The Story behind Intelligent Ethics: what’s in a name?

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Intelligent Ethics emerged from my passion to push the boundaries of what it means to do the right thing in today’s increasingly complex world. The pace of disruptive technology, more regulation, global economic and political volatility and a lack of trust threaten our sense of what is the right thing to do and our ability to use judgement and act with purpose. Intelligent Ethics shines a spotlight on why business ethics and good corporate governance are a force for good for everyone.

As the Founder and Director of Intelligent Ethics I am delighted to build on my years of expertise and consulting experience as a former Partner of PwC and leader of the UK Business Ethics and Corporate Governance client-facing practice. My vision for Intelligent Ethics is two fold: to increase my contribution to society by helping to build public trust and confidence in business through embedding ethical business conduct and good corporate governance, and to deliver a wide portfolio of advisory work across both private and public sectors.

So why ‘Intelligent Ethics’?

Intelligence comes from the Latin ‘intelligere’ meaning to comprehend or understand. As well as understanding what is business ethics, more critically we need to understand why and how business ethics, integrated into an organisational operating model, will enable organisations to act with purpose, to deal effectively with dilemmas, and to build trust with stakeholders by deploying a consistent set of values and behaviours. Creativity, self-awareness, adaptability and an innate desire to learn are some of the many attributes of intelligence. Why wouldn’t an organisation want to optimise performance through the use of intelligent ethics, that will not only benefit business, but will also positively contribute to wider society and humanity?

Bringing Intelligent Ethics to life

We need to embrace the disruptors of modern business life through the application of intelligent ethics. Defining the ethical values that will drive decision-making is just one small step in the right direction. The ability to integrate these into the DNA of the organisation is where it gets hard. This applies not only to employee behaviours and the governing framework of policies, procedures and controls, but perhaps most critically to the technology being used, especially in today’s world of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous machines.

In my recent LinkedIn article on The Impact of AI on Ethics, I highlighted the challenge we face in imparting a set of ethical values into AI systems and a context within which machines will make good decisions. The ethical consequences of the development and use of AI, such as the impact on economics, privacy, data governance, diversity, innovation and democracy, will all contribute to the reputational risk of organisations who have a key role to play in positioning AI as a force for good in society.

There are many challenges to address, including the ability of leadership to respond and act responsibly to these implications, and to ask themselves as to whether they personally believe in the corporate values and if so, how these are manifested in their day to day business decisions and actions. Do actual behaviours reflect corporate purpose and build a climate of trust, both internally and externally? Intelligent Ethics can help leaders and their organisations to understand what it means to do business ethically and with intelligence.

Doing the right thing

The timing is right for Intelligent Ethics. I am so excited about the opportunities already in the pipeline and the chance to continue my passion for business ethics and good governance.

This is the story of Intelligent Ethics.