Jobs and the Future of Work

What is the value of business to society?

Sandeep Dadlani
Chief Digital Officer, UnitedHealth Group (UHG)
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Jobs and the Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Innovation is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


In a recent interview published by The Guardian, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Chairman of Infosys said that the true value of a business to society is not about making profits, but creating products and services that create advances in society.

I believe this is especially true today because the very epicentre of innovation has shifted from individual researchers and scientific laboratories to enterprises, a view point that also resonates with the outlook of thought leaders at the recent Oracle Open World.

The role of lead innovator comes with huge responsibility, and along with it, a chance to develop creative ideas for progress – the kind that looks beyond short-termism and narrow interests towards the greater good; progress which is so beneficial to society that the latter wants your organization to exist and excel. Let’s not forget these ideals in the mad rush to maximize profits, achieve a percentage increase in market share or meet shareholders’ ever-increasing expectations.

How can we integrate the pursuit of such progress within the organizational fabric? In my view, there are three ways, namely by: innovating with products and processes; designing new and better customer experiences and reinventing business models.

For instance, consider how technology innovation in the form of a mobile banking platform has provided financial access to the vast, hitherto unbanked populations in the developing world. Or, how advances in intelligent healthcare systems have made it possible to offer remote care to geriatric patients. And, take the example of the Global Delivery Model, which has been instrumental in developing entire regions in the emerging world into hubs of innovation, generating new employment opportunities for their people while delivering unmatched business advantage to enterprises in the developed world.

These ideas stand out not only for the obvious benefits they reap for the parent company, but also for their contribution to the community, sustainability and society at large.

What’s amazing is that often organizations don’t realize the significance of those moments, which will ultimately go on to create history. They fail to see a “not-so-obvious” breakthrough for what it is – a small yet significant building block of not just enterprise growth, but radical progress.

So far, such progress has really been a fortuitous outcome of business. It is time it became the core reason to exist for business.

Author: Sandeep Dadlani is Vice-President and Head, Americas, Retail, CPG and Logistics of Infosys. He is also a Member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Values.

Image: Businessmen cast shadows as they cross a street in Tokyo. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Jobs and the Future of WorkFinancial and Monetary SystemsClimate Action
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Improving workplace productivity requires a holistic approach to employee health and well-being

Susan Garfield, Ruma Bhargava and Eric Kostegan

May 30, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum