The Role of Information Technology and the
Sustainable Green Economy
It seems like any time someone gets on any business, IT, corporate, educational, or government website or blog these days everyone is yammering about sustainable green economies and socially responsible companies. If it's not a blog or website then it is in the other media formats such as TV, Radio, and Paper, whereby every company is trying to show you just how "Green" and "socially responsible" they really are. Most of the time to get people to spend a few more bucks, or because the marketers have discovered through their data and polls that "sustainable and green" sells at higher percentage points. So where in the middle of all this hype and hoopla is an IT company, with a genuine concern and eye towards the future and planet we will leave behind and populate ourselves for another 20-70 years. I apologize if someone places their life expectancy horizon shorter or longer through age or other reasons, I didn't mean to exclude you. However, you may want to go have a beer or something, as you are way more uptight then I care to deal with.
Back to my point, so where do we as the socially conscious IT crowd expend our not inconsiderable energies, intelligences, and resources, if we truly want to participate in the new "Green Sustainable Economy?" Well, for the true giants among us, ensuring your facilities are all using LED or LEED lighting fixtures, or solar panels to power those massive data banks you run and covet all at once. But what if you're just starting out, and budget constraints and real life has not afforded you or your company the option of acting upon your socially conscious principles? Then how may one make a difference and still contribute, without hurting your ever sinking bottom line? The answer is education!
In this modern age of technology, it is safe to say that the collective voice of the IT companies and crowd, (i.e. those who actually work on, run, and make the internet possible, have a very loud voice or large soap box from which to pontificate down from, do we not? Therefore, isn't it safe to say that if a company is actively promoting and/or teaching "sustainability" they are doing their part, with what they have to contribute with? The answer is a resounding, absolutely YES!
Let me give you an example of what I mean. There is currently a "Serious gaming and leadership training SaaS providing company only just emerging in the United States, and the name of this companies name is Fligby. The strange name aside, Fligby (www.fligby.com) and its partner Aleas (www.aleas.com) have taken active steps to fully incorporate the ideas and concepts of education on the sustainability issue through successful inclusion of the subject into their interactive simulation leadership and managerial educational training program. They did this by way of inclusion of the socially responsible subject and the need for true sustainability into its educational serious simulation game through the conversations of its main characters in the game.
As you the player enter a world of simulation as the General Manager of a California winery and are forced to develop leadership and managerial skills in order to get your eight sophisticated management team to get along is a cooperative and profitable way, the main characters are deeply concerned about sustainability as a business model for the winery. You must practice and master the art of Flow management, based on and in cooperation with Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, the famous author of "Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning." To achieve true Flow of the winery, and win the game, sustainability must be incorporated into your business and leadership decisions in order to win the in game coveted "Spirit of Wine Award." Without sustainability, you will not achieve true Flow, and therefore not win the optimum end to the game.
This is a prime example of how IT, can, should, and in the case of Fligby already is, fighting for a more "socially responsible green sustainable economy and planet." May this author humbly suggest that we follow the lead and example set by Fligby.com, and with our IT voice start talking about sustainability, green ideas, and a socially conscious state of awareness? You may do so by reference, by incorporation (cleverly hide the idea in your products and services.), or overtly speak out about it as I have done in this article. Those who already have that big IT money, will of course be able to do more, as you have more resources, and it's not up to me to tell other adults what to do with their hard earned dollars. I can, will, and just have, point out ways that the ideals and convictions of sustainability can be touted for free to raise awareness. Make it not just IT, but G.I.T! That's right, I went there, with a cheesy yet catchy Green Information Technology. Here end the gospel according to Joel, I step back down off my soap box, and allow all of you to continue on with the rest of your lives a bit smarter for reading this article. My work is done here. Word!
By Joel Drotts Juris Doctorate
I am currently conducting a research on the IT to Business Gap - this is part of my final thesis for my MBA. I know that there has been a number of such researches in the past, however, my 18+ years of experience both in IT and Business gives me a different perspective on things. Most of these researches provide an "Aspirin" to the symptoms and none provide a true solution working on the root cause of the problem. This is where I believe my research will have a different perspective as I aim to provide a solution to the root cause of the problem. As such I need the support of both IT and Business professionals. I intend to make the results of my research and my thesis available for free to everyone as a community service. As such I need your feedback on the topic. Please email your views as to why do you think such a gap exists and is it because of IT professionals or is it because of the business itself? Any comments or views submitted will be referenced accordingly. If you are interested in participating in this research please email me on hassanbackeer[at]kibs[dot]edu[dot]kw