I have always been a “technology aficionado.” I am fascinated by the bells and whistles of new technology and applications of all sorts. Why? I believe that technology helps us tap the true potential of people. Look no further than the speed of communication and the ability to rapidly aggregate, organize and make sense of vast amounts of information in mere minutes; This is empowering stuff!
At first glance, technology offers us a great deal of hope. Mobile devices provide flexibility. Social networks build relationships. And clever gadgets bring us entertainment and connection to loved ones whenever we want it. However, a more careful review of technology in the context of our goals raises some serious questions.
Is increased connectivity getting in the way of our productivity?
Is the efficiency of social networking reducing the strength of relationships?
Does a more mobile, distributed workforce result in a less intact and unified team?
Suffice to say, there is a new swath of modern day challenges that accompany the latest technology. As we embrace innovation we must also identify the consequences. Upon doing so, we can modify how we use technology and make it better.
New technology, like all innovations, must be optimized in order to gain widespread adoption and have a lasting impact. Optimization, it turns out, is not just about tweaking and improving the technology. The other side of optimization is about improving how we use it and integrate it into our lives. It is this other side of optimization that “technology aficionados” like me are liable to miss. As we upgrade our mobile devices, sign up for new applications, and adopt the latest and greatest ways to get wired (or wireless), we often fail to evaluate and optimize in the context of our greater goals.
The most important question of all: “Is new technology helping us make more of an impact in what matters most to us?”
With this question in mind, I will be accompanying a group of leaders who work with American Express’s Open Forum on a trip to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
I will be writing about some of the new innovations I see and how they relate to the modern challenges we face in work and life. I want to better understand these challenges and examine possible solutions. Maybe we need to develop a new “21st Century Discipline” for ourselves in order to use technology responsibly? Perhaps the creators of the latest innovations will adjust the technology to address the modern challenges we face? Maybe the power of design will come to the rescue?
Regardless of the solution, I don’t think the answer is to run away from it. Innovation is exciting. So long as we are thoughtful about how we adopt change, our objectives will benefit.
While at CES, I will be spending some time speaking with entrepreneurs and small business owners about these topics at the American Express booth. I will be especially interested in what challenges are being solved by technology and which new challenges are being created. As I prepare for the trip, I invite you to share your high hopes and concerns around the latest technology that affects the way we live and work.
Looking for more on the trends and innovations that could impact your business? Visit openforum.com/ces.
Have a question you want Scott Belsky to answer or a suggestion for what to look for at CES? You can share comments on this post or reach out to Scott Belsky on Twitter (@scottbelsky) or Facebook (facebook.com/MeetScott). Scott Belsky is the Founder and CEO of Behance and author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen.