Information: The New Currency

Vivek Bapat, Vice President, Portfolio Marketing, SAP, writes in Forbes that the huge information disparity gap between the haves and have-nots across the world is likely to create a “new digital caste system."

Bapat suggests that a new “creative economy” driven by “bi-data” and linked with social, mobile, and cloud technologies can make information available to more people than ever before. It may help eliminate problems such as 1.4 billion people living in poverty around the globe, 25, of whom starve to death every day.

Bapat suggests five “imperatives from global leaders”:

1. “Transition beyond economic profits to socio-economic profits.”

Bapat references Standard Bank of South Africa, which provides banking services through mobile phones, so poverty-stricken people in rural areas can participate in banking. Another example he cites is Adhaar, the world’s largest bio-metric program, which has enabled 380 million Indians to move roughly $50 billion in cash transfers to poor citizens.

2. “Co-Innovate with customers.”

Doritos used ideas from customers to help it create “Goat 4 Sale,” which was considered the best commercial in this year’s Super Bowl. Chicago has an “open data initiative, allowing residents to explore city services and suggest improvements.

3. “Turn employees into entrepreneurs.”

Google gave its employees 20 percent of their time for personal projects, one of which turned into G-mail. Linked-in gave employees up to 3 months to work on their own businesses. TwoGo, a new carpooling app, was started in a personal skunk-works experiment by two developers from SAP.

4. “Renew and optimize resources.”

UPS saved 2 percent on fuel costs with software that plans routes with fewer left turns, so less gas would be wasted.

5. “Use networks to create and share knowledge.” 

P&G’s Connect+ Develop (“C+D”) program allowed P&G to link to tap into a network of suppliers, partners and entrepreneurs, one of which created Swifter Dusters.


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