When stuck in a cave, you need a speleologist, not a spaceman.
The debacle surrounding Elon Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine to save the kids trapped in a Thai cave system acts as a metaphor for the dangers of taking a technology-first approach to every problem.
Made from re-purposed rocket parts, the sub – on the surface (pun fully intended) – represented the cavalry of Silicon Valley riding to the rescue. The only snag was that the proposed solution was too clever and couldn’t possibly work. It was quickly pointed out by people with actual expertise in navigating cave systems that Musk’s solution was – quite literally – not flexible enough to get around tight corners.
The lesson here for businesses is this: whilst it’s easy to be seduced by shiny toys and the siren call of all things ‘digital’, we mustn’t forget the basics. Specifically, let’s not overlook the customer who we ultimately rely on to play ball with our ‘digital transformation’ projects.
Are we designing solutions truly centred on them – or around the technology?