In a special address on the first day of the recent World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted, “New technology is always dazzling, but we don’t want technology simply because it is dazzling. We want it, create it, and support it because it improves people’s lives.”

As someone who witnesses the power of technology firsthand, I could not agree more!

I followed Davos closely, and saw political, business, and other leaders of society come together to shape global, regional, and industry agendas with the ambition to improve the state of the world. As part of this effort, they discussed controversially whether the new technologies driving the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will be a force for good – or evil.

My personal take is that we have it in our hands to make sure that the opportunities that technology offers us outweigh the risks. Government, public, and private sector organizations have the power to create positive economic, social, and environmental value through technology, solutions, and skills. And they are already using this power to help achieve the ambitious United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (also called Global Goals), which aim to end poverty, hunger, inequalities, and climate change by 2030.

We’ve already started changing the world

I see organizations everywhere taking on the UN Global Goals through innovation that was not thought of even a few years ago.

For instance, the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are using advanced technology solutions to fight and even eradicate cancer. To counteract financial inequality for women, Compartamos Banco opened its doors in 1990 to provide financing to female small-business owners with low incomes. Today, over 90% of the bank’s 2.8 million clients in Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru are women.

Ethiopia, once iconic for images of drought and starvation, is on its way to being able to produce enough electricity to fuel its own growth. It may even rise to become Africa’s – and one of the world’s – greatest power providers. The country currently generates around 2,300 MW, but it aims to add more than 12,000 MW more by 2020 to reach 37,000 MW of generation capacity by 2037, making it a prime exporter of electricity.


SAP is doing its part too — and so can you!

Since the early development of the UN Global Goals, SAP has aligned with its vision and purpose and played a key role.

To start, we are a founding member of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and IMPACT 2030. Through these efforts, SAP is helping to demonstrate how technology and skills can play a role in achieving the 17 goals. In addition, we recently launched a new web book, SAP & UN Global Goals, to inspire customers, partners, employees, and the public to join in and also contribute.

The facts and stories for each goal in this book provide sometimes surprising insights of what IT can do. Knowing that such impact is within our reach, I believe we need to do more. I would like to see each of us ask ourselves what we can do to serve a higher purpose bigger than ourselves.

Wherein do you think lies our biggest lever? Of the 17 Global Goals, where can you make the biggest difference to help the world run better and improve people’s lives?

This blog was originally published here on Digitalist Magazine in the Improving Lives section.

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