Addressing Digital’s Trust Crisis

Our new White Paper, developed with the Institute for Management Development (IMD), outlines actionable ways to overcome the looming crisis of digital trust, drawing on expert discussions at the 50th St. Gallen Symposium.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the potential of emerging digital technologies to contribute to solving the world’s most intractable challenges. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), in particular, have allowed us to stay connected in times of physical distancing, to collaborate remotely, and to educate and learn despite school closings.

What this has shown is that, when used in the right way, technology and digitisation can be a force for good, and a central success factor in recovering from the pandemic quickly whilst addressing some of our most pressing challenges in the long term.

Challenges to Digital Trust

To reap this potential for positive impact, societal trust in emerging technologies, and those who develop and market them, is fundamental – but has been challenged in recent years. For instance, during the pandemic, at least 45 countries have developed their own COVID-tracing app. Yet, examples of collected data by these apps being used for unrelated purposes started surfacing quickly in some countries – ultimately eroding users’ trust.

This has brought up important questions about the right balance and relationship between privacy and data protection, on the one hand, and the quick rollout of innovative applications of ICTs and Al for our health and security, on the other.

Cross-generational Recommendations on Restoring Trust in Tech

During the 50th St. Gallen Symposium on “Trust Matters”, senior executives and a selected group of next generation leaders came together during a virtual roundtable to share their perspectives and discuss solutions to the most pressing digital trust challenges, led by IMD Professor of Digital Strategy and Cybersecurity Öykü Işık.

In order to address these issues of trust, the roundtable’s participants suggested a range of approaches and solutions across four building blocks: individual, technological, organisational and societal.

The White Paper, titled “Strengthening Trust in Technology When It Matters the Most”, summarises these diverse insights to inform the public debate around the complex trade-offs and challenges spanning these four interdependent blocks.

While some views differed, all participants agreed that without a stronger level of cooperation and open dialogue between private and public sector actors, we are unlikely to find meaningful solutions and the crisis of trust could gain momentum.

Download the White Paper

Read and download the full White Paper here for all findings and actionable ways to strengthen digital trust.


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