Technology has been used for decades (and arguably with more than a little success) to make humans and human processes more efficient. But in Radically Human two Accenture technology leaders explain how they see the greatest opportunities are in the ways humans can bring humanity to technology. We aren’t technology specialists at LIW, but we are people specialists and our vision of the future closely aligns with this perspective.
Human technology at the heart of competition
The authors believe that new human technologies like emotional AI, flexible data analytics, cloud-based living IT systems, top-down human intelligence and strategies driven by continuous experimentation will become the basis of competition among organisations and define their success. The organisations that succeed will be the ones who can attract staff and who are committed to unlocking their full potential by harnessing these human technologies.
We agree with Accenture that successful businesses will build trust among employees by creating a culture of humanity, fairness, transparency, privacy and security. Design will be core to these businesses’ success – with human centred design delivering experiences that enable fun, personal growth and connect people with a wider purpose. These changes will be underpinned by a commitment to sustainability leveraging technology to enable them to shrink their carbon footprint.
We also see that this about-turn in technology becoming more human could allay employee fears about technology changing or eliminating their job – a common concern in recent years. In fact, it might even lead to stronger, deeper employee engagement as employees see opportunities to bring their humanity to technology and customer solutions.
To support their view, the authors provide examples of how technology is becoming more human in five dimensions of strategy and innovation: intelligence, data, expertise, architecture and strategy (IDEAS)
Intelligence: Applications and machines are increasingly being built with human characteristics of awareness and adaptability, and we’re even seeing now emotional AI, and these developments are creating more intelligent solutions to complex problems.
Data: Big data enabled huge analysis and insights but also required massive infrastructure which was out of reach for many organisations. New, flexible data analytics approaches are cheaper and more agile and still bring powerful insights to organisations without requiring huge investments.
Expertise: bottom-up machine intelligence is being replaced by top-down natural human intelligence, enabling organisations to unleash untapped intelligence throughout the workforce.
Architecture: the conventional IT ‘stack’ is being replaced by living systems which are boundaryless, cloud-based and infinitely adaptable meet changing business needs.
Strategy: Organisations are replacing legacy 3-year strategic planning with emergent strategies and continuous experimentation. Products that can be remotely upgraded, such as cars, enable updates to functionality post-sale to drive customer value.
How leaders can harness human technology
Leaders will have to be open to learning and experimentation so that they can bring humanity from every part of the organisation into their strategies and their plans. It’s essential that leadership defines the vision to harness these technology opportunities so that they can strengthen employee engagement and connection, and drive business performance.
We predict that teams of teams (ToT) will emerge as the predominant organisational model for driving performance in the face of increasingly complex challenges. It’s a way of working that’s underpinned by a climate of trust and psychological safety and offers organisations the best way to push decision-making, accountability and action to teams across the business – all connected and aligned to a clear shared vision and purpose.
This is an exciting and optimistic vision of technology in the future, and crucially, it’s a vision that’s accessible to organisations whatever their size or location.