Cyber Warfare, Digital Transformation, and Gender Equality in the IT Industry
How will the reconstruction of Ukraine proceed, and what can Swedish companies contribute?
Consid’s Sustainability Manager, Nathalie Besèr, discussed the role of Swedish companies in the reconstruction of Ukraine during a seminar organized by Forever Sustainable. Among the panelists was Håkan Jevrell, State Secretary responsible for foreign trade, who emphasized some of the key factors regarding what is needed for the reconstruction of Ukraine and the role that both the Swedish government and the business community have in this process:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently working on finding a synergy between Sweden’s trade policy and development aid policy. Håkan Jevrell believes that Ukraine will play an important role in this. As for Swedish companies, there is both money and interest within the Swedish business community to engage with Ukraine. However, Swedish businesses have fallen behind in this regard. According to Håkan Jevrell, companies have a responsibility to restore previous relationships they have had in Ukraine and establish new ones to revive the Ukrainian economy.
Nathalie Besèr provided several examples of how Consid has engaged with Ukraine, partly through the company’s partnership with the aid organization War Child. She also highlighted the importance of partnerships based on shared values and an exchange of expertise as well as financial support.
How much remote work can the Swedish public health handle?
A new survey on office workers’ expectations regarding work life and the office as a workplace shows that 9 out of 10 office workers in the Nordic countries have the office as their workplace for at least half of the workweek. Additionally, 2 out of 3 consider the office to be very or somewhat important for their social life. The real estate company Castellum conducted the survey, and Heléne Lidström, Workplace Strategist at Castellum, released the report during a seminar on Dagens Industri’s stage in Almedalen.
Several conclusions from the report indicate that the greatest advantage of the office is the people who work there. On average, 62 percent consider colleagues to be the most important aspect of the office. Additionally, the office is a generational issue. Younger employees differ from older colleagues on many issues and are generally more positive towards the office.
Consid’s CEO, Peter Hellgren, was also on the panel. Consid has been named Sweden’s Best Employer two years in a row. The impressive and well-equipped offices are part of that. Peter Hellgren emphasized that there are three different aspects that a consulting company needs to adapt to: meeting the customer’s workplace preferences while also meeting the employee’s preferences. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one must also consider the well-being of the employees.
The conclusion that all panelists agreed on, including Paulina Brandberg, Minister for Gender Equality and Deputy Minister for Labour in the Swedish government, and Leif Denti, Ph.D. in innovation psychology at the University of Gothenburg, was that the need for a physical meeting place will not disappear as we become more digitized. However, the way we meet within the walls of our workplaces may change.
Peter Hellgren highlighted how Consid, for example, works on finding other ways to meet physically beyond the everyday work. He believes that the office will still be our central place in five years. Whereas employers must ensure that the office becomes the central place for employees, as otherwise no culture is built. Consid therefore organizes various types of employee care and culture-building activities for our employees, both within the consulting groups, at the local level, and at the national level.
“Cyber warfare is already here”
Consid chose to take a step further during this year’s Almedalen Week and invited one of the key figures in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Yegor Aushev, Chief of Civil Cyber Defense in Ukraine, to discuss cyber warfare and its impact on Europe’s and Sweden’s security policy.
Cyber warfare plays a crucial role in Russia’s unjust war of aggression against Ukraine, and its consequences extend far beyond the borders of the two countries. In the seminar “Cyberwar Against an Aggressor: The Case of Ukraine,” he conversed with Björn Fägersten, security policy expert at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, about cyber warfare and how to create a secure digital environment. The conversation was moderated by Consid’s CEO, Peter Hellgren, and Consid’s Sustainability Manager, Nathalie Besèr.
What sets Ukraine apart from many other countries affected by an aggressive war is that the country has never lost its internet connection. The reason, according to Yegor Aushev, is that the country educates its population in cybersecurity and has prioritized this issue within its defense. He also revealed how ordinary Swedes’ digital devices have been used by Russia in attacks against Ukraine:
– There is no state in the world that can solely protect its entire population from an aggressor like Russia if they try to disconnect the internet, electricity, and power. It is essential that every company, every family, and every individual knows how to protect themselves from an attack in order to counter intrusion. The state and the defense can do a lot, but we all need to understand the importance of protecting our devices, said Yegor Aushev said during the seminar.
Digitalization in the public sector – How do we regain the leading position?
Several international surveys show that the Swedish public sector lags behind the EU average in terms of digitalization. The latest report from the European Commission on how EU countries offer citizens the opportunity to manage and consume public services digitally places Sweden as low as 15th place, thus ranking last among the Nordic countries.
Tomas Lindroth, researcher in digitalization of the public sector at the University of Gothenburg and co-founder of the research consortium Digital Förvaltning, discusses the conclusions in the book “Digitalization of the Public Sector.” He believes that a decisive factor for Sweden’s lagging behind can be found within the universities:
– For a long time, we have been educating in IT governance, where we have focused on reducing innovation, finding standard solutions, and thereby having control over costs. But if we go from a reality where the computer is a support to being the core of what we do, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to understand why we ended up here,” explains Tomas Lindroth.
Also participating in the conversation were Consid’s CEO, Peter Hellgren, and Per Wikström, Chief Digitalization Officer at Jönköping Municipality. Consid is one of Sweden’s largest IT providers to the public sector. Peter Hellgren highlighted what he sees as the biggest challenges for Sweden to strengthen its position in terms of digitalization, and Per Wikström shared insights on how Jönköping Municipality has been working on this issue.
Time is running out – Future digital infrastructure is being created now
In the seminar “Time is running out – Future infrastructure is being created now,” Anna Edstedt, Head of Consid’s gender equality platform Q by Consid, engaged in a forward-looking discussion with Marielle Sterner, Youth and Children Responsible at Datatjej, and Laura Ingemarsson, writer and social commentator, about the importance of gender equality in the tech industry.
They argue that there are several explanations for why the industry is not more gender-equal. Firstly, there is a lack of communication about what IT and tech actually entail, and secondly, there is a general exclusion of women from positions of power.
The seminar also discussed how the world might look in the future if no change occurs and what is required to promote gender equality in the IT industry and societal development.
– Gender equality and diversity are important in all industries. However, what distinguishes the issue in the IT industry specifically is that it shapes the society we live in. We must include everyone. The men who currently hold power must let others in and recognize the value of working towards greater diversity and gender equality. But schools, politicians, and society as a whole must also realize the importance of creating a gender-equal IT industry,” said Anna Edstedt.
Consid also participated in the seminars: “The Business Sector’s New Role in Aid,” “How Can Your Company’s Social Sustainability Efforts Make a Difference?” and “Mental Health – A Global Challenge Requiring Global Solutions.”