What is technology really about?

There are so many buzzwords, so many turnkey solutions and so much written, spoken and debated about technology so I decided that we should go to the very core, the roots, of what technology really is, what it is all about.

Imagine sitting in a meeting, someone says something important you really want to remember. You grab a pencil and a piece of paper or in some other way, you write it down, so you will not forget these important words. Us humans are fantastic beings, but of course we are also limited in some ways and in most of these cases there are things that aids us, or even extends our abilities.

When you boil it down, when you take away all the buzzwords and everything else, what technology is really about is to assist or extend our human ability to accomplish things. This might sound simple and straightforward but as we all know it really is not.

Consider for a second a pen. You pick it up, click once on it and start to write. Now consider an application you use daily. You start your computer, you log in, you do a couple of other tasks and then you are able to work. Far too often our technology tools are too complicated and takes too much time to use. There are of course a number of reasons behind this, but that would actually be another blog, or maybe several, so let us not go there this time. My point being that we forget what technology really is about, what it is supposed to do. I am happy to see the whole #cx and #ux movement, there is always a big smile on my face when I hear or read about customer insights. We are starting to understand that the technology we offer first and foremost are tools that will assist or extend someone’s ability to accomplish something.

The digital transformation is about utilizing the new generation digital tools to accomplish even more things. Yes, it sure is. However, it is really not about technology. The new tools bring a lot of new “extensions” to our human ability, without a doubt. Nonetheless, it is really simple, for us to be able to accomplish these new things, that we could not reach before, we have to use the technology in the right way.

Communication apps are a really great example of this.

I am able to solve hundreds of tasks with many different stakeholders, organizations and people during a normal day, using communication apps. I daily interact with many people, sometimes directly, “online” but just as often asynchronic – just as some type of light e-mail. For me as an entrepreneur, a colleague, a father a husband, a brother, a son and a friend this technology enables me to be so much more efficient, it really extends my ability, it boosts my performance in so many ways.

Please, now consider how this communication app would work if several of my connections did not want to share information with me, or if someone of them was supervised and told not to act on anything that did not come directly from their closest manager? Maybe some of my contact was afraid to do a mistake and this channel simply was too “fast” and informal for them? Or even worse, my contact at some partner company did not have the answer and simply decided not to answer my message.

All these things are actual challenges in the organizations of today, silo-thinking, lacking or even non-existing sharing of knowledge and/or information, blame culture, lack of trust, people with their own agendas, objective and goals never reaching the operational level and much more.

There are simply a wide range of challenges for us to solve BEFORE this wonderful new generation of digital tools can help us to accomplish these new things. This is for example why startups are so fast, since they are born into this new type of context, when these challenges do not exist, they can simply embrace the new technology and accomplish things before the rest of us.

There is a lot more to say, but my main objective with this post was to help you to remember what technology really is about, it sounds silly, but we all tend to forget this which has negative effects.

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