It’s Human Transformation, Not Digital Transformation

Here’s a great article from The Crazy Programmer

When asked about the defining process of the last decade, a lot of people would be tempted to answer with digital transformation. It’s understandable. The rise of mobile devices, cloud-based services, data science, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies has had a massive impact on practically all human activities. Under that light, it’s hard to argue with the idea of digital transformation being an era-defining process.

Yet, for as influential as it might appear, digital transformation seems to be performing rather poorly among its most ardent defenders. According to a widely-cited McKinsey survey, only 16% of companies had successful digital transformations (as in, changes that brought improved performance that could be sustained over time). How can it be that something perceived as so seismic has so little impact?

The answer becomes evident once you take a look closer at the whole process. Companies betting it all on digital transformation believe that the mere adoption of new technologies will drive them to better results. However, as it has happened time and time again in the past, it’s not the technology that brings the change – it’s the people that use them.

As such, focusing solely on digital transformation today seems like a huge mistake. If so many businesses are failing on their way to becoming digital companies, that definitely has to do with the fact that they are forgetting that people have to change too in order to fit the new scenario. In other words, companies can’t shove new tech down people’s throats and expect everything to turn out great.

Instead, we should all be focusing on the necessary human transformation that contemplates the relationship between people and technology. Since securing a symbiosis between them is the only possible way that the new paradigm might root and grow in the long term, neglecting to talk about the human aspect is basically shooting ourselves in the foot.

Enter Human Transformation Technology

The existence of Instagram influencers, YouTubers, remote software QA testers, big data engineers, and so on was unthinkable a decade ago. You could say that all of them exist today because the technologies that made them possible were born and grew during that time. And while that is true, you’d be missing part of the point.

If people themselves didn’t change to fit the new scenarios proposed by those new technologies, none of those roles would exist today. YouTube was born to share videos but no one could have predicted the unboxing fever. All kinds of industries have been gathering data for decades but new approaches to it made it possible for people to become data experts.

This contemplation of the cognitive, psychological, physiological, and social implications of technologies has led to the development of Human Transformation Technology (HTT). This approach acknowledges the plasticity of the human brain to adapt to changing scenarios. The emergence of the roles mentioned above (and countless others that arose from new tech) could only be made possible by that human flexibility.

HTT is the result of the understanding that digital transformation didn’t explain the process we are going through as a society. That’s why this discipline uses research to comprehend how the human brain analyzes information and what drives motivation to change the learning experience.

In other words, HTT recognizes that technology, in and by itself, doesn’t drive change without the people that use it. This moves the focus from the tools to the humans, from digital transformation to human transformation.

This is a very healthy shift. If we are to derive value from new tech tools, we can’t expect them to do so on their own (ask the 84% of the McKinsey survey about it). Concentrating on the human aspect of it all makes it possible for us to understand why technology isn’t performing as we hope in certain industries as well as point to missed opportunities and underuse.

Human Transformation Technology can take care of inherent human processes and let technology do what it does best: automating processes, increasing efficiency, and customizing tasks. HTT, on its part, can focus on how to train people on how to make the most out of new tech and how to motivate them finding the opportunities hidden in those new tools.

People as the Main Actors

Talking about human transformation has a final benefit. Instead of seeing people as cogs in a machine (a necessary evil for the industry’s wheels to keep turning), human transformation sees them as allies for improvement. With HTT, we can take a look at how both technologies and individuals change and work with one another, bringing the best out of each one.

This holistic view goes beyond the linear understanding of the current fast-paced evolution of our society. Rather than seeing the changes as an inevitable imposition of new technologies, human transformation believes in what people can bring to the table in their constant dialogue with them.

The emerging roles in the workforce, the new spaces of discussion and interaction, and the new “digital layer” of society as a whole is the direct result of the encounter of people and technology. So anyone thinking that the defining process of our era is digital transformation should check again. If we are where we are, it’s because of people. And if we want to head to the best possible direction, it can only be inside a more humane framework, where people are taken into account and seen as the main actors of the current transformations.

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