A few years ago, Michael Schrage suggested that we ask ourselves “who do you want your customers to become?”. His question was part of a movement transforming the work we do for our customers. It was a shift from changing our products in a “faster, better, cheaper” fashion towards one helping our customers to create and have more value. It was also a shift in the way we changed and adapted our products. Instead of staying in a world of ideas the customers could think of, we moved into a world in which our innovations shifted the customer’s ability to create value. The connection economy helped us to create new ways to experience and deliver services. It’s changing the way we find a parking space just as well as the way we travel or handle our bookkeeping. The technology appearing is transforming the way we do business. It changes how we collaborate with others, integrate new types of resources or interact with customers.
This progress makes life more convenient for a lot of us. We can expand our reach may it as travelers or with relationships across the world. We benefit from the ease of services available under almost any circumstance as long as we have our smartphone with us. We have learned to see our impact through social media or the ease of connection.
An interesting detail of this constant connection is the way in which our connection with technology shifts. It becomes the go-to solution for more and more questions we ask ourselves or needs we have.
While I believe that this process will continue and is part of the solution we have to continue to create wealth and safety, I also believe that we need to ask ourselves “who do we want to become?”. What do I want to have or what do I want to do in life don’t seem to answer the right questions anymore.
As our economy continues to transform, it is our task to investigate how it impacts our lives and how it transforms who we can be. In the past, it might have been enough to decide what type of job we want to take up based and do it based on our expectations. Today we have to look further, we have to anticipate changes in our culture and the technology we’ll be surrounded with.
It makes not much sense to resist all the advance in technology. What we need to do is pay attention to how much we let this technology shape us as human beings.
The rise in opportunities to be connected seems to reduce our ability to reflect and step back to develop our own answers to our needs and questions.
The rise in need for mindfulness, time management, self-awareness or productivity shows how much technology already transformed our ability to deal with our own personality and our own sense of being.
Can you step back and reflect?