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Leg 10. From Cardiff to Gothenburg (IV). Blue Ocean Strategy in the Context of Industry 4.0 – Ethical perspective.

Good Morning!

Today is the departure day. We are leaving Cardiff. The last week has been an intense one in relation to all the activities related to the Ocean Rescue. In addition last Friday, the in-port competition brought Dongfeng as the winner, Mapfre and Brunel was the second and third place respectively. Let´s take a look at our route to Gothenburg.

Route from Cardiff to Gothenburg.jpg

The departure from Cardiff has started. We are all heading out of there. Good luck to all of us.

Now let´s go to our strategy domain. We are sure that you were perplexed about the last post. Probably you were expecting us to give you our insights in relation on how to use the Blue Ocean Race Strategy when adopting all these new technologies to create new blue oceans, particularly when considering Artificial Intelligence or Big Data or Neuroscience Technologies, or Machine Learning. Maybe, others were quite disappointed that we share with you the most used books on business ethics for higher level education (Undergraduate and Graduate University Level). Sorry about that. But it is important that we all read these books. Each university has other business ethics textbooks that might help you to grasp and build ethical criteria.           blue vs redSince 20 years ago, we are living in a crossroad because of the disruptive technologies. This is not new. When we utilize the Blue Ocean Strategy for technological innovations, or for building businesses through new emerging technologies, we have forgotten to ask ourselves if our innovations are ethically viable.  That is why we send you to read all the core business ethics books we have. We can´t discuss or debate about how to apply the Blue Ocean Strategy into the new context of Industry 4.0, without considering ethics at the core. Ethical Reasoning must be the basis for Blue Ocean Strategy formulation and execution. 

Particularly, any blue ocean strategy, beyond its economic mission, has to be about making decisions with appropriate attention to ethical concerns. Ideally, it has to be as such. In the past, ethically responsible management was only suggested for the strategic decision-making process. Now, because of the impact of new emerging scientific and technological innovations as new blue ocean strategies,  it is more imperative than ever to put ethics and moral values at the core.

Nowadays we live in an era of moral relativism, and this is a fact. It is a truth. By pursuing our blue oceans or any other business strategy, we dismiss the ethical values when it comes to business. And we compromise our integral value proposition and business model because of it. In the book, Blue Ocean Shift, Kim and Mauborgne remind us of the humanness of their Blue Ocean Strategy process.  But we wish to remind you to please consider ethics at the core of any strategy (blue ocean or competitive or any other).

For example, let´s just think in data collection for marketing analytics. Recently we read an article from Knowledge@Wharton “Separating Better Data from Big Data: Where Analytics Is Headed”. It is an article from May 10th, 2018.  Wharton marketing professors Eric BradlowPeter Fader and Raghuram Iyengar discussed how the field has developed over time, and what they expect to be the key trends over the next decade. We read in that article that some of the “developing technologies might make a big difference in collecting and accessing data”. What is the meaning of that phrase? Well, it is simple: “The use of the Internet of Things and connected appliances are making possible for firms to collect data at or near the source (Bradlow, Fader, Iyengar, 2018)”. What type of ethical implications does this have for firms and also for the user or consumer? Is this ethically viable? Are the issues of individual privacy and security important? Are the consumers aware of the impact of neuroscience innovations which  “can really get inside people’s heads and once we can really integrate what people are seeing and thinking and planning, it brings a whole new dimension to the kinds of data that we have and therefore the kinds of analytics that we’d want to use and the kinds of decisions that firms would make”. Isecurity data privacy.jpgs this ethically viable?. In addition,  if we define marketing as delivering the right product to the right person at the right time. Are we aware that our mobile phone provides spatial data and geospatial position at any time? The mobile still is a device. But what will happen, thinking out loud of my imagination, when the devices will be reduced to minuscule size and inserted into ourselves, and no one can stop this? Are you aware of the consequences of it? Companies and government will know what we do,  how we do it, what we say, even what we think, our purchasing habits, where are we located at any time of the day? And many other things… Is this type of innovation ethically viable?  

As professors, Eric Bradlow, Peter Fader and Raghuram Iyengar from Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) have predicted it: “Imagine taking someone’s physical location and appending it to their transaction history: Now all of the sudden you have the ability to do targeted marketing but based on where you currently physically are”. Let us ask you: Is this ethically viable?… Look at where are we going? Don´t you think it is insane? For me it is insane. And it is morally wrong.Business ethics de george.jpg

Before designing, formulating and implementing Industry 4.0 (for the countries which are behind or have been slow to adopt the new emerging technologies), please, think: it is crucially imperative to ask ourselves if everything we are introducing is ethically viable?  For those of us who believe in Christianity, is even more important to ask ourselves this question. In addition, personally, I would ask: What would Jesus Christ do? 

Our advice: Industry 4.0 has to be delayed until we are ethically centered. We have to create a Business Ethics Guideline for Industry 4.0. And we need to be consistent and coherent globally about applying it. And this goes beyond technology only, it applies to all the existing and new industries on the planet. There are many controversial issues and ethical dilemmas in the healthcare industry, biotechs, pharma, business services, finance, real estate, retail, etc… and inside each company, there are ethical dilemmas caused by new technologies in several functional organizational departments. With an Emerging Technologies Ethics guideline,  some technologies will have to be called-off or terminated. And there are going to be other technologies which will be morally right for humanity which will be promoted.

Without an Emerging Technologies Business Ethics Guideline, we will self-destroy our own humanity.

Simply because something has an acceptable course of behavior or simply because something is enacted into law does not make it ethically justifiable. Some business strategies may be accepted and still be morally wrong“. R. T. de George.

Thank you.stem cell.gif

Source References:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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