BUSINESS
01/27/2016 05:26 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2017

Technology: Promoting Purpose + Profit in New and Existing Solutions

Albert Einstein maintained that "the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." We live in a world where we can now track where and when those problems are occurring, find out why they are happening, and work to solve them with new technologies. We can use technology to improve the format, speed, and scale of business processes and communications which in turn enables an organization to keep a strong focus on its core competency. Technology can also provide a clearer or new look at business impacts and more channels for serving and communicating with customers and stakeholders. It enables organizations to more accurately understand and address stakeholder needs, focus on what really matters, and help better solve today's problems, which helps keep the focus on purpose while driving profit.

Technology also promotes sustainable, inclusive growth in many ways. It increases competition in the marketplace, promotes entrepreneurship, opens new job sectors, levels the playing field, and promotes education and skill adaptability. Individuals in the workforce and organizations need to be constantly evolving their skills and competencies and remain flexible. New, innovative ways to deliver training and education make this possible and more convenient. As a result, we are seeing a faster evolution of existing solutions in the marketplace and growth in new solutions. These solutions are able to be delivered in a faster and more convenient manner.

One example of new technology driving purpose is our Telematics product, Networkfleet, which gives fleet managers GPS and engine-performance information on each of their cars and trucks, helping them plan more efficient routes, improve maintenance and foresee mechanical breakdowns - saving time, mileage, and fuel. The Arkansas State Highway Transportation Department has equipped 2,500 of their vehicles with the technology. With their cars idling less and burning less fuel, the department saved nearly $500,000 in fuel expenses the first year. Dispatchers were soon directing dump trucks, snow plows, and other vehicles to emergency situations faster. And by providing precise GPS locations, Networkfleet made it easier for police to recover stolen vehicles. The technology provided a solution that enabled the department to keep their focus on purpose and drive it forward.

Technology can help solve today's challenges in many areas including climate change. For instance, a recent report published by the Carbon Trust and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative shows that the ICT industry is enabling significant carbon emissions reductions. In fact, the current abatement enabled by ICT is about five times greater than the emissions from mobile networks. According to the report, smartphone use, smart working arrangements, and smart travel technologies are key to enabling carbon emissions reductions. Current abatement comes from the use of M2M technologies and mobile devices in the buildings, transport, and energy sectors. Significant future opportunities were identified to reduce emissions from cities, healthcare, and agriculture, and the total carbon emissions abatement is expected to grow at least three times larger over the next five years. ICT is driving a solution in sustainability and climate change.

The response to our Powerful Answers competition demonstrates growth in solutions innovation. The competition awards millions of dollars in prizes to innovators who propose solutions in various categories including sustainability, healthcare, education, and transportation. They pair their great ideas with technology. Sanga Moses, a 2014 winner, invented just two tools that are transforming the energy crisis in Africa. His inventions are providing homes in East Africa with sustainable, clean cooking fuel, recycling farming waste, preventing forest depletion, promoting education, and providing jobs all at once. In 2015, there were over 1,400 entries from 78 countries, with 36 finalists, demonstrating growth in entrepreneurship and competition. Finalists proposed solutions for disaster monitoring and relief, safer and cleaner transportation, safety measures for first responders, increased animal welfare, child health and safety, and much more. Technology enabled all of these innovative solutions to the world's greatest challenges, and it can be used by organizations and individuals to promote growth in purpose and profit and enable new solutions.

For the second conversation in our Purpose@Work series -- a discussion designed to explore how we can infuse a deep sense of purpose into our work -- we're going to focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the theme of this year's World Economic Forum in Davos.

How are you using technology to elevate purpose in your organization, community, or project? Let us know at PurposePlusProfit@huffingtonpost.com or by tweeting with #PurposeAtWork.