Tech innovation is terrifying us all: Why?
During a recent conversation with a top executive in the digital stratosphere it became abundantly apparent that the digital world is causing fear among all sectors of the business world. Not just the small businesses that I’ve had most dealings with.
In this discussion with Graham Vorster, Managing Executive at Gijima we related the factors of technology adoption worldwide on a variety of levels. We soon realised our findings in our individual interactions with businesses, executives and corporations globally, were not isolated. There are 5 fear factors affecting digital adoption.
The fears are shared in their similarities even though the level of tech or digital may differ depending on where you are on the corporate rung.
Digital Fear Factors:
Fear of the Unknown
Fear of being unable to control
Fear of not being able to keep up
Fear of costly mistakes
Fear of misuse or abuse
1. Fear of the Unknown
As humans we have always suffered a fear of the unknown. Dangers lurk everywhere and in the Digital / Tech world where change is taking place by the mili-second the fear levels increase at equal speed for those expected to adopt these changes. Fear of the unknown can also be stated as a fear of change.
Change brings with it sets of circumstances & obstacles with unquantifiables that we cannot place into our current known state and way of doing things. These issues create a sense of instability, lack of confidence and trust.
Digital and Tech is becoming a black hole of change that businesses can’t cope with in their mindsets let alone adopt, drive and thrive from.
2. Fear of being unable to control
Corporate and businesses are conditioned to be in complete control of situations and circumstances. The digital world is posing constant situations where control is just not feasible or possible. Where outcomes cannot be guaranteed but where leaping in on a shoestring faith is the only way to potentially stay in the game.
This fear is stemming the agility of businesses to be ready to leap into new technology or to take advantage of the quick adoption of the tech their consumers are focused on in ‘this moment’ such as the example below:
In a recent article Karin von Funck wrote
Above all, the digital landscape is changing quickly and companies need to move at digital speed. When Pokémon Go turned into a global phenomenon, seemingly overnight, McDonald’s wasted no time monetizing the app by turning its restaurants in Japan into Pokémon Go “gyms.” When opportunity comes knocking, companies need to be ready. With the right strategy in place, incumbents can capitalize on all that digital has to offer—and shift from defense to offense.
3. Fear of not being able to keep up
The fear of not being able to maintain momentum in staying abreast of the technological advances is strangely another stop for businesses in that they literally do ‘stop’. Fear being the disabler it is, is intrinsically causing businesses to ‘wait’ to see what will be the ‘next big thing’ so as not to waste resources or make a mistake. Even though they are suffering a ‘fear of missing out’ on quantum leaps in financial reward for picking up and running with ‘the next big thing’.
The fear of not being able to keep up with the tech changes also leads to cost factors. In being a part of the leadership of adopters of new tech there is also responsibility in maintaining a steady and sure path to making it work financially. Being an early adopter has it’s benefits and pitfalls. Choosing the wrong tech to back could misfire into a financial downward spiral leaving no room for further acquisitions and further fears injected into the already overloaded system.
4. Fear of costly mistakes
As above the fear of financially drowning the business due to an early adoption of a tech that flares then fails is a huge risk. This fear sees an adoption of ‘slowly slowly… testing…testing…’ which doesn’t work in the Tech world where speed, agility and stealth are the mainstays in keeping consumer appetites for newer, better, faster, more fun tech satiated.
The contradictory forces of speed in tech and the sure steps of corporate are causing the ‘brain freeze’ in ‘which way next?’ Decisions of whether to incorporate a full digital / tech team to deal with the myriad of new tech or to outsource the inevitable minefield of crazy new ideas hitting the streets causes further conflicts. The ‘fear of missing out’ factor creeping in with outsourcing. And the contradictory Cost factor of maintaining an in-house team to diligently source, research and execute innovative tech in the hope of being a front runner.
5. Fear of misuse or abuse
The final fear is misuse or abuse of Digital and Tech on many levels. Firstly the worldwide adoption of social media as a daily digestive saw corporates putting stops on employees accessing their social profiles during working hours due to abuse of company resources and misuse of company time. This, in my opinion was one of the fundamental flaws in the corporate adoption of social media. Seeing as the majority of employees are now spending an inordinately large amount of time on the social channels it stands to reason so are the clients. Fear of misuse and abuse stopped the flow of the natural course of accessing customers through their inherent interests.
Using the power that the employees in the fold hold would automatically give the edge in intrinsic access to consumer needs, trends and even setting trends using the power of the collective of employees. Fear stopped the motion of understanding the power held within the corporate grasp. Fear stopped employees from accessing social media on company territory but didn’t stop them accessing it on their mobile phones. This removed the power from the corporate in utilising this very powerful vehicle and source of evangelists to maneuver into the focus of the consumer they are trying to reach.
The Five Fear Factors in adopting a digitally sound mindset must be overcome to gain the edge in every aspect of business. As digital and tech advances move far beyond our minimal understanding with Bots, Apps, Artificial Intelligence all reaching our humble shores ever faster , the only way forward is without fear.
Bonnie Crofford – Predictive Ideology