Breakthroughs succeed each other rapidly. Large innovative companies have technological conveniences at the disposal of both customers and employees. Current jobs are increasingly dependent on model and process digitalization, and professionals are increasingly better trained on it. How can corporate philosophy utilize technology to promote a global sense of well-being?
What Marty McFly got right (and wrong)
“Back to the future” is one of those movies that we now watch with a mixture of nostalgia and disbelief. How could they think back in 1985 that we’d have flying cars nowadays? But this piece of fiction hit the nail on other aspects of our reality.
The first thing that stands out is the number of technological foresights that we have applied into professional environments. Video-conferences help connecting teams all over the world, with large screens divided in different channels. And voice control technology will soon be a reality in both personal and professional realms.
But there’s more. Changing even the tiniest thing during a trip to the past could trigger an uncontrollable butterfly effect. A principle that leading innovative companies know well. Real-time work is the only option to monitor all the ever-changing variables, so as to avoid detrimental effects on the long term —even more so in digital environments. Does this mean that we must be constantly on the lookout?
The switch on the off position, also in real life
The majority of devices that we use in our daily life come with a lock button or mute function. This facilitates them to stop doing their job, to shut the connection between people and digital. But we don´t come with a lock button, and it’s tempting —almost addictive— to check if we have mail or if there’s anything new on social media.
Younger generations were born connected. That’s why learning how to switch off is much harder for them, also within work environments. Those coming after won’t have it easier: according to a study by Commons Sense Media, 50% of teenagers spend over five hours with their smartphone, and half of them report depressive or isolation feelings.
It’s time for the most innovative companies to become I+D+i educators. Knowing how to use these tools to the benefit of a job position won’t suffice anymore; we must learn to use them to the benefit of the environment, professionals’ mental health and both business and personal development.
Innovative companies against technological dependence
In Silicon Valley, big names like Facebook, Google and Apple are the main developers of digital transformation and collaborative tools, and they want to advocate for proper use of technology.
For that to happen, they have sociologists and philosophers among their ranks. This serves a clear double purpose: contributing to the development of Artificial Intelligence, and providing their expertise to facilitate our coexistence with this technology. Relying on humanist professionals improves knowledge regarding the relationship and response of individuals before any digital innovation.
Former employees ask for a change
Tristan Harris from Google, Lynn Fox from Google and Apple, Justin Rosenstein from Facebook… the list of members of the “Center for Humane Technology” is full of relevant professionals who collaborated with the most techie companies in the world.
Their vision has changed now, though. They want a world where technology supports wellness and common sense in order to confront high-complexity global challenges —a realignment of technology and humanity. A picture is worth a thousand words, so Tristan Harris will explain it to you in the following TED Talk.
The experiment for the balance-technology alliance
In 2016, Phyllis Moen and Erin Kelly, professors at the University of Minnesota and MIT respectively, suggested a social experiment to an anonymous corporation they referred to as TOMO. It consisted on giving half of the technology department staff freedom of schedule and working place. All of them were connected through collaborative tools.
The interesting thing about this experiment was the actual use of technology in it. Constant communication, available input for everyone… and active listening. Managers received iPods that reminded them twice a day to think about the support they provide to their employees, how they meet their needs and expectations both at the workplace and home, and how to convey all these thoughts to them.
Technology is a strong ally of corporate philosophy within innovative corporations, provided that it reflects the responsibility they have towards their employees and respects the work-life balance every professional seeks. The consequences of abuse (or misuse) may result in the complete opposite. Does it have an influence? Of course, and it’s the organization’s duty to choose in what way.