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Social impact is a way of thinking and way of looking at things. Think of social impact as “taking care of the village” – meaning ensuring that you, your family, your neighbours, your community, the planet, and future generations have access to the essential resources you all need to survive, thrive, and be happy.

In every industry, we can do business in a thoughtful, positively impactful way that takes care of the village.

Think of social impact as “taking care of the village” (click to tweet)

Technology is so ubiquitous that it is not only an industry unto itself, but is also present in every industry be it financial services, transportation, energy, consumer products, and health, just to name a few.

In every industry, there is likely the potential for a mix of technology and social impact.

As an example, one of the companies Pique Fund looked at in 2016 as a potential investment opportunity, used technology to make community lending more feasible and efficient for credit unions and community banks. We previously wrote about the potential positive impact for small businesses who need access to capital to start or grow and for communities they serve, for which small businesses are their economic lifeline. Financial services is an industry that took advantage of technology to make processes more efficient, more convenient, or more competitive – in some cases having a negative impact on employees, smaller customers, and some communities. Now the financial services industry is one that could use technology to make its services more accessible, potentially more fair, and more impactful in a positive way.

Within Pique Fund’s portfolio, all of our companies are applying technology to make a difference and create a better world. Beanworks uses technology to automate accounting workflow, to help companies make their operations more effective and efficient, but also to make the jobs and lives of accountants better. Wearable Therapeutics applies technology in the design of their fashionable, wearable Snug Vests, that help children and adults feel more calm and in more control of their actions. ePact Network put technology to good use to create an innovative communications system, keeping people connected during emergencies and crises.

I believe there is a lot of potential for technology in industries including food, water, shelter, and energy that could have huge positive social impact because the essential resources made available and accessible by these industries are so vital for our sustenance.

The free flow and accessibility of information and knowledge can also have a significant positive impact and can be the difference between fairness and injustice or between wealth and poverty. Technology plays an important part in transmitting information – be it education or news – in a fair, democratic, and accessible manner.

Our relationships and who we are connected with also plays an important role in what essential resources we have access to and how. Using technology to deepen our relationships and improve the quality of our connections (i.e. being connected to people who are most aligned or most impactful to help us achieve our goals, make the changes we want to make in our lives, or help us make critical decisions) not weaken our personal relationship or concentrate only on the quantity of connections we have is also an opportunity for positive social impact. This could be the industries of communications or even social networking.

There are many more connections amongst industries, technology, and social impact that I could make, but the industries most top of mind for me are financial services, food, water, shelter, energy, information (including education and news), social networking, and communication.


A version of this post was originally published on Quora. Ask me anything on Quora.

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For more impact investing resources and tools, check out Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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