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Technology for Social Good

As technology becomes the largest infrastructure investment for enterprises and governmental organizations, the potential to impact lives and do good (as well as harm) becomes a critical new business metric for our industry. Increasingly, employees and investors want to work with companies that align with their own desires to make a positive social impact. This has far-reaching business consequences that impact shareholder decisions, employee recruitment and retention decisions, and investors' portfolios.

The Technology for Social Good research will identify critical new social impact metrics and showcase new and emerging mission-based social entrepreneurs that are harnessing technology to have positive social impact across three primary areas: climate impact and environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and communities at risk. This program also covers growth in CSR programs at major technology organizations and their impact on business and social outcomes.

This research is intended to aid technology organizations, CSR teams, educators, policymakers, investors, governments, and NGOs and mission-based organizations to devise strategies and policies that maximize technology benefits and minimize damaging social consequences. This includes providing a business case for positive social impact and understanding the broad economic effects of technology investments and proposes new metrics and measurement systems for evaluating market success that complement traditional economic measures.

This research is supported by 11 IDC analysts: Michelle Bailey, Jonathan Share, Matthew Eastwood, Ashish Nadkarni, Curtis Price, Mary Johnson Turner, Rory Duncan, Leslie Rosenberg, Jen Cooke, Sean Riley, and Arnal Dayaratna.


Markets and Subjects Analyzed

  • Use cases and coverage of IDC's 3rd platform technologies and innovation accelerators — cloud, AI, robotics, mobile, social, big data, AR/VR — for social good (e.g., use of AI to prioritize energy consumption to reduce GHG emissions; use of blockchain to secure funds for refugees without access to banking; use of software and AI to sort through leads on human trafficking; online training for refugees and disadvantages for reskilling and positive employee impacts; and IT asset disposal and environmental impacts)

Core Research

  • Vendor profiles of emerging companies, start-ups, foundations, and philanthropy organizations whose mission statement or business case is for social good and positive outcomes
  • Vendor profiles for established technology companies' CSR programs and initiatives for social good
  • Annual report covering major industry trends, announcements, and investments

In addition to the insight provided in this service, IDC may conduct research on specific topics or emerging market segments via research offerings that require additional IDC funding and client investment.


Key Questions Answered

  1. Which are the top social innovator organizations in the technology sector?
  2. How impactful are social good initiatives in driving positive business outcomes for technology vendors?
  3. What level of investment should major technology suppliers allocate to social good initiatives?
  4. How is the investment community supporting social good initiatives, and how are social good investment funds performing?
  5. What are the top use cases for technology for social good?

Related Links


Meet the Experts
Arnal Dayaratna

Research Director, Software Development

Ashish Nadkarni

Group Vice President, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group

Curtis Price

Program Vice President, Infrastructure Services

Jennifer Cooke

Research Director, Cloud to Edge Datacenter Trends


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