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The Transformation Imperative: for the good of all of us

By Nina Lund, Managing Director, Worldwide Consumer Goods, Microsoft on April 20, 2017

Filed under Retail & Consumer Goods

Earth Day trees

Whenever spring comes, I look at the transformation of nature before my eyes, and I can’t help but think that we in the Western World have it all wrong. Nature teaches us the same lessons every year, and we can both see and hear those lessons, yet it feels as if we increasingly detach ourselves from those cycles.

We feel inclined to look at life as a linear event, minute after minute, day after day, year after year – when it really is circular! I recently read a book about the Chinese concept of time, which is circular; where the present is always connected to the past, and I do earnestly believe that we need to learn from this school of thought. If we also consider that a lot of (too much!) food goes to waste and packaging material to landfill, why in the world are we still only talking about things, and not doing more? Is change really that hard for us? There’s a hint in the circular…

A recent study by Accenture of the UN Global Compact CEO’s pointed to an emerging degree of optimism, when it comes to implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: in fact 9 of 10 CEO’s believe that sustainability will have real impact in their industry. Interestingly, the same CEO’s also are starting to feel a personal responsibility about what happens to the planet.

Microsoft’s mission—to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more—aligns strongly with the United Nation’s global agenda for sustainable development from 2015 through 2030. The UN General Assembly articulated that agenda in a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “seeking to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”. There is a white paper which shares our high-level vision for how the digital transformation of the global economy can and must address the key challenges underlying the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

Information and data are the lifeblood of modern organizations. The more time workers in those organizations need to spend locating and understanding information, the more they will impede that organization’s ability to compete, creating vicious circles instead of virtuous ones.

When I occasionally, like Alice, slip “Through the Looking Glass” I hear the Queen again: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” If we in the Consumer Goods space are to really have an impact on reducing waste and creating real impact for future generations, we need to “start running” to transform. As digital transformation enables us to become more productive, we can, strangely enough free up time to do more of the things we love. And when we do things we love to do, we are happier, more creative and we deliver true innovation – we win, the planet wins and our children will inherit a better place to live in. “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality” as Jules de Gautier, French philosopher once said.

Optimizing routine tasks to free up time to do the things that your organization cares deeply about can come much faster through accelerated digital transformation. We help consumer goods and retail companies every day to transform their business for a better tomorrow. To learn more, go here.

LinkedIn: Nina Lund
Twitter: @lund_nina

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