The great opportunity offered by technology is also the biggest challenge.
This conundrum was beautifully illustrated in a recent article by Rhiannon Williams in the Telegraph. The article reported a speech delivered to the city by Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy.
Mr Lynch was quoted as saying “I had a friend who always used to say the same thing to me if we’d gone into a meeting and someone hadn’t got it, or if they were being difficult and we’d had to explain to them why we were great because they just didn’t get it. I used to come out and say ‘God, that was terrible, they didn’t understand’. And he’d turn to me and say, ‘That’s where our opportunity is, that’s why we have opportunity.'”
The big opportunity offered by a technology comes in the potentially limitless business benefits that it could provide. The big challenge comes in communicating this potential to an audience that is not encouraged to use its imagination and has little perception outside the boundaries of what it knows. Henry Ford summed this up perfectly with his well-used quote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
If we want to embrace the opportunities offered by technology, we must help find time for the exploration of new ideas. Business leaders need to encourage their teams to question the mediocre, never to assume that an inventive idea can’t be delivered. At the moment, too much time and effort is spent maintaining the status-quo and staff are too busy to explore new concepts. In fact, we can all become too focused on the daily fight, making us blind to the better solution already on offer:
For customers to benefit from the best experience that technology can offer, two things need to happen. First, business needs the passion to always push boundaries and explore better options. Second, technology companies need to get better at communicating what can be done. Our challenge at Total Systems is to ensure that we do not leave any meeting with potential customers feeling that “they just didn’t get it.”