May 03 2016

We’re living in an age where we are almost all reliant on technology in some form or another. Our smart phones, watches, cars, houses in some cases and of course our workplaces are filled with all sorts of technology. Most of which did not exist when I was born, if it did it was in its infancy and yet in physical size, double, triple or quadruple what it is now (and more in some cases).

Organisations have become more & more dependant on technology to manage the day-to-day activities of most of what is done. Many newer organisations exist, purely to build and improve on that technology. There is debate regarding the technological boom of the last few decades, whether it may be slowing down slightly (Moore’s law may or may not be coming to its natural end – see here & here). Regardless, we have come a long way from mainframe computers & telephones where one must stand next to the wall.

Having said all of that, I continue to be amazed by how technically unskilled so many people are. Excel will undoubtedly be in the top 5 of most used platforms (behind Outlook & PowerPoint of course) and yet I am constantly showing people how to do basic things such as formatting for printing, adjusting cell sizes, entering simple formulas etc.

Even a few weeks ago my daughter (12) was asking for help on homework which was well beyond my capability, and most would consider me above average when it comes to the basic IT programs (not programming which it was, albeit basic).

I wouldn’t expect everyone to be super tech savvy, but I wonder whether those who make the decisions to move to new technological platforms ever truly consider the ability to use them by the people who use them. How much easier would people’s jobs really be if we actually took the time & effort to train people in the basics, and I don’t just mean entering text into a cell?

It’s easy for those of us who grew up with computers (like the image), or those who have an active interest. However, there are so many people whose jobs are not entirely reliant on computers, but who use them enough to need more than just basic data entry skills. How much more effective and efficient would they be if their organisations gave some thought to their ability to use them?

photo credit: Lily Allen’s youngest fan via photopin (license)

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