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Tag: Harvard Business Review (page 1 of 2)

The 4 Dimensions of Digital Trust, Charted Across 42 Countries

by Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and Ajay Bhalla

Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review

The year 2018 is barely underway and, already, digital trust initiatives have captured headlines. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said his platform will de-prioritize third-party publisher content to keep users focused on more “meaningful” posts from family and friends. Google has led off the new year by blocking websites that mask their country of origin from showing up on Google News. And the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect every organization around the world that handles personal data for EU residents. The regulations will also, no doubt, inform data protection laws and corporate trust-building strategies elsewhere.

Even China’s opaque behemoths have started the year with unprecedented acknowledgements of the need to address trust concerns: Tencent had to publicly deny that it collects user WeChat history after it was openly challenged; Alibaba’s Ant Financial apologized to users of its mobile-payment service for automatically enrolling them in its social-credit scoring service.

 

What these stories underscore is that our digital evolution and our productive use of new technologies rests on how well we can build digital trust. But is it possible to measure digital trust and compare it across countries? Are there countries where guaranteeing trust is a more urgent priority and will draw a larger share of trust-building resources and regulations? The Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard have a launched a research initiative to address these questions by studying the state of digital trust across 42 countries. Here are some of our initial findings, drawn from the study, “Digital Planet 2017: How Competitiveness and Trust in Digital Economies Vary Across the World.”

Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review

There’s a Gender Gap in Internet Usage. Closing It Would Open Up Opportunities for Everyone

We have all heard about a gap when it comes to participation of women in the tech industry. Facebook, Google, and Apple have 17%, 19% and 23% women in their technology staffs, respectively. Multiple surveys, such as the “The Elephant in the Valley,” have documented systematic discrimination against women. And there’s a continuous barrage of news stories regarding the challenges that women face across a raft of iconic Silicon Valley firms. No more than a quarter of U.S. computing and mathematical jobs are held by women, consistent with the data that around 26% of the STEM workforce in developed countries is female. In developing countries, those differences are even greater.

But the gender gap problem doesn’t stop there. There’s also a shortage of women using some of the industry’s products. The International Telecommunications Union reports that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9% in the least developed countries. And even when a woman gets on a phone or is online, she might face additional hostility. A World Wide Web Foundation report says “women around the world report being bombarded by a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation.”

What this speaks to is an opportunity for the tech industry — both to address internal diversity issues and to address how companies think about the products they create around the world.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

The “Smart Society” of the Future Doesn’t Look Like Science Fiction

by Bhaskar Chakravorti and Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi

What is a “smart” society? While flights of imagination from science-fiction writers, filmmakers, and techno-futurists involve things like flying cars and teleportation, in practice smart technology is making inroads in a piecemeal fashion, often in rather banal circumstances. In Chicago, for example, predictive analytics is improving health inspections schedules in restaurants, while in Boston city officials are collaborating with Waze, the traffic navigation app company, combining its data with inputs from street cameras and sensors to improve road conditions across the city. A city-state such as Singapore has a more holistic idea of a “smart nation,” where the vision includes initiatives from self-driving vehicles to cashless and contactless payments, robotics and assistive technologies, data-empowered urban environments, and technology-enabled homes.

More broadly, we might define a smart society as one where digital technology, thoughtfully deployed by governments, can improve on three broad outcomes: the well-being of citizens, the strength of the economy, and the effectiveness of institutions.

The potential for technologies to enable smart societies is rising. For example, internet-of-things sensor applications are envisioned to deliver a wide range of services, from smart water to industrial controls to e-health. The market for smart technologies is predicted to be worth up to $1.6 trillion by 2020, and $3.5 trillion by 2026. Surely, given the size of the opportunity, increasing interest among governments and policy makers, and the explosion of relevant technologies, we can start to understand what smart societies are  and establish standards and ideals to aim for.

Read the full piece in the Harvard Business Review

Early Lessons from India’s Demonetization Experiment

Did India just pull off a monetary and political miracle?

Consider the sequence of events in its demonetization saga. In November the government made a high-risk, high-stakes economic intervention in the world’s largest democracy, with an objective to reduce corruption. Overnight, 86% of cash in circulation was voided. In a country almost 90% cash reliant, chaos ensued. As I said at the time, it was a case study in poor policy and even poorer execution.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

How Companies Can Champion Sustainable Development

Given political climates around the world and a new wariness around international cooperation, the private sector could find itself in the hot seat: trying to pick up the slack on big issues from climate change to sustainable development. This demand for taking on a larger role may come not only from advocacy and watchdog groups but also from customers, investors, partners, and employees.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

India’s Botched War on Cash

[In the wake of demonetization], retail and wholesale markets have stalled around the country. Supply chain transactions, real estate deals, and even weddings and funerals have been frozen. Consumers are coping with lines that are frustrating even for Indians used to standing in lines or waiting for basic services. People up and down the income spectrum are dealing with changing cash withdrawal policies and empty ATMs. The nation’s status as the world’s fastest-growing big economy has been severely imperiled and its currency risks being further devalued, a situation made worse by prospects of a strengthening dollar after the U.S. election.

Sounds bad, right? But there is a question that hasn’t been asked: Is there a digital upside to this crisis?

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

Unilever’s Big Strategic Bet on the Dollar Shave Club

[Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club] is the fourth-most valuable M&A deal of a venture backed e-commerce company. And it’s a telling tale about whether the consumer products industry can get a digital business model right.

The deal is full of intriguing details. Unilever paid five times what Dollar Shave Club was expecting for revenues this year. Analysts had valued it for far less: in its most recent funding round — a $90.7 million Series D in November 2015  — Dollar Shave Club had been valued at $630 million, according to Pitchbook.  While Dollar Shave Club represents a growing share of the razorblades market, it is still tiny, it operates with low margins, is made up of an irreverent albeit engineering-savvy team – and is, as yet, unprofitable.

So why did a traditional consumer products company do a deal that feels more like it belongs in the tech sector than the consumer product industry?

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Brexit Could Deepen Europe’s Digital Recession

Brexit, as the British referendum to exit the EU is widely called, has caused turmoil in politics and stocks and head-shaking among the UK’s partners. All of this, of course, comes on the heels of many overlapping crises afflicting Europe.

In addition to the ones regularly in the news, I have argued earlier in HBR that there is a fundamental crisis unfolding over the longer term: the continent is suffering from a “digital recession” – a loss of momentum in their evolution toward a digital economy. Of the 50 countries we studied using a Digital Evolution Index we created, 15 European countries have been losing digital momentum since 2008 and EU countries occupy the bottom 9 spots in our ranking of digital momentum .

With the UK at 34 out of 50, it is worth asking: what is the impact of the Brexit referendum on this already dismal state of affairs?

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

The Battle Over iPhones in India

Winning over Indian consumers seems to officially have become one of the global tech industry’s Next Big Things. Some estimates indicate that there will be one billion users online in the country by 2030. Although only one-fifth of its 1.3 billion people have online access today, India has already overtaken the U.S., becoming the second largest smartphone market in the world.

Read the full piece by Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Where is the digital economy is moving fastest? Which countries are poised for rapid changes? Where is digital progress slow or stalled?

Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti helped provide the answers to these questions and many more as part of his webinar with the Harvard Business Review. The one-hour session, moderated by HBR editor Angelia Herrin, built on our cutting edge research into the digital economy with the Digital Evolution Index, previously featured in HBR with further coverage on Europe’s digital recession and the need for benchmarking in digital growth.

The executive summary of the webinar can also be found online.

If the above video does not  work, you can view it on the HBR wesite.

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