WESLEY.INTEL: The world needs tech leaders now

There’s just one or two challenges that are being ignored, the writer says. Picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixbabay

There’s just one or two challenges that are being ignored, the writer says. Picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixbabay

Published May 14, 2024


The world is facing numerous challenges and leaders are trying to solve them.

There’s just one or two challenges that are being ignored.

One is the challenge presented to society by technology.

Tech issues are complex, and therefore it’s understandable why they are being ignored by world leaders.

The magnitude of harm and complexity of these challenges should be the reason for focusing on them.

Locally, cyberattacks alone are threatening businesses, countries, and individuals at unprecedented levels.

Cyberattacks alone have the ability to stop payment processes at a national-level and at personal-level.

At some point, cyberattacks negatively impacted operations at national ports and disrupting trade.

The more we digitise there more we will see challenges related to technology.

The sad reality is that few leaders are paying attention to technology as a threat and an opportunity. There’s not a single leader known for specifically paying attention to technology.

The nature of current challenges are in search of a leader. Such a leader would have to outline how they can address current technological challenges.

They would have to present their vision of the future as enabled by technology. Such a leader would be in a better position to formulate policies to address some of these tech challenges.

In the absence of such a leader, businesses and countries are left with one option – to adopt policies and solutions from elsewhere. There’s nothing wrong with adopting policies from elsewhere if the challenges are similar.

It would have been better to develop home-grown solutions for local issues. The absence of such leaders has also resulted in countries and businesses that are technologically vulnerable.

So far, we’ve seen more countries that are leading in technology and also producing leaders who are focusing on technology challenges.

Ideally, leaders with a focus on technology should be found everywhere technology is used and impacting lives.

Businesses, organisations and countries have been dancing around these issues.

Countries have been appointing science and technology ministers who focus on research and development.

In some instances countries have appointed digital communications ministers. But most have focused on other issues, and less on technology.

Most businesses are shy to appoint tech people at executive-level, instead tech leaders feature only at managerial-level.

The current situation is such that tech is impacting every aspect of our lives.

Now there’s a need for leaders with a focus on tech. Their responsibility should be to shield companies, countries, and organisations from technology challenges.

They should also safeguard the survival of these entities in the tech-driven world. More importantly, leaders with a focus on technology should outline how entities can exist in a technology-driven world.

They should build resilience within companies.

Every business, organisation, and country should now view itself as a tech entity.

If this is true, every entity should have a tech heavyweight to assist with mapping its tech vision, and someone with the ability to address tech challenges.

Wesley Diphoko has been working at the intersection of media and technology as the editor of FastCompany (SA) magazine. He is passionate about how technnology can enable the advancement of townships.

Wesley Diphoko. Picture: David Ritchie/Independent Newspapers