Tech Should Enable Change, Not Drive It

By Matt Dallisson, 22/10/2020

Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

The world is changing in rapid, unprecedented ways, but one thing remains certain: as businesses look to embed lessons learned in recent months and to build enterprise resilience for the future, they are due for even more transformation. As such, most organizations are voraciously evaluating existing and future technologies to see if they’ll be able to deliver the innovation at scale that they’ll need to survive and thrive. However, technology should not be central to these transformation efforts; people should.

If the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us one thing, it’s that people aren’t anonymous elements of a large organization’s many layers. People are the organization — its most important and powerful asset. The pandemic, while undoubtedly an enormous global crisis, also serves as a live demonstration of how human ingenuity, resourcefulness, and diversity of experience — combined with the technological tools of the day — can create solutions, ideas, and business models for the future, solving problems at scale and changing industries overnight.

The smartest, most nimble, and most innovative enterprises will be Human Enterprises where “business transformation” is in fact people-led transformation aided by technology: where humans sit at the center, ensuring that technology and innovation meet genuine needs. In this way, a Human Enterprise drives both short-term and long-term value for the organization and individuals within it, as well as across the wider business ecosystem for all stakeholders along the company’s value chain. As the front line of any organization, humans must be the ones driving the technology, assessing the value of the technologies being introduced and deployed to ensure long-term success and effective change.

Examining the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Companies that place humans at the center — while leveraging technology at speed and enabling innovation at scale — accelerate the value they create in the long-term, while making strides to reframe and thrive in the future. So, how do you build a Human Enterprise? There are four critical approaches:

Ultimately, the benchmark for successful technology comes down to whether it’s helping the humans in an organization do what they need to do. Businesses that want to continue to deliver value and help ensure enterprise resiliency in this time of rapid change should aim to become Human Enterprises — putting humans and their needs at the center of their strategies, values, processes, and operations, with technology serving as an enabler rather than a driver of change.

There’s an iconic scene in the classic movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, where one of its characters, the HAL 9000 computer, comes to its own decisions that conflict with astronauts on a mission. It’s a powerful and eerie image of humanity being overwhelmed by technology. In today’s landscape of rapidly evolving mass automation, shifting consumer expectations, regulatory pressures, and the continual threat of disruption from new tech-driven competitors and business models, the technology has changed, but the anxiety remains the same. As the world becomes more tech-centric by the minute, humans must drive change and direct technological investment and adoption.

Both the Covid-19 crisis and the global response to societal inequities and injustice have shown that focusing on people and their needs — both within the organization and externally — can help to ensure that companies are making it a top priority to consider the potential impact of business decisions on all stakeholders. A Human Enterprise recognizes that transformation is a constant evolution, not a fixed destination. Just as business leaders today need to keep an eye on what’s coming, even as they battle today’s challenges, a Human Enterprise keeps adapting without being held back by legacy technologies, systems, and processes.


This content was originally published here.