My Technology Perspective:
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved technology. I attribute this significantly to my father, who has spent the greater part of his life using technology to do “transformative stuff”, whether it be founding a new Bluetooth start up in the Y2K era to serving with the Obama Administration as the Chief Information Officer for the US Department of Transportation. Watching him use technology to fundamentally transform ideas into results inspired me and cemented my love for technology.
Now that I am studying Computer Science at McGill, I am privileged to meet amazing people and witness them use technology to change the world. I am also fortunate to be the “Technology Evangelist” for GOVonomy, a Silicon Valley firm that connects disruptive technologies from top startups to solve recurring problems at the world’s largest customer the US Federal Government. The combination of this has entirely changed my perspective on technology and its profound role in society. Technology is no longer an accessory — it’s a necessity. In the past if your organization wanted to flourish, you needed technology. Today, if you don’t use technology you will probably fail. Technology is no longer just an efficiency booster — it is a transformer.
Disrupting the Globe!
Eighteen years ago, my parents had all the time to spend with me as connecting to office after work from home was difficult, if not impossible. Now, they are connected 24 X 7 with the office through cell phones, emails and videoconferencing. In the future we may be in immersive workplace connected through virtual reality.
Uber is the largest taxi and limo service in the world, yet physically owns no cars. AirBnB is the world’s largest hotel chain, yet has no hotels. AliBaba is the world’s largest marketplace, but has no warehouses. (Goodwin) The freight and trucking industry is on the verge of a renaissance with the introduction of automated-driverless vehicles. Technology is introducing new efficiencies that are fundamentally disrupting entire industries.
On the global front, technology can inspire revolution! The recent ‘Arab Spring’ was largely orchestrated through the use of social media. Whether it be Facebook or Twitter, social media is challenging our previously held assumptions on how ideas and information are formulated, spread and accepted. Technology is now a global change agent.
Vectors of Differentiation:
To differentiate your organization and truly be innovative, you need to integrate, implement, and use emerging technologies. Emerging technologies represent the cutting edge of what is possible. Typically, these types of technologies are found in high growth start-ups around the world. Through my work at GOVonomy, I have been exposed to some of these amazing companies and am completely dumfounded at what is technically possible. For example, how about a company that creates “sensor” socks (you read right – socks) that can get the full biometric data of the wearer through sensors. Or, a spend analytics platform that helped the federal government of Scotland save $1.9 billion. The list goes on and on. Integrating and using emerging technologies is the best differentiator for an organization.
Here’s my take. Innovation is a word thrown around a lot these days. All organizations want to be “innovative” or “ahead of the curve”, but are they actually innovating? Maybe. In today’s age, innovation starts with cutting edge technology. It’s easy to say that organizations should implement and integrate cutting edge technologies. However, in reality, most organizations are bureaucratic, reactionary, and take a disjointed approach to innovation and technology. The current model encourages organizations to take a brute force approach to innovation, throwing time, money, and resources to “innovative” projects without any actual underlying strategy. So how do we fix this problem? One step at a time, starting with students — like us — who will need to utilize technological innovation to drive “transformation” throughout the world.
By: Rohan Pradhan
Goodwin, Tom. “The Battle Is For The Customer Interface.” TechCrunch. N.p., 3 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015.