The other day I found an old analog camera and I started to take pictures of my children. Immediately, my oldest daughter asked me to see the outcome... When I told her this wasn't possible as I had to take the film to a store “to get the photos out of the camera”, she was astonished and could not understand who she couldn't see the photos right away. She had not even seen a film before and didn't know what I was talking about.
She is not the only one who is incredulous at the mention of those seemingly prehistoric objects. When I started at Meta4 - 15 years ago, one of my managers always started his presales speeches talking about the evolution of technology. From punchcards, mainfraime, client–server to the World Wide Web. “Do you remember when many if not most computer programmers created, edited and stored their programs line by line on punched cards? He used to ask.
As much as I wanted to know how those curious cards worked, I never really understood what he was talking about, and to be honest, I never really cared. For what reason should I? There was already something much more advanced when I started my professional career. Something that was more productive and usable. Since then, things have changed a lot and now I find myself trying to explain to the newer generations that back then I couldn't do a remote demo, I had to travel to the client’s office to demonstrate the products capabilities. Obviously this did not help when it came to multinational clients. Today an internet connection is enough, saving time and money, and I would find it difficult to explain to the younger consultants of the company, what life was like without web conferencing tools, web e-mail communication or social networks.
The change for HR departments has also been astonishing. Back then in many businesses self-service was just at its initial state, when asking for holidays, still was a paper based process and you were given a printed payslip at the end of the month. Today, everything is automated: you can manage absences, view your remaining entitlement and bank holidays or review and approve pending tasks from anywhere in the world via your mobile device. Not to mention when you are searching for a job, recruitment has gone a long way: where have those orange “job offer” pages in a Newspaper gone? Now everything is done online with the information available in social networks and directly integrated into the HCM application.
Evidently, the Social – Web born generations have not known the process that has taken place to get to where we are today, and it will be hard for them to understand when we refer to a cassette a floppy disk or a diskette… and won’t care.
Nobody will accept more complexity. This is the reason why for the innovation processes it is so important not to be tied to the past. In the technology sectors and in our business, the real evolutionary and creative capacity can only happen if we make an effort to forget what we knew and always develop things from the perspective of the latest generation, or thinking about the next one. Then we will be one step ahead of the market.
Let's not put ourselves barriers based on what we know today and we know is safe, the future of intelligent technology will go far beyond mobility, Big Data or Cloud Computing. To innovate we must have the perspective of our children in mind. This video shared some time ago in YouTube may give you some food for thought. Enjoy what the technology can do for us!