2021. A year that continues to beat us with 2020’s stick whilst simultaneously dangling a carrot — a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine. Whatever happens this year, and the jury’s still out, we know the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to challenge the ways in which we live our lives for the foreseeable future.
Welcome to the new normal
Notwithstanding the hardship caused by the pandemic, the burden of which has fallen on the least privileged, for all of us this last year has been a huge shock: our way of life has been challenged more than at any other time in recent history. The way we work, the way our children learn, the way we exercise, eat, drink and socialise have all had to change. Suddenly, flying around the world seems like a very expensive — and risky — way of doing business. With such dramatic changes comes opportunities to imagine new brighter futures, new ways of working, educating and living. And this is where technology could play a role.
During the pandemic we’ve been exposed to a rather large dollop of wrongheaded thinking, wasting a lot taxpayers’ money in search of a technological solution out of this mess; the proverbial ‘moon shot’ so to speak. And of course there will always be those happy enough to take our money and run. We’ve already spoken about the dishonesty that exists in our industry.
We did a month of R&D on bluetooth contact tracing using a mobile’s inbuilt BLE technology and quickly demonstrated that the £11.8 million being spent on the first version of the NHSX contact tracing app was likely to be a complete waste because the technology was unviable’
The truth about technology
The truth however is that technology is not THE answer. It has never been, and never will be the solution to all our problems. But it can play a part. At We Make Waves we like to think of technology as the supporting actor rather than the leading role: an important, often necessary enhancement to an act but not the act itself.
In other words, technology can contribute to meeting real life needs more effectively. Given the rapid adjustments we’ve all had to make to our lives, there are a significant number of real life needs such as to be healthy, safe, fed, connected and educated that present opportunities for technology to have a positive impact. And for organisations, there’s the challenge of staying commercially relevant.
An example: EMITTO app
In the United States, some large organisations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a week on mass testing employees. We created EMITTO.app, a Covid-19 screening app for employers to assess the risk of their employees being exposed to Covid-19 based on a number of key risk factors. The aim wasn’t to remove the need for mass testing entirely but to reduce the number of tests that were needed. Did technology solve the whole problem? No. Did it contribute in any significant way? Absolutely. Large organisations are able to save anything up to $60K a week whilst maintaining the safety of their employees.
Reimagining our relationship with technology
It’s only when we start to think of technology as a contributing factor to solving real world problems in order to meet genuine human needs and not as the be-all and end-all that we can begin to harness it’s true power.
If you’re considering using technology to contribute to re-imagining a post-Covid or with-Covid world and need a technology partner to help, we’d love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, stay safe, be kind and take care of each other.