One of the challenges of solving business problems (or any problems) involves looking for a quick fix. This is what many businesses do as opposed to examining the problem, internalizing the cause, then solving it from the center out.
There’s a reason examining and internalizing the cause of the problem is so difficult. Doing so means accepting that some process or product is flawed and that we may be the cause. And, said too simply, mistakes are not something our culture readily accepts.
This is a shame because mistakes (and failing in general) are a huge part of learning, growth, and creativity. The sooner we accept mistakes and investigate/understand their causes, the sooner we can find real solutions that stick.
What we find more often is that businesses will look towards the ultimate band-aid, technology, to cover up problems. This is so said problems can remain out of sight and mind.
The Fix Becomes The Problem
Let’s take the intranet example.
In this example, an insurance company purchased an out-of-the-box intranet solution assuming it would get company announcements to more employees.
Instead, the fix turned into a bigger problem. This is because the company was using technology to cover up the employee communication issue. The better option would be to own the problem, understand it, and then solve it in a Human-Centered Design fashion: from the inside out.
Technology without HCD thinking is just an amplifier. It either exaggerates the good side or the bad side of a scenario.
This means, if you apply technology when there’s a problem without thinking through the human implications, you’re likely to exaggerate the problem instead of solving it.
The next time you’re faced with a business challenge, don’t run to the medicine cabinet and pull out the technology band-aid. Instead, be human-centered.
Accept you have a problem, understand that problem and the human needs surrounding it. Then, decide on a solution that serves the humans your business is trying to help, and that creates the value you want your technology to amplify.
Said another way, find solutions that last. After all, a band-aid only stays on so long.