As Denmark is in virtually total lockdown it is quite interesting to observe how people and businesses scramble to deal with a totally new situation.
On the business side those that can are ordered to work from home. While many are used to having this form of working as part of their everyday job, for others it will be a new exercise. But equally important this will stress test both software systems and the IT setups of various companies. There is a huge difference between being able to offer the odd VPN connection and then basing the operation of your business around it. Some will notice that they have been asleep at the wheel and not got the right solution in place. Those will suffer the consequences.
Furthermore, on the business side, it is interesting to observe the effect the lockdown has on the gig economy, whether it is blue collar or white collar. While you could always assume that a lockdown would essentially kill the opportunities for blue collar workers, it is fascinating to watch how quick highly sought after white collar consultants loose close to 100% in value and have gigs cancelled on them. What does that say about the value of their offerings? Anyways, we must hope they have put a little aside during good times to cope with the situation.
Finally, on a more personal front it is frightening to observe our lack of adherence to authorities. In these times where SoMe has made everyone an expert on everything (or so it seems), this expertise doesn’t rime at all with the requirements of a real emergency. The ‘me-me-me’ attitude helped along by ‘see me-see me’ platforms such as Instagram doesn’t help much either. We make the mistake of thinking that we can transfer our behaviors from behind a screen out to behavior in real life. Normally, it wouldn’t mean a lot – it would just be stupid or even hurtful. Now, trying that can literally end up killing somebody. Think about that.
Having worked with technology and product development for close to 20 years, I have never considered myself someone who was fascinated by technology for technologys own sake. Rather I have been – and continue to be – fascinated by what kind of problems technology can help solve.
Case in point: New search seems to indicate that in a not too distant future, Amazons Alexa can predict a lot of cases of cardiac arrests by listening in on your breathing patterns potentially saving thousands of lives in the process by triggering an emergency call and making sure that help arrives in time.
It is a huge win, if it somes to market. Of course there are all the usual caveats about privacy, surveillance and such, but if the promise is that a device can potentially save your life, is that a tradeoff you as a customer is willing to make? My bet is that it will be for a lot of people. Because this kind of appliance of technology truly matters in the deepest most personal sense of the word.
Should the person who comes up with an idea also be the one who straight out of the blocks evaluate its desirability, feasibility and viability? Probably not due to the obvious risk of bias. It is also why we have some tools for ideation and another set of tools for assessment and validation.
The really funny thing about the article in Harvard Business Review though is the finding that companies tend to put an excess value on ‘ideas’ presented by the upper tiers in the organization, while ideas from the floor tend to be oversold and thus often not really gets taken under consideration. It is actually thought provoking when you think a bit about it.
It seems like a big potential loss. Experience shows that the closer people get to the problem through their day-to-day jobs, the more valuable ideas for improvements they come up with. Somebody in upper management should apply their sales skills to help the people downstream sell their valuable ideas the right way.