Now, only two days after I recommend holding off on adopting new technologies until a need is demonstrated, I give you a warning that might seem contradictory: don’t fear new technology.
A recent article in Slate discusses historical fear of new technology. Consider this quote:
A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. In a landmark book, he described how the modern world overwhelmed people with data and that this overabundance was both “confusing and harmful” to the mind. The media now echo his concerns with reports on the unprecedented risks of living in an “always on” digital environment. It’s worth noting that Gessner, for his part, never once used e-mail and was completely ignorant about computers. That’s not because he was a technophobe but because he died in 1565.
New technology itself should not be feared; only the implications of implementing that technology blindly. There’s a big difference between 1) clinging onto your training program because it worked ten years ago and 2) choosing to stay with your training program because you conducted a needs analysis, identified no technology that would do the job any better, and decide not to change anything because it’s the right decision for your business.
So the message is really the same as last time: don’t jump in blindly, but also don’t fear the unknown. The trick is to stay familiar with new technologies such that you are aware of what they offer in case you need them while still maintaining a level head when making implementation decisions.
There’s unfortunately no magic bullet to any organizational problem, and the sooner you realize that, the better off your business will be.