What is the purpose of technology? Some would say it’s to help humans solve problems with less effort.
One example is the personal computer (PC). This piece of technology was invented to help people easily create, store, and access information.
Another example is the internet, which was devised to allow people to more easily (and widely) share information.
In this vein, businesses are constantly developing new technologies to help customers solve their real-world problems, and to make a profit from this exchange of value.
In our experience, technologies that have been unsuccessful tend to have one thing in common:
They don’t serve humans.
Find the Balance
On the surface, every piece of tech purportedly serves humans, but more often than not tech wastes our time, resources, even as it entertains and connects.
So where is this balance?
When technologies miss this key theme, not only do they NOT help humans more easily solve problems, they actually cause more human problems.
Consider this example.
An insurance company realizes they need a better way to share announcements with their 5000+ employees. Their intranet is beyond out of date, and luckily enough, when they run the numbers, they see a positive ROI for purchasing an out-of-the-box, third-party intranet solution with all the latest functionality they could need.
The company spends the money and implements said solution. The result is a great-looking intranet that includes the most up-to-date messaging, editing/publishing, and author permissions features.
Six months later, employees are still not up to date on company announcements, and because the new intranet is so hard to use, even fewer employees are seeing company messages.
The company never took the time to understand WHY employees weren’t getting announcements in the first place. They didn’t ask employees how/why/when they stay up to date on company news, nor did they ask them why they weren’t using the intranet that they already had. The company just assumed that the out-of-date technology was the problem and updated technology is the answer.
They were wrong.
The lesson: Don’t be the company with the good-looking intranet that nobody uses.
Make sure the technology your business puts out serves humans.