Innovation in technology is rarer than you’d think. What is the mark of ‘good’ technology? Technology that endures, inspires and enriches?
It can be easy to instantly jump to thoughts of the technologies that have resulted in fundamental paradigm change; the development of the combustion engine, the lightbulb, the first personal computer, the internet, revolutionary, and of course, the mobile phone.
But paradigm change – whilst vital for societal progress – is not necessarily the hallmark of what constitutes good technology. Innovation is often seen as the core component of success, but in the field of technology, true innovation – revolutionary, paradigm changing innovation – comes along fairly infrequently. It is instead the incremental evolutions and improvements that put much of what we consider ‘good’ in the hands of the average user.
Take for example the internet. Its conception was undoubtedly remarkable. Revolutionary. But at that initial point – when the message ‘LOGIN’ was sent from UCLA to Stamford - to the average user, the internet carried very little value. None, really. It was inaccessible. Unusable.
It is only through the various tech companies that have applied themselves to its evolution that the internet became something that the average user could make meaningful use of (though whether we can classify the internet as something good that inspires and enriches is, of course, up for debate). None-the-less, the core point still stands: innovation may be an important starting point, but it is both its expansion and refinement that gives us something of value.
And for these technologies to succeed, that refinement generally needs to focus on one point more than any other: alignment with human psychology.
On every level, the value of a technology needs to tie in with an essential humanity; it needs to serve a fundamental human need or desire, and it needs to work in a way that is in tune with human psychology and instinct. At the heart of all those 1s and 0s ultimately lies an actual, beating heart.
Companies In Tech Might Forget The Human Dimension
The best illustration of the truth of this statement – that it is human psychology which lies at the heart of good technology – is perhaps an example of times when it has gone terribly wrong. How many applications or websites have you quit simply because of the utter frustration involved in trying to use them?
It’s interesting to find that actually, some of the biggest names in technology are the ones who are responsible for some of the most egregious failures. Perhaps simply because they have the budgets to make mistakes. A quick trawl of the internet throws up a number of gems.
Keeping It Human All The Way Along The Chain
So if you are going to pay that much attention to ensuring that the fundamental nature of your technology – the underpinning psychology of its purpose, its GUI, the UX – is all aligned with human psychology, why in the world would you let your marketing and communications revert to a world of technobabble and sterile detail?
Communications and sales need to focus on benefits. Sure, it might be important to explain how that benefit is achieved, but fundamentally customers need to know what human need is being met with your technology; how their customers are going to benefit, how that will give their business the competitive advantage they’re seeking, and how this is all going to result in increased bottom line profits.
And returning to one of the points made at the outset; a lot of the market space in the technology realm is not seeking to achieve sales on the basis of revolutionary innovation. Instead, it’s seeking to win market share on the base of differentiation; small improvements to the nature of the product that make them better for the user. Sometimes these small improvements read pretty insignificantly when listed as technical details – but when put into a proper context through effective communications, their true meaning comes to life.
Entrepreneur with long experience in international technology-driven markets and avid researcher in the digital realm. Communications strategist, marketing and international PR specialist with sales skills and intercultural competences. A natural networker who enjoys building teams, growing businesses and creating new opportunities. A visionary partner in business expansion and start-ups coaching.