Technology in 2016? For Goodness’ Sake…

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The last 12 months have been some of the most exciting in terms of tech innovation.

We are in an era of unprecedented tech growth. But it’s not all about IPOs, VC deals and unicorns – faintly reminiscent of where the focus was when the dotcom bubble burst. Technology has come to play an almost incomprehensibly large role in all of our lives. The rise of the sharing economy and peer-to-peer services, the internet of things and virtual reality are commonplace.

You want a taxi? There’s an app for that. You need a fitness boost? Wearables are here to kick you into shape.

Technology touches us all; it affords us previously unreachable opportunities and it’s revolutionizing stagnant or traditional industries and issues.

What we can expect to see throughout the course of 2016 is a direct extension of this: The rise of the social entrepreneur; a new wave of evangelists who are using technology for the purpose of betterment.

While this is prevalent globally, it is something which is particularly pertinent to our region where we continue to see social, political and economic uncertainties.

And it’s great news – 2015 saw myriad social ventures being launched. Teenage brothers Amer and Mohamad Yaghi brought us AidMaid. The emergency assistance app was downloaded over 3,000 times in 68 countries in its first two days of beta. Both Egypt and Lebanon have called on techies to help solve waste management issues.

Meanwhile, Soushiant Zanganehpour, one of MENA’s leading experts on social enterprise, expects millennials to become agents of change.

And while it’s hugely heartening to see young social entrepreneurs blooming, 2016 will see big businesses and entities really taking note.

It is no longer enough for tech brands to focus on pure product or service. It falls on these businesses to support the next wave of entrepreneurs, agents of change and innovators, to harness the power of technology. We expect brands to give back and in 2016, we will see more of this.

From mentorship initiatives and educational opportunities, to incubator and accelerator programs. Big brands are going to be supporting the rise of social entrepreneurship which will give a whole new lease of life to traditional CSR programs.

It makes perfect sense. Not only will they be striving towards delivering betterment for our lives today, they will be giving our business leaders of tomorrow a platform for the future.

I, for one, am really looking forward to what’s in store.