Leerom Segal and Jay Goldman's tedx talk introduced to us a creatively way of thinking about the technology of management and data sources. "The data you have shifts your world" Segal said. He began by briefly sharing a story of the time his father was fatally diagnosed with cancer and given less than a year to live. All the data and experts said to prepare for the inevitable but his refusal to blindly follow their advice lead him to connect with a small sample of patients from online communities. These people were on the same trial and had survived for over a year and he wanted to know what they did to prolong their lives. As a result of this new data, , he and has father had three more years together. The point is that this data was always available but this story would have had a completely different outcome if it had occurred 10 years ago- when this online community didn't exist.
He emphasized the point by taking the audience down memory lane: An Ad from the 1950's read, "more doctors smoke camels than any other cigarette." It wasn't that the Doctors were intentionally trying to kill people but rather that a vitally important data was missing. In the 1930's, skin care companies proudly boasted that radium makes the skin glow; and even more horrifying, in 1910's heroin was sold and used to treat children's cough. "None of us would accept the medical care of the 1950's from a doctor" he said, " because most of those were invented by researchers working in a really poor data world"
What follows in their speech is that in the same sense that we now have more data available to help us make better health decisions, we can make optimal decisions by upgrading our technology of management to fit the complexities and challenges of the 21st century. We are currently performing business rituals that were invented over a 100yrs ago. A quote by Henry ford said , " if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." And Segal explained why and how email is an example of a "faster horse" - in the sense that even though technology itself has evolved, the technology of management has not.
Leerom and Goldman believe it's possible to take inspiration from tools that work in the consumer landscape and bringing into the workplace. Product such as google maps or iPhone health tracker Apps help us make optimal choices quicker than ever before by predicting our needs and customizing our experience- The same idea can be implemented within our workplace. In an environment where 70% of us are disengaged at work and where even corporate training looks exactly the same now as it did 50 years ago, a new approach is needed. They suggested 3 transformative ideas: using technology as a coach, using data as a sixth-sense and engineering ecosystems.
The take away from the speech is that in order to solve our problems requires a shift in thinking. "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein