Here are a few examples of how technology has changed our lives. I’m sure you can think of many more.
Technology has freed us from the requirement to be at a certain place at a certain time.
I don’t have to go to the bank when it is open to deposit a check (smartphone); ATM’s let me withdraw cash anywhere in the world, 24/7; loan application forms are available on-line and can be filled out and submitted without my going to a branch.
TV shows, movies, concerts, and more are available on-demand to watch on computers, TVs, tablets, and smartphones.
Jobs that are information-based can be performed from anywhere. Filing cabinets are now digital and in the cloud. Years were removed from the process of engineering a new car model when technology allowed engineers to pass their work on to colleagues in the next time zone. By the time an engineer got back to work, colleagues added two days worth of progress on the car.
Technology safely does tasks that can be harmful to people, does them more consistently, and, in the long run, does them cheaper.
In auto assembly plants, the number one spot for injuries covered by worker’s compensation insurance was where the spare tire goes into the trunk. A robot that did the job paid for itself in 16 months, with no injury insurance claims and continues to work.
In 1985, at the newly built Ford-Mazda plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, a machine the size of a house produced its own stampings, just-in-time. This computerized, robotic machine did the work of thousands of people.
Technology has improved our health.
We can swallow a camera that sends images of our entire digestive system as it travels from mouth to evacuation.
Robotic tools allow for surgeries that are less invasive, reducing risk of infections and shortening recovery time.
Technology lets us communicate with more people and interact with more information.
We download books, magazines, and all kinds of media without going to a library or book store.
Search engines drive information to us based on information we previously accessed.
We can talk and see people anywhere, anytime, on our smartphones.
It is overwhelming to consider the technology available to us in our personal lives, in business, and in organization management. Deciding which technology to adopt is daunting. Here are some steps that apply to personal and organizational decision-making that will help with the adaptation process.
Define the need. In today’s world, there are solutions to problems we did not know we had (see the story of my granddaughter and Alexa in my Five Generations post). We hear about apps, tools, gadgets, etc. from others and wonder if we should acquire them. First, decide the need. I make sure to ask myself, “What do I need?” “What will help make my life easier or save money or provide entertainment?” In businesses and non-profits the questions might be: will this increase productivity, reduce costs, reduce employee turnover, etc...
Research Options. Technology can actually help us with this joy. I haven’t purchased an item or downloaded an app recently without checking with others either in person or online, or both. Helpful Hint - There is no reason to use technology just because it is available. Do I need an electric broom or can my old-fashioned bristle broom with the long handle and a dust pan do the job? It’s OK to get books from the library and not buy a Kindle (although my library lets me borrow e-books from them).
Acquire. Technology has changed the process of purchasing, to include downloading, trading, whatever comes next.
Learn how to use it. This is often the most challenging step. More on this in the last post on Lifelong Learning.
Sometimes we need help making a decision in the life we didn’t expect.
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