Victoria Riess: Make a difference with technology

04. April 2024 – Victoria Riess

We’re back and it feels fantastic. The past few years have been pretty challenging, haven’t they? The pandemic, social upheaval, climate change, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, rapid inflation – and yet I remain optimistic. Despite all the chaos of the past few years, the world continues on its course and offers us opportunities to bring about positive change with the help of technology.

The world needs you again

Let’s rewind a little. During the pandemic, you all created a wave of digital technologies that kept the world running. And now the shaky world needs you again. Investors, board members, CEOs, entrepreneurs, you and me, we’ve all faced a lot of global upheaval.

Recession, economic uncertainty and inflation

New survey data shows that the economy, the economy and – you guessed it – the economy are the main areas of focus for the CEO:in. When we look at what’s next on the CEO’s list, we find some of the causes of this economic uncertainty. Skills shortages – particularly skilled labour – energy costs, which as you know are a big issue here in Europe, and disruptive business models that undermine your competitive advantage and destroy your shareholder value. And that’s tough, yes, but it also creates new opportunities for CEOs and entrepreneurs to make an impact with technology.

Triple growth rates

Let’s see what CEOs like you think. Global surveys show that CEOs have prioritised growth less in recent years. It is still their top priority, but with less intensity than before. And why is that? Because they no longer want growth? Oh no, they love growth almost as much as I love spaghetti. But they don’t have enough talent and raw materials. They can’t match supply with demand. So the growth curve has gone down, but your digital leadership can bring the curve back up. The average CEO expects less growth, but surveys show that companies that are digital leaders expect three times more growth. To be clear: companies with a high level of digital maturity expect three times higher sales growth rates than companies with a low level of digital maturity.

Strategic levers

Technical levers will help you achieve this growth, but in a different way. Because what do the world, your employees, your customers and your investors need from you right now? They need technology for sustainable growth. And this is where you can really make a difference.

Technology for sustainable growth

Sustainable growth in the traditional financial sense means growth that is repeatable without going into debt. But sustainable growth is more than just financial results. It also includes ethically and environmentally sustainable growth. And now technology comes into play. Technology for sustainable growth is a set of digital investments that deliver repeatable financial results in an efficient and responsible way. Because now is the time.

Making an impact and taking the CEO lead

And all this while the world keeps turning and rolling and spinning. But it’s looking a little shaky and could probably use a little help. So I have strategic technology trends and best practices for digital transformation as levers you need to create technology for sustainable growth. First, set the tone by investing in current technologies – whether you need to optimise, scale or pioneer. Second, drive digital transformation. You know that technology is worth nothing without your leadership.

When we bring the two together, you get technology for sustainable growth. Technology levers help you to make a difference and perhaps help our world to keep turning on its axis.

Take action and make decisions

Even if the world feels a little shaky right now, you can’t opt out. You still have to take action and make decisions. I would ask you to resist the temptation to take a step back. Now is the time to take a step forward. I know I’m asking a lot of you, but that’s because there’s a lot you can do. There are a variety of technology trends you can invest in and best practices for your leadership in digital transformation. Now is the time to make your decisions.

Technology is nothing without CEO leadership

Choose the technologies that match your organisation’s ambitions and risk appetite. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, emerging technologies may be right for you. If you’re responsible for healthcare and security, then more mature technologies may be better suited. But now it’s your turn to drive digital transformation. Put your leadership skills and vision into action. And use these levers to reinforce that vision.

You are the ultimate lever

Here are the actions you should take to leverage technology for sustainable growth: Make an impact by investing in current technologies. And drive digital transformation; because technology is nothing without your leadership.

Let me tell you something;

“You can keep the world moving, because you are the ultimate lever. You are the one who will provide the technology for sustainable growth. I know you can and I know you will.”

Victoria Riess

Thought Leader for Corporate Strategy, Expert in Digital Transformation & Cybersecurity, Top Women Leader in Tech