The Moral Enterprise

By Andrew Yeoman - April 20, 2018

We’ve all seen the latest news about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica using our data without permission. Most people are horrified, some seem not to care, but it does open up some interesting wider questions….

With the advent of the internet of things, if you can connect a device to something, including a person, you can know everything about it. But, who owns all that data and what do we want them to do (or not) with it?

My own connected world

I live in a very connected world. I wake up each morning at ‘just the right time’ governed by a watch on my wrist that monitors my sleep and eases me into the day with the gentlest of vibrations. From there I head into the bathroom and onto my connected scales to weigh me, tell me my body fat percentage and BMI. Once showered and dressed I head downstairs and ask Alexa to warm up the car (a connected BMW i3). My driving is monitored for driving style and use of the phone, and I arrive at the station just in time (my train times are notified to me of course). During the day I’m monitored for the number of steps that I take, my heart rate, how many stairs I’ve climbed and how many calories I am burning. 

If I look at some of the emerging technologies such as Blippar which can recognise objects around us, and the latest AI that can identify food types, we’re not far away from our calorie in-take being catalogued too.  

You know what, I love it…I love the fact that I know. But it’s just not me that knows…it’s them (you know who…the Silicon Valley tech titans). What are they going to do with all the data, and what do I want them to do with it?

Back in September 2017 (and updated in November 2017) Apple announced that they are working on a study with Stanford Medicine to identify irregular heart rhythms. This study might not succeed, nor the next, but they will get there for sure and then what? What happens when they can predict that you are going to have a heart attack? Will they act and what happens if they don’t? Can you imagine the headlines: “Apple knew the driver was going to have a heart attack before the crash happened”? The liabilities and potential liabilities are enormous.

So, what do I want as a consumer? I think that the answer is simple…I’d like them to put my interests first. I would like them to put ‘acting in my best interest’ at the very centre of their business model. 

Step forward, the Moral Enterprise

What is a Moral Enterprise? So let’s think about it...

How about I do this deal for you? If I invest your money and make you $100 are you OK if I took $5 of that as a fee? Of course!

How about I have an App that monitors your driving and suggests better routes and ways to save you fuel - sure.

How about rather than making suggestions, it actually takes action? An App that moves your money around to get you better interest rates? Switches your utility provider proactively? How about manages your health? Makes you Doctor’s appointments etc?

How will we decide whether we will trust them with our data? We’ll decide based on their Moral Agenda…their purpose...what are THEY going to do for ME? And at what future cost to me and how will I know? 

If a company is truly a Moral Enterprise, not only must the company act in the best interests of the customer, they must also be completely transparent in how they are using that data (not hide it behind T&C’s or in complicated language, actually make it easy for consumers to understand). That way the customer can make an informed decision about whether the value they are getting from that service outweighs any potential compromises they are being asked to make with their data.

Working in the Insurtech market, this whole agenda is changing the industry. If you know, should you act? If you (the Insurer) can see that there’s a leak in the loft space, I don’t want you to use that information to ‘validate my claim’ I want you to act and stop that wet ceiling collapsing! And I’ll pay for that…the move from Insurance to Assurance.

Moral agendas could be: Save me time, save me money, manage my home, manage my health. The question for all of us is: are we willing to change and let a third party take decisions for us?  


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