I spoke recently at the annual conference of the North West branch of the Institute of Directors in Liverpool. The topic was Purposeful Leadership which basically suggests that the purposeful leader pays attention to these three things:

  • Vision
  • Ethical leadership
  • Having a strong moral sense

The point that I made to the delegates is that in the world we now find ourselves in with such rapid technological change we may not be equipped with any of these things. Previously vision could be articulated on the basis of what had happened in the past, what had worked, what was successful. But in todays business world past performance is no guarantee of future success, especially since we can’t readily know what success even looks like.

Past performance is no guarantee of future success

How can we be ethical leaders if we are not capable of adequately scrutinising what is underneath the bonnet of the technology we are rushing to adopt? How can business leaders square the race for efficiency and increased productivity with the impact on their workers?

And what moral sense should guide us when new and unknown challenges emerge which we have not had to think about before? In other words the leaders of today and tomorrow need to build a whole new ethical framework to help really think through these challenges.

For our next Federation Presents event we will be joined by Shannon Vallor author of Technology and the Virtues. Shannon will explore what skills and mindsets we need to develop to make sure that the new world we are creating (or which is being created around us) will be one that will provides us with purpose and meaning. Come and listen to her as she explains her framework for a virtue theory which can help us to “chart a wiser path among transformative technologies”. She’ll also discuss the concept of virtue, or moral virtue as being something we need to nurture to guide us in choosing between many possible futures and new and unintended consequences. Find out what wise and creative responses we need to cultivate to changes in technology and society.

Vallor has a birds eye view of the technology giants from her base in Silicon Valley where she is a philosopher/tech ethicist at Santa Clara University, researching the impact of new technologies on moral practices, habits, and virtues. Her view of the tech giants is stark according to a recent interview she gave to Silicon Angle headlined “Become ethical or society suffers”. But it’s not all doom and gloom as she does see some light at the end of the tunnel: “I’m cautiously optimistic that the technology developers and the public will find a path forward that works to everyone’s interest. My hope is that these forces will come together and create a future for us that we actually want to move into.”

Following her talk Shannon will be joined by a number of panellists including:

Dr Ella Fitzsimmons 
Ella is a strategist and writer helping teams work out what they do through how they talk about it. Most recently, she has been freelancing for a renewable energy company and with Nobel Peace Prize winners. She is ex Government Digital Service and Co-op Digital. A former financial and advertising journalist, she has lived and worked in Europe, North America and Asia. She has a PhD about fashion, religion and online authority, and is excited about what happens when tech and humanities meet.

Simon Sear Chief Innovation Officer BJSS
Simon works with organisations to (re)design business models, services and products using technologies like AI, IoT and Blockchain. Despite the technology focus, he started work as a qualified psychologist and has a lifelong passion for people. He has a firm conviction that as society becomes more and more digitised, designing human centred products and services will become ever more important.

Sarah Drinkwater Director, Tech and Society Solutions Lab at Omidyar
Sarah’s a director in Omidyar Network’s new Tech and Society Solutions Lab working to invest in and co-create solutions to build responsibility into core business and maximise the positive impact of technology. Prior to joining Omidyar, Sarah headed up Campus, Google’s seven-storey space for entrepreneurs designed to democratise access into tech. During her time at Campus, startups in the community created over 4,200+ jobs and raised over 195M in funding.

Book your tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-federation-presents-humanity-and-tech-with-shannon-vallor-and-guests-tickets-47770416602?aff=ebdssbdestsearch