Over its ten-year history, Samsung’s Technology with Purpose project has benefited more than 490,000 people, investing 25 million euros in 30 projects in the fields of education, culture, employment and access. Its manager, Alfonso Fernandez, explains that it aims to use technology to create a “more just, inclusive and responsible” society.
– What kind of support do you give to the unions you cooperate with on behalf of Samsung? Is it financial support, sponsorship…?
Basically it is a ‘win-win’ where we go beyond money. We have moved beyond typical sponsorship or CSR activity into proactive action. The important thing is to change a reality, and money helps, but above all, desire and knowledge help. In Samsung we have the knowledge and the technology and thus we reach agreements where the most important thing is cooperation in developing projects that clearly have a cost behind them, but not all help is financial, but all those projects above which improve the quality. Life And we give a visibility that would not have been possible otherwise. You want to change a reality.
-Do you have a team focused only on this project? How does this work?
-This project is internally driven by the marketing sector as we believe it is linked to the brand. This has a positive effect on reputation and how the brand contributes and collaborates with society. As such I believe that companies have to compete in a responsible and sustainable manner in society. The marketing department has a team that is in charge of identifying opportunities and from there developing various platforms or technology developments with an external partner and in many cases with an NGO that helps us launch in certain groups. Recommend to test first.
– During the presentation of the data, I was struck by the fact that the proportion of investments is changing in these ten years, from more education projects to others aimed at employment.
– We’re talking about the average, it’s very difficult to automatically balance the four pillars over all the years, but education is fundamental, we see 37% investment, it’s the base, it’s the pillar. Sometimes it depends on short term opportunities. The reach part was big that year when we invested in ELA. Those are specific issues and you have to stick with the average each year.
-And how do you invest in education? We Think About Bullets in the Classroom, What’s Next?
Public-private cooperation is necessary. Because we, as technology experts, are able to provide ‘hardware’ and provide ‘software’, but in the end, those who know an educational system are teachers, institutions, autonomous communities, ministries of education…we Many co-operate hand in hand to find that capillary. When we talk about education we talk about attendance at primary and secondary schools in all autonomous communities, regardless of the political sign that governs. This implies that we have to close agreements to digitize these classrooms not only with tablets and devices, but also to impart digital skills to the students, but also to the teachers. Train teachers in these technologies that allow them to teach and improve digital skills through technology as a medium.
In-orbit devices have been the subject of controversy because of doubts about their benefits. What is your opinion?
-We are completely in favor, but with one thing: always under the strict control of a professional, a teacher and an awareness of how this technique should be used at home. Technology is a tool, it improves people’s lives but it has to be well directed and especially in vulnerable groups like children and adolescents. If this happens, learning, skill improvement has been shown to increase rapidly.
How’s the teacher’s part going? How are they adapting to this new education?
It takes a lot of willpower and dedication to succeed. Education is a very sensitive sector as they are training the professionals of tomorrow. And not only professionally but also in values. There has been a very important relationship between professionals, a Samsung community has been created that exchange projects and ideas among themselves, we meet them once a year in Madrid to create this platform and that is success . Beyond endowment and collaboration in knowledge, build the community that feeds those connections into each other.
There are people who are not familiar with technology but it will change over the years. Will the time come when technology will become so natural in all areas that specific projects will no longer be needed?
-Perhaps. Lastly, society itself is becoming digital. New generations very much come with the mindset of using technology. From an educational perspective, from a responsible use of technology, this is something that will always be there. As a manufacturer we have to collaborate with society, parents, to hold them accountable for good use of technology and avoid those risks. But it is a live platform and it will evolve.
Some of the beneficiaries of the project have commented that technology is almost always a lever, but sometimes it has been a hindrance for them. How do you save it? What ‘feedback’ do organizations give you?
Working with consumers on the one hand and with institutions and organizations on the other is essential for that ‘feedback’ in real time. From an ideological point of view we may think that something works but in the end they give us the cotton test. Nothing better than an ALS patient or someone from the Foundation to guide us on what’s happening for better and worse and how to fix it. One group we are particularly aware of is the senior public because they are not digital natives. In 2023 we will see how we democratize the use of technology and expand knowledge so that technology is more human and closer.