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In years past, flying cars were the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. Developments of the last decade, however, are seeing the reality of this vision edge closer and closer. Unlike the fantasy and luxury imagined in our previous visions, the future of our driving cars serves practical purposes – cutting down commute times, enhancing efficiency and enabling contactless transactions.
Albert Einstein once suggested that if he had an hour to solve a problem and his life depended on it, he’d spend the first 55 minutes determining the best question to ask. ‘For once I know the proper question,’ he said, ‘I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.’
Good questions yield good answers. As pointed out by one of histories greatest geniuses, problem solving is largely dependent on the ability to ask the right questions. But beyond problem solving, good questions are irreplaceable tools in the art of persuasion. Where we are most inclined to bolster our own arguments, ideas or products with supporting facts, stats and data, often the best move is to ask a good question.
The 20th century model of learning has well and truly had its day. Time spent memorising, cramming, and silently listening to teachers lecturing is wasted in an age of accessible information and collaboration. Schools in the 21st century are quickly discovering the necessity of adjusting their teaching methods for an era that makes very different demands of the individual than the previous one.
We all consider ourselves to be fairly sound judges. When faced with problems or challenges, we tend to trust our judgements and rely on our estimations, believing that we are immune to the biases and mental manipulations that others experience. In a world of fake news, alternative facts and ever-increasing hostility between those of differing opinions, this belief in the superiority of our judgements poses some significant threats.
There are a range of cognitive patterns which we all believe we are immune to, but regularly experience all the same. Here are 3 you might recognise:
We all have our own story of dealing with friction. Hours spent on hold, inefficient systems and arbitrary rules all play a role in making many customer experiences unbearable. The only outcomes of systems such as these are higher costs, confusion and irritation.
For this reason, removing friction and pain points for customers should be at the top of the list of a business’s priorities. Friction relates to the things that make it hard to engage with a business or brand. While flashy slogans and clever advertising can work wonders in drawing customers in, the things that will keep them are well-designed, intuitive systems that make life easier, not harder. As obvious as this may be, businesses all too often neglect this need.
As innovations continue to proliferate, technology is being increasingly integrated with the human body. Elon Musk’s Neuralink vision epitomises this, with the possibility of a computer-brain interface becoming more and more possible by the day. However, irrespective of this extreme, the embrace of human-integrated technology is evident in our ordinary lives in the form of wearable technology.
The Quantified Self movement and the general focus on fitness have played a significant role in generating a market for wearable technology. However, wearable tech does not end with fitness.
Here are 4 areas that are seeing tech become more wearable than ever:
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I was fairly slow to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Even when the social media site had become relatively mainstream, I was still resistant to join in, dismissing it as time-wasting and superficial. I often caught myself judging my wife as I’d notice her scrolling through Facebook for what felt like hours at a time.
However, when we went on a month’s holiday to the US and my wife was regularly posting pictures of our travels, even I could not resist looking over her shoulder to see the likes and comments we were getting. Eventually one day I actually asked if I could use her Facebook login to jump online to have a look at some photos posted by one of our friends back home who’d just had a baby.
“So now who doesn’t like Facebook, hey!?” she asked with a knowing grin. It was one of those awkward moments where my self-righteousness and hypocrisy was laid bare. Within a few days, I had created an account myself and have been as hooked as most of us are ever since.
Despite our constant frustrations with inconsistencies in others, none of us can honestly deny the presence of incongruence within ourselves. In psychological terms, this behaviour is referred to as cognitive dissonance.
In the past few years, countless businesses have found themselves in crisis. As the world spiralled out of control and circumstances changed at an unprecedented pace, many found themselves in places of irrelevance before they even had a chance to catch up with the times. However, it is all too easy to forget that, despite the varying circumstances, relevance in business follows an incredibly predictable cycle or pattern – one which can be best depicted by a model I call the Relevance Curve.
In a world of seemingly unlimited options, it has become necessary for nearly all successful businesses and brands to personalise products according to the customer. Personalisation is now widely recognised as a powerful tool for selling and engaging customers. However, there is a range of contexts in which this same strategy of personalisation can serve just as powerfully.
While current trends like the Great Resignation are placing powers in the hands of employees, the technological advancement that the pandemic accelerated is highlighting the many industries that are increasingly vulnerable to disruption. The lockdowns and distancing measures of the past few years have resulted in more and more businesses embracing automation, and recent technological developments reveal just how few jobs are immune to the effects of automation.