Who in Your Business is Wearing the Apple Watch?
I bought an Apple watch. I don’t need it, I couldn’t really afford it and I certainly couldn’t justify the purchase to my wife. It made no economic sense and it made very little practical sense. Let me tell you why I had to have it anyway.
If there’s one phrase I’ve heard almost every day of my working life from people, it’s “Sorry, I’m not tech savvy”. It’s such a dangerous phrase without even knowing it. It’s a throwaway line we use to distance ourselves from owning our technology responsibility and taking charge of how technology fits into our future. Rather than try to understand “techy stuff”, we bury our head in the sand and are happy to let someone else deal with it.
We’re not being negative, we’re protecting ourselves from feeling out of our depth. The problem is, this defeatist attitude only does one thing, especially in our businesses. It creates a culture of technology short sightedness.
Technology short sightedness describes a business that may have the desire to innovate and embrace emerging tech but doesn’t create space and opportunity to actually see this realised. Tools to make them more efficient, reduce cost, increase staff engagement, better customer experience; just pass on by without so much as a raised eyebrow.
There’s no time or resources given to explore trends or customer tech demand. There’s no budget to try new things. There’s no-one in the business equipped with the lens to see the technology landscape clearly. Let me put it this way: no-one’s wearing the Apple watch.
Start by opening your eyes
While my watch was unlikely to change my life, it has completely opened up my eyes to the wave of innovation happening with mobile payments and wearable technology. I look for ways I can use it everywhere I look for ways it could be used in the future. How will wearable technology change customer behaviour in the hospitality industry I’m in? Will no one have cash or credit cards anymore? No more membership or loyalty cards? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, I’m now looking.
Work out who holds the lens
Creating a culture of exploration is really important but we may not be able to do it on our own. Who in your business can you trust to look at your business through a technology filter? Once you have them, give them time, give them space and give them a budget. Most of all, be risk tolerant. Allow for trials and failures to be a springboard for the things that ultimately take your business to new heights.
Redefine the expense
It’s easy to dismiss costs associated with new technology exploration as an unnecessary operating expense (OpEX) or if it qualifies, a capital expense (CapEX). Let’s just assume for a minute that you believe that these are costs are essential. Let’s look at them in an entirely new light. Many businesses around the world are working on strategy with a method called ‘Balanced Scorecard’.
I’ll leave any explanations or definitions to the finance and strategic planning gurus however, one of the concepts I love in this method is the creation of a new type of expense: Strategic Expense (StratEX). StratEX creates a brand new line in the budget to identify and separate expenses relating to business growth or change that will give benefit long after this financial year.
Granted, this line on the budget doesn’t change the financial reports or the fact that these costs still have to come out of your bank account but it does something critically important in your mind. It redefines the expense as a strategic investment for the long term.
Our businesses are varied and technology innovation will look different for all of us. What trends are you looking for? How can your customer experience be better? What can technology do for you to create competitive advantage? Who in your business is wearing the Apple Watch?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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