In today’s digital economy, where global wealth is expected to reach $70.5 trillion by 2017, what does prosperity mean to you?
Dictionary.com defines it as: a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune. Wikipedia has a similar definition but adds, “Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.”
For many people in the world, prosperity simply means living in a safe, secure, and sustainable community where these is easy access to healthcare, educational, financial, and community services. It’s within this kind of environment where people are more likely to lead happy, fulfilling – and prosperous – lives.
Connected communities enabled by technology
Not everyone lives in a prosperous environment. In fact, billions of people in emerging and developed countries do not have access to basic services such as clean water, food, healthcare, education, or disaster relief. Thankfully, technology is making a difference. Connected communities, where the interests of individuals, groups, businesses, and governments align through digital inclusion, are making a difference and improving the quality of life for people in many countries.
In a recent blog, Innovation in Healthcare: Who Cares?, I explored how technology is enabling such things as personalized medicine and more rapid diagnosis of diseases. Advances like this allow doctors to provide better care for patients, and deliver benefits across personal, professional, and social domains. Financial inclusion, disaster relief, and public administration are other areas that are vital to our prosperity and improved livability.
Let’s look at financial inclusion, which enables the delivery of banking and insurance services to the under-banked and under-insured. Compartamos Banco, based in Mexico, provides micro-financing to small businesses across Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. This institution helps businesses that do not always have access to traditional banking services and helps drive economic development. Another example is Standard Bank of South Africa, which provides banking services to remote and rural areas via mobile banking.
Technology also plays a major role in planning and providing relief for natural disasters that disrupt millions of people each year. The city of Buenos Aires uses sensor technology together with analytics dashboards to proactively identify drains that are clogged during heavy rains. Flood crews can clear the drains and help prevent flooding, thereby saving people’s lives and their homes, as well as local businesses.
Public administration officials in leading cities and states leverage technology to empower their citizens and communicate their concerns back to their officials. New York City communicates safety and emergency information to its citizens’ mobile devices to keep people informed in real time. Boston provides 24×7 access to citizens via mobile and online channels. Consequently, the city reduced crime rates in targeted areas by 55% and the number of overdue permits from more than 600 to fewer than 10.
A more prosperous tomorrow
The World Happiness Report 2015 provides interesting insights on using happiness measurements for guiding policy making and delivering sustainable development. The report states, “When countries pursue GDP in a lopsided manner, forgetting about social and environmental objectives, the results can be adverse for human well-being.”
I agree. I am hopeful that technology will play a major role in connecting communities. The vision and purpose of SAP is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. We believe that the work we do and the technology we develop will serve as a strong covenant for prosperity.
To learn more about how our vision and purpose enables individuals, families, and businesses around the world to prosper, visit here.