This week’s Economist has an article on inventor Dean Kamen that encapsulates a point that I have run across many times as an analyst. In the Collaboration and Content group, we deal with technologies that are touched by end user’s whose job is not (directly) to use the technology. For example, a system administrator authors content when writing support guides, but does not consider herself a professional author. A marketing product manager posts content on a portal, but isn’t a portal developer or administrator. Accordingly, it is always difficult to get employees who have a job to do to take the extra time and attention to use technology that is new, better, or different.
Here is what Mr. Kamen said about his history of difficulty getting obviously beneficial technology to be adopted (“Mr Segway’s difficult path”):
“Technology is easy to develop,” he says. “Developing a new attitude, moving the culture from one mental model to another, that’s the difficult part. You give people a solution to a problem and the great irony to me is that even though they’re unhappy, they have high inertia. People don’t like change. The reason it takes technology 15 or 20 years to come in is because 15 years is the time it takes a kid who saw it when he was young to become a functioning adult.”
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