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As well as accelerating digital technology trends, the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized that both innovation and collaboration are critical to the world’s survival and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. There is also an increasing realization that putting people’s health and wellbeing first is the right moral choice and the right business strategy.

When organizations have a social purpose at the center of their strategy, solutions for the planet’s most complex challenges are found more quickly and effectively by combining efforts. The conclusion is clear: together, we are stronger.

As the pandemic lessons are absorbed, organizations prioritizing people, communities and the environment are most likely to thrive better and show more substantial business results. Global technology and business solutions provider NTT is one such organization—driven by a commitment to enable a sustainable future that is more human and natural by connecting and improving our environment and people’s social, cultural and economic lives.

The global technology firm, which traces its roots back to the introduction of the telegraph in Japan in 1870, has a long heritage of connecting and serving society through innovation and working with partners to solve social challenges. For example, NTT has been focused on optical technology research since the 1960s to improve social connections and communications between people, communities, businesses and government organizations. Today, that research is evolving through its Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative.

Striving for a better world

The challenges of today’s society have altered what it means to be a forward-thinking business. Now consumers—and especially the next generation—expect organizations to have a worthwhile purpose and drive meaningful change toward a more sustainable world through contributing innovation for the good of society.

This change in the view of society is a wake-up call to organizations to review their business models and align them with global initiatives such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Growth and profitability are always going to be important. It allows you to reinvest in people and the planet, and those organizations that strike a balance will do the best. However, moving from perpetual growth at all costs to growth that includes the wellbeing of people and the planet is the core of purpose-led organizations.

Innovation for a sustainable future

For NTT, being a purpose-led organization has been at its core from its inception. NTT’s long-term commitment to innovation and research investments provides the foundation for contributing to a more sustainable world. NTT believes that this commitment helps create positive change across social, economic, environmental, and cultural areas of life. The goal is to develop and engage in initiatives to solve social issues through its business activities, contributing to creating a safe, secure, and sustainable society.

For business, the focus on people begins in the workplace. NTT recognizes the importance of personal and social health and wellbeing and seeks to lead by example, paying close attention to employee rights, including promoting equitable pay, opportunities, diversity and inclusion.

Its technical expertise in healthcare is allied to its digital strengths to address aging populations and healthcare problems. Some examples include how the organization partnered with academic researchers in Australia to develop virtual-reality training for dementia carers. Also, its R&D labs in the United States and Tokyo are developing ‘virtual twins’: digital replicas of individual patients’ bodies that help develop personalized treatments for complex conditions.

Another example is that, during the pandemic, NTT’s technology protected clients in the workplace against cyberattacks. For example, it provided free cybersecurity incident response services to frontline hospitals, giving them the peace of mind to continue their vital work.

As businesses firm up their hybrid working models, helping to ensure healthy workplaces is a crucial area of focus. In recent months, together with partners, NTT has been helping clients worldwide return their employees to offices while adhering to public health guidelines and capacity regulations that vary from one country to another. Using technology, clients can allocate access for designated employees by office, floor and desk, and verify that sanitary rules are respected.

NTT is also doing what it can to reduce demands on our planet’s resources, by minimizing its environmental footprint and helping other organizations and individuals reduce theirs. Leveraging its technologies—such as photonic networks, disaggregated computing, and low-emission data centers—reduces energy consumption by improving the efficiency of communications, reducing their carbon footprint and improving the ability for effective remote work, entertainment and other services.

When it comes to global economic health, the company believes its research agenda—including quantum computing, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence—can help in the fight against poverty and the design of sustainable cities and communities.

It is becoming clear that achieving any progress relies on collaborating with people, partners and other organizations with similar values. It is also clear that NTT believes that only by combining purpose with expertise, leadership and technologies do we have the best chance of solving the complex and intractable problems our society faces.

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