The year 2020 has had the world literally on its heels; from a global pandemic that wrecked economic turmoil, a rise in social injustices and worldwide outcry for accountability from governments, corporations and individuals. While some schools of thought admonish calm and a deference to established order, some others clamour for an overhaul of systems and processes as we know it, arguing that a change is necessary to forestall anarchy. The series of recent events globally has also called for a shift in perspective, demanding that we engage all sides in the discourse to chart the best course for the future.
In our attempt to have the conversations that matter and begin the process of remedying society's many woes; be it a pandemic, racial prejudices or violence in any form, it is important to acknowledge the role of technology in spotlighting the issues. Riding a bus home and watching a YouTube video of mass protests across the world should give us an insight into how we can use that same platform to influence change. We must understand the power in the tools that have enabled the world to cut across borders and unify voices in the advocacy for change, equity and a better future for all. Technology can play a major role in not just curbing trends but influencing change.
1. Multiple Perspective Capacity
Technology can compound the effects of an event by simply being able to capture the moments and broadcast it to millions across the globe at the click of a button. This unique quality likens it to the supposition that if stars had in-built cameras, we would have been able to capture history from multiple perspectives, giving us the power to make better informed decisions for the benefit of mankind.
2. Always-On Repository
Information is crucial for advancing societies and institutions but a key component of gathering information is being able to store and retrieve said information when needed. With the passing of time, some data will provide better insight and give context to how an idea may be expanded upon. Thus, the ability to store and retrieve all data at any time and anywhere becomes important, enabling us to provide a pattern to trends and better insight to make informed decisions. Present day cloud services provide archiving functionalities in stored data that help us detect patterns and similarities.
Record keeping is an essential part of efficiently driving the affairs of any society or institution but what about proper tagging, and the ability to not only spot events but classify them properly by identifying factors such as; risk levels, starting points, affected areas, response timelines amongst others. Technology can provide the building blocks for systems that will effectively capture and identify events, creating information graphs from which better structures emerge just like search engines do today.
In the domain of knowledge systems, technology provides sufficient data repositories that can be accessed in real time and used to forecast behavioural models and changes, equipping us with the ability to predict and prepare. The role of technology shouldn't be to replace but to augment just as we see with machine learning.
Implications for The Entrepreneur:
An adaptable business model - your business model needs to be flexible enough to adapt, should there be civil unrest and its accompanying effects - restrictions in movement, a high demand in medical aid and domestic supplies etc. An adaptable business model identifies what parts are redundant, repetitive and unsustainable. Can you deliver your products via courier? Can your spa services pivot into consultancy? Can you turn your workshops and classes into modules that can be delivered online? These questions will help you identify how to scale your business and its requirements.
Insurance - a business with an aim for longevity must insure against business interruption, loss of goods and property, fire disasters, riots and other forms of civil disorders. Insuring your business protects your livelihood and ensures you can land on your feet after unforeseen circumstances rock the boat. It is not only profitable to get insurance for your business, it is better to ensure your insurance provider is one with easy, accessible insurance products online. This way you're able to track your cover, get real time feedback and automate correspondence so that you can plan.
Digital products - your products or services need to go digital - this means establishing channels to facilitate sales even without physical presence, especially without physical presence. There are various ways to develop a digital product and they can be created alongside your physical products. Do you sell jewellery? a how-to course on how to design jewellery can become a digital product you sell alongside your jewellery.