The last two decades have seen a continual evolution in the level of technology we use in everyday life. Gone are the days of corded phones, here are the times of Apple Watches that do everything from manage your email, field your calls, and monitor your health and fitness.
With the constantly changing face of technology we are perpetually reevaluating the world, the way we think about it, and how we interact with it. And the world of business is not immune to this change. Technology has changed everything from science to medical research, travel, and more. The processes we use to conceptualise ideas, design our business strategies, and develop our products and services is accelerating and expanding at a breakneck pace.
But what does this mean for businesses? Technology is only going to continue to evolve, and we have no choice but embrace it. Rather than seeing it as a hindrance to business, that takes the heart and humanity out of your work and brand, we can embrace the change, hold on to our human interactions, and continue to run businesses with people at their heart.
We caught up with Jason Stockwood, author of Reboot: A Blueprint For Happy, Human Business In The Digital Age, and it got us thinking. What does the rise of technology really mean for businesses?
Modern businesses have the capacity to design an object, upload it in seconds, send it halfway around the world to an expert who will manufacture it on their iPhone while they’re waiting for a red eye home. Their enhancements are pinged back to the team who within minutes have uploaded them and have a new prototype printing on a 3D printer.
And this is just one example of the way technology has revolutionised the workplace. Remote working, wireless technology, and the sheer connectivity and sophistication of the modern world has forever changed the way we do business.
For every expanding and developing form of technology there’s a growing industry specialising in its construction. There’s a workforce adapting to serve the needs of every form of innovation. A workforce that itself is continually evolving to take advantage of and manage the ever-increasing technological nature of business.
Even simple products now come with a plethora of technological advancements, from sensors and LED lighting, to Artificial Intelligence and remote functionality. The consumer market has responded to this shift by demanding and expecting an increasingly sophisticated level of technical excellence from all aspects of life.
It’s no longer enough to have a great product or service, you need that offering to be bang up-to-date in a climate that is constantly changing. More and more of our processes are automated, technologically driven, or run entirely by AI as a result, and it leaves us with a question:
What place does the human workforce occupy in the technology-driven landscape of the future?
In order to remain competitive in this global digital tsunami, all businesses need to be willing and able to continually evolve their methods, expand their horizons, and update their people and practices.
Businesses are increasingly having to broaden their scope, rethink their products and services, and hire new specialists in fields they’ve never previously needed to cover. This has led to an expanded view of the marketplace, and the need to search for solutions well beyond the usual wheelhouse of a business’ industry. Many of these areas are not only new to the company, but simply new – areas of technology that didn’t exist even a decade ago.
The exploration of new technologies is a daunting prospect. It causes practical concerns, in that new tech requires people trained in its use, and the training of existing staff to bring them up to speed. But beyond that there is a much more human concern, in that the more advanced technology becomes the more it is capable of performing tasks that were previously the province of employees.
Jobs are being replaced by machines, and with the advent of increasingly sophisticated AI technologies, this shift from man to machine is only going to become more pronounced.
Many existing employees worry that adopting new technologies threatens their roles and futures within a company, and often resist the change as a result. CEOs, manager and directors are reluctant to roll in the tech that’s needed to remain relevant and compete. Employees grow nervous of using it, either because they fear it will ultimately replace them, or because they fear they don’t have the requisite skills and aptitude to learn.
With the pundits predicting that the rapid rise of automation and Artificial Intelligence will decimate entire industries, it’s hardly surprising people are worried. Technology has the potential to cut costs for bankers and bosses alike, allowing them to reduce their staff and boost their profits.
Yet the rise of technology doesn’t need to require the fall of human-centred business.
Technological innovation does not need to replace teams. Instead, it can empower them, enrich their lives, make them happier, healthier, more productive, and fuel their creativity.
Jason Stockwood, Vice President at Simply Business, has been pioneering a four-day week in a fresh approach to demonstrating that even in this technologically drive age, businesses can still put their people first. Technology should be working for the enrichment of teams, not to their detriment.
An inspiring, honest, accessible and surprisingly deep read from a man named by the Sunday Times as the UK’s best leader, Reboot is a powerful read regardless of the size of your business or your position within it.
As Vice President at Simply Business, Jason Stockwood has twice led the company to claim The Sunday Times’ title of best company to work for, and it’s easy to see why. As the leading B2B insurance broker in the UK, and one of the Tech Track 100 for fastest-growing tech companies, Simply Business is pioneering a different way of embracing the rising tides of digital trends. Jason’s blueprint is designed to ensure people aren’t swept away, but instead face the challenges and changes with enthusiasm, zeal, and a positive attitude that fully embraces the technological revolution.
My first book – Reboot – is out now – a blueprint for happy, human business in the digital age: https://t.co/ddFzf9ly42
— Jason Stockwood (@jstockwood) September 26, 2018