Yes, that’s right, over 10 million people in the UK have now had their vaccine jab! What a fantastic achievement. Each and every day we are hearing more good news about vaccines and progress against Covid19, yet where did this success begin? With technology, perhaps just pencil and paper, in a Lab in the middle of the UK, (and many other labs around the world too).
You see there is a difference between IT and Technology that gets lost. IT can be thought of as your everyday laptop, server, business application, and technology is all the other stuff from kettles in the canteen to genomic sequencing in the Oxford labs.
We are a species of technology; indeed that is our strength and weakness, and it is technology that has given us the tools to fight this pandemic. Yet there is something else here too. The human spirit, the power of our intellect and our ability to take something and innovate it to another place. Take our return to work – how is technology going to be used to facilitate that? What will be different, and how will we interact with it?
Simple examples include face coverings and desk-screening of course, yet what about AI systems coupled to our office CCTV that will detect individuals not wearing a face covering, or with elevated temperatures, and automatically direct them to specific entrances and protocols? How can technology help us reduce touch points by using smart cards, voice recognition, or even our own smart phones to call elevators or transition routes from desk to meeting room.
Remote working, now a feature of our lives, needs better quality video and audio at affordable costs to begin to rekindle that face-to-face feeling in our meetings. Collaboration software and tools need to get a handle on how we used to meet, and solve problems informally, in the “Canteen Space” – the “watercooler moments”.
All these things and more will become critical thinking in the office of the future, and any organisation interacting and delivering public services. Aligned to this is our social value and social impact. We are all aware of our carbon impact, yet less so of our social value and impact.
How we facilitate access to our services, whilst at the same time protecting the public, is important, so it is logical that someone is going to want to measure and report on that. Do we even understand how to measure something along those lines? Or how to make it meaningful, repeatable and transparent?
After months of tough lockdown measures, the light is beginning to emerge and growing stronger daily, so now is the time to get our heads together, (albeit still virtually), and tackle these and other emergent problems, so we can innovate and implement the solutions ahead of the curve and focus on getting things back to where we all want them to be. Like the vaccine and its roll out, this will require collaboration, innovation and partnerships that are just forming – Become one of those leaders today.