CEOs See Major Opportunities in Emerging Technologies to Tackle Social Challenges

News /CEOs See Major Opportunities in Emerging Technologies to Tackle Social Challenges

January 21, 2021 – WSJ Intelligence undertook a new international CEO survey for global technology and business solution provider NTT. The survey focused on the dire necessity for complex digital technologies that have made it possible for businesses and societies to keep functioning amid the Covid-19 global pandemic.

WSJ Intelligence's global survey included 352 CEOs of large corporations representing ten major industries, across fifteen countries. The CEOs surveyed were asked about their corporation's role in society, their social-impact strategies, the stakeholders involved, and how those strategies were affected by the pandemic.This survey also examined the CEOs'confidence in a range of new and emerging technologies, and how those innovations might help the world to tackle enormous social challenges, such as the global supply chain, the future of work and health and well-being.

Key findings:

  • 56% of respondents believe corporations generate value by earning profits in a sustainable way that includes minimizing harm to society;
  • 80% of stakeholder-centric executives say they pursue parallel financial and community outcomes, and see social-impact strategies as essential to financial returns;
  • Technology powers the tools and opportunities to tackle social issues, but can also disrupt social stability through the rapid spread of false or misleading information;
  • Cybersecurity is the only technology that a majority of executives consider fully adequate for their social-impact strategy; however adoption of cybersecurity technologies is not fast enough or sufficiently complete yet
  • High-performance communications networks, followed by cloud computing and advanced analytics, are identified by CEOs as promising technologies with which to address social issues.

As the world continues to combat Covid-19 and plan for recovery, digital technology and social-impact programs will help to create the "new normal." The recovery from Covid-19 presents every organization with the opportunity to think in new ways and accelerate digital transformation.

About this research
This research was conducted in July/August 2020 among CEOs across 15 countries, who participated in an online survey that aimed to understand how they viewed their company's responsibility to contribute, visibly and substantively, to achieving societal goals. Globally, 352 CEOs at companies with more than US$500M in revenue (with 75 of U.S. respondents at companies with more than $1BN) participated in quantitative research across 10 industries. "Investor-centric" respondents were defined as those whose view of the corporation is strictly to create value for shareholders by earning profit. "Stakeholder-centric" respondents answered either: "To create value for all stakeholders by earning profits in a sustainable way, which includes minimizing the harm that the business causes to society" or "Contribute to solutions for the challenges confronting people and society as a means of earning profits and generating long-term stakeholder value," when asked for their view of the role of the corporation in global society today.


About WSJ Intelligence
WSJ Intelligence conducts bespoke and secondary research for brands and client brands of The Wall Street Journal | Barron's Group. Through rigorous analysis, WSJ Intelligence provides insights that are relevant, timely, and reliable.

About NTT

NTT believes in contributing to society through our business operations. We help people, clients and communities move confidently into the digital future and shape a better world. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data centers and networks. As a top-5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse team of over 300,000 people operates in 80+ countries and regions and delivers services to over 190 of them.

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