Why trust should be at the top of your innovation agenda

  • Posted on August 8, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Trust key growth innovation

Where do people place their trust these days, and why should your organization care? New Avanade Trendlines research indicates that nearly one third (31%) of IT and business decisionmakers say that establishing, growing, and preserving trust will be their primary business driver for innovation through the end of 2024.

While trust has never been more important as a bedrock for personal and professional well-being, it’s been getting chipped away. Polls like the Edelman Trust Barometer continue to reveal that social divisions are growing globally, and that “business is the only institution seen as competent and ethical”. Especially relevant with the introduction of generative AI, building and maintaining trust has become an even more critical component for business success, especially when it comes to protecting data and IP, building authentic relationships, and having the confidence to engage with emerging technologies. These efforts matter because trust is difficult to gain and easy to lose – the reputational risks of losing trust can last for years, and possibly forever.

To supercharge workers responsibly, build trust into AI Copilots
At Avanade, we believe that technology is a tremendous force for good. The release of AI copilots, like Microsoft 365 Copilot, is a once in a 30-50 year change in how work will be done across every sector. We already see great examples of supercharging workers with AI. And this mega shift in how work gets done also depends on trust, in this case between employee and employer. Employees want to know how AI will impact their day-to-day work, what tasks it will complete and how reliably, and how their roles will be impacted.

In our view, AI should be used creatively by workers to supercharge and support their work, potentially opening and discovering new positions we may not foresee yet. To that end, people empowerment and governance are key to enabling this shift. Like any technology, there needs to be a strong framework of policies and guidelines in place to ensure transparency, fairness, and trust. Yet, Trendlines reveals that only 36% of organizations are completely confident they have sufficient checks and balances in place to mitigate the potential risks and harms of AI. There is a lot of work to do, and it must be done fast to keep with the pace of technology advancements. A reliable AI Readiness Framework can help organizations to get started and accelerate their AI journey with sensible guardrails.

Grow trust to seize the opportunities of open innovation
It’s one thing to establish trust within an organization. But how about extending that trust to partners, suppliers – and even competitors? This is foundational to the concept of growth through open innovation, creating value that transcends organizational boundaries through increasing operability among platforms and companies. Our research showed that 54% of business and IT leaders say that open innovation has accelerated internal innovation, and 37% of leaders say they have already or are actively forming a data cooperative with partners outside of their organization for further growth opportunities.

But creating that level of trust is tricky. For example, only about a quarter (27%) of Business and IT leaders completely trust their organization’s ecosystem partners to fully protect their customer’s data. This is where secure data sharing comes in: modern applications, confidential computing frameworks and advanced computing power are making it easier for disparate data owners to work together safely. And where certain digital assets are too important to leave to trust, organization can prioritize privacy and security with solutions like zero trust for authentication as a practical way to enable more open innovation.

Optimize your resource usage to grow trust
Regardless of one’s industry, we are using the Earth’s finite energy resources to get work done. In times of abundance, it may not feel like it matters how much of those resources are used. But as resources deplete (think: fewer minerals for batteries), organizations may have to make harder choices and trade offs, which may or may not be seen as responsible by key stakeholders. Perhaps that’s why nearly two-thirds (65%) of IT and Business leaders say that their organization is vulnerable to reputational risk due to the use of energy resources across its operations and IT infrastructure, including AI.

We’re seeing a shift in how organizations optimize their energy usage, even building resource-awareness into products and services that automatically reduce energy usage or divert to greener energy sources. Organizations seeking to build trust with responsible resource usage should consider also adopting green software engineering principles that will help to reduce carbon impact of IT, and can even get started measuring their carbon impact and sustainability progress with carbon accounting tools.

Get started today, because trust can’t wait
Trust is a foundation of business, and you have the opportunity to maintain and build it through continual change. Whether that’s building internal trust within your organization to supercharge work, infusing trust to leverage insights and opportunity across organizations and platforms for open innovation, or building trust via resource awareness into your processes and products, there are practical steps to keep trust at the core of your strategy.

Read about the latest technology trends and the growing importance of trust in our Trendlines report, and contact us to learn more about how we can help you infuse trust for a more responsible business.

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