Technology has made our lives easier. Products and services are becoming effortless, things just happen with a click. At work, technical tasks and processes are being automated. So, what are we worried about… ?
It started with the Victorians. The mould was cast in the industrial revolution, institutions and corporations were set up like machines. Managers and departments waited to respond to commands. Individuals were asked to process tasks without knowing what the whole business was doing. A central governor sent out global instructions. The Victorian education system was the equivalent of a basic operating system and uniformity ruled.
Our schools haven’t changed much since Victorian times. Pupils still learn by repetition, tests reinforce binary answers and success is measured by conformity. 19th-century school leavers were expected to become factory workers, administrators or civil servants. They’d spend their life at a workstation, producing identical products to a specification. Factory owners wanted their workers to behave in the same way and everyone worked in silos.
Times have changed, today technology has taken over managing systems and machines are better at repetitive jobs. As a result, we need fewer people to behave like they are part of a machine. Manufacturing has given us access to cheap mass-produced products with the promise of more leisure time but the drive for automation has removed the human element. It’s not just jobs and skills which are disappearing, we are also losing an emotional connection.
Seeing the world as data; numbers, transactions, segments or in binary terms, yes or no, success or failure isn’t human or sympathetic. Measuring everything can make our thinking too mechanical, artificial, routine or process driven.
Machines don’t contribute ideas, and this is our opportunity. Technology won’t improve how a concept is formed or how successful a product or campaign will be. Any attempt to standardise a solution will only produce a facsimile.
Machines don’t contribute ideas, and this is our opportunity. Technology won’t improve how a concept is formed or how successful a product or campaign will be.
We live in a new age, that of the new Elizabethans. Our challenge is to be as unlike a machine as possible. Be more critical, emotionally intelligent and beautifully unpredictable. Generating new ideas, solving problems and creating original content only come from an indirect approach, typically through viewing a problem in a different or unusual light. People want novelty and choice, things that are fresh, different or special. Social media serves up oddity and consumers expect constant innovation.
It seems that only humans are able to imagine something not yet seen. It’s what has set us apart and hopefully it will continue to give us an advantage.
Frictionless experiences are great for things which we don’t care about like paying a bill or taxing a car. But we value things less when they’re not a challenge. Positive disruption helps make an experience more satisfying and brands more memorable.
Also, when decisions are made for us we worry. Who benefits? What have we missed? Do we trust the brand? Where’s the fun?
If you’re developing a technology-led solution and it’s missing something, ask what is it that you want people to think, feel and do? If it should be frictionless, for example an induction scheme or online shopping, then ask if the experience could benefit from a touch of personality. Something that will engage an audience, get them invested and recommend it to their friends.
How something is delivered has become the differentiating factor for consumers. They’re looking for the right mix of functional, emotional and social benefits. Does it do the job? Why should I care and what does it say about me?
At The Team we help creative positive disruption; changing attitudes to safety, channel shifting audiences, engaging employees with compliance, unifying global teams and helping homeowners to find their happy.