaries of their CSR programs — the “users” — at the center everything they do.  Using technology such as AI and cloud, as well as techniques including agile and Design Thinking, we can help create meaningful societal progress by co-creating with internal and external stakeholders early and often.

Following these principles are more likely to produce resources for social positive impact that are useful, durable, designed thoughtfully, and truly address a critical societal need. Read more about how companies might best design their programs for social good in this recently released white paper.

But it’s not just me alone who believes in the power of tech for good. Thousands of IBMers around the world are constantly exploring new ways to use technology to benefit others each day. It’s only fitting that Fast Company highlighted IBM and eight of our own initiatives in this year’s Fast Company “World Changing Company of the Year” issue, all focused on tech for social good:

  • Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (IBM GRAF): A global weather model providing a clearer picture of weather activity to help democratize forecasts so people, businesses and governments—anywhere—can make better decisions.
  • GRIT: An app designed in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Total Brain’s technology to help service members and their families gain personal insights into their emotional well-being, provide resources, connect with loved ones, and serve as a tool to build resiliency and overall well-being.
  • NeuroDiversity Program Attracts Different and Divergent Thinkers: In partnership with Specialisterne we deployed IGNITE Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to help transform spectrum talent by employing individuals and bringing differentiated value to our clients.
  • Code and Response & Documentary: IBM’s Code and Response initiative is a multi-year $25M program dedicated to the creation and deployment of solutions powered by open source technology to tackle the world’s biggest challenges like natural disasters. A feature documentary produced by IBM Originals profiled coders from around the world who are driving positive change and sparked this movement that is giving developers a platform to be activists.
  • AgroPad for Soil and Water Analysis Aids Coffee Farmers, Addressing Poverty in Africa and Latin America: Leveraging the power of AI, this technology simplifies the water testing process and makes it affordable for small farmers to monitor the health of their soil and water, by enabling real-time, on-location, chemical analysis of a soil or water samples.
  • P-TECH: Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) is a global education model that offers students all over the world the opportunity to develop skills and competencies that will translate directly to competitive careers. Within six years and at no cost, students can graduate with a high school and associate degrees in competitive STEM disciplines, along with the skills and knowledge they need to continue their studies or step easily into high-growth, “new collar” jobs.

These  initiatives illustrate what’s possible when we apply our technology and talent to make a positive impact through our business, operations, and by taking a clear stance on issues that matter.

We are fortunate at IBM for corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be built into the core of our business. Yet we’re still constantly evolving our own organization, and our CSR initiatives, to meet the emerging needs of communities around the world and the myriad issues we face.

No matter the challenge, we’ll continue bringing together the right communities of experts — customers, governments, scientists, developers, partners, academic institutions, health agencies and IBMers — all working to manage and solve today’s hardest challenges. By applying data, knowledge, computing power, and actionable insights, we can all help to solve difficult problems.

And together, as a community, we will find our way through this.