Leading Edge Forum Report Shows Organizations How to Make Digital Ethics Actionable and Sustainable

London, June 18, 2019 – A new report released today by global research and thought leadership organization Leading Edge Forum (LEF) looks at the increasing role of corporate digital ethics as we operate in a world where it is more and more difficult to opt out of a digitally mediated life. The report, entitled Stemming Sinister Tides: Sustainable Digital Ethics Through Evolution, will help companies navigate the relationship between digital and business ethics, and provides a set of pragmatic tools that will assist at all stages of technological maturity with the application of sustainable ethical decision-making.


Ethics as applied to the business world are nothing new, and ethics itself has been a topic of conversation and debate for thousands of years. But the rapid development of technology in the modern world brings with it both potential harm and benefits. This new report by LEF’s Digital Anthropologist, Dr Caitlin McDonald, helps organizations minimize risk by explaining how to use ethical frameworks as a way to not just define digital ethics, but make them “ethics of action” where they proactively influence the approach to technology development and implementation. Essentially getting ethics away being from fading words on a page and into practice.


Organizations that fail to apply ethical thinking to their use and development of technology risk harm to their businesses in four key areas:


Loss of customer base to more ethical service providers

Loss of talent to more ethical employers

Public harm through exacerbating systemic inequalities

Loss of competitive edge against unethical actors 


Critically, the report examines the evolutionary nature of digital ethics as a product or service moves through its development as well as how different groups within an organization will have varying views on ethical priorities. This complex and changing entwined mix of ethics can be complicated to understand, with its subtle interactions and initial intentions lost over time. The tools and techniques in this paper will help companies map existing ethics before shaping an actionable model that can be taken forward by stakeholders under the corporate banner.


“Digital ethics has become a vitally important part of corporate life for companies that not just develop, but use technology at scale,” said Dr. McDonald. “Few people wake up in the morning and think, ‘Today’s a great day to be unethical!’  But all of us make decisions that require us to weigh competing interests. Sometimes this involves assessing impacts on different groups, including potential impacts that are not clear at the point of the decision.


Developing digital ethics is like having a digital strategy: you cannot have a digital strategy without a business strategy, and you cannot have digital ethics without business ethics. Digital ethics, and being ethically digital, is about managing the specific ethical concerns that emerge through technological ubiquity. This report is designed to give organizations a set of tools to help them navigate and define their own digital ethics in a way that is both actionable and sustainable in the long-term.”


You can download “Stemming Sinister Tides: Sustainable Digital Ethics Through Evolution” at: https://leadingedgeforum.com/research/stemming-sinister-tides-sustainable-digital-ethics-through-evolution/.


 About LEF

Leading Edge Forum is one of the world’s leading cross-industry think-tanks and is dedicated to helping clients reimagine their organizations and leadership for a tech-driven future.  It has been evaluating major digital technology developments and shifts for over 30 years – and delivering insights on how these will redefine industries, organizations and the individuals that work within them.  Learn more at https://www.leadingedgeforum.com