Technology and productivity – a faux ami?

Technology and productivity – a faux ami?

You send a fourth email clarifying what you really meant. The person you’re speaking to is a colleague - sat only 20 metres away. Frustratingly, they’re still not getting your point. And the real problem is not that it’s taken far more energy and time than a simple face-to-face conversation, but that this is a daily occurrence. Instead of being a great liberator, technology has shackled many of our daily work interactions. The truth is that technology can be a false economy.

It is difficult to argue against technology without coming across as a Luddite or eye-rollingly contrarian. To avoid such accusations, I would like to frame my argument around the following particulars:

  1. Business is driven by productivity
  2. Productivity is the efficiency of converting inputs into outputs
  3. Technology can accelerate efficiency
  4. BUT technology ≠ productivity

While the above might be overly reductive, the contention is that technology is no guarantee of productivity. The opening anecdote is a simple illustration of how technology sometimes gives the appearance of speed, but in reality lacks true effectiveness. The problem lies not in technology per se, but the problem is with over-reliance on it – when tech goes from tool to crutch.

Networks are built on human interaction, not carbon copies

I’m not saying we should go back to the Dewey Decimal System and retire Google (thanks mate, it’s been a good run) – I’m saying we should seek to avoid the false economies of technology. Maybe instead of writing that email where your tone is hard to convey, suggest a call or meeting. Not only will you benefit from the nuances of body language and tone, there are added bene

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About the author:
Mark is one of the Dispute Resolution blog’s technical editors. He qualified as a lawyer in Australia and worked in private practice before joining LexisNexis. In addition to contributing to the Dispute Resolution blog, he also writes for a number of LexisNexis blogs, including the Future of Law blog.