Zoomonomics studies how we adapt to the technology around us, and its impact on our economic choices. It is a relatively new discipline, established on Thursday 22 April to be precise.
How has our relationship with technology changed since the lockdown, and has it been a good thing?
Video conferencing warps time
- Video conferencing (VC) encourages what would have been a meeting to be shorter. No longer is the time to travel to the meeting viewed as a sunk cost that needs to be counterbalanced by time spent inside the meeting room.
- VC encourages what would have been a telephone call to be longer. The length of the call is framed by the 30 minutes reserved in the calendar.
VC rebalances business relationships
- VC democratises meetings and calls. No one power dresses. Everyone has off-white walls, books, a photo, picture or shelves. Or an abstract green room image which is irrelevant to the topic under discussion.
- VC provides opportunities to qualify leads and identify time wasters in a far more personal way.
Mobile phones are social portals
- If they weren’t before, they are now your fifth limb. Having two or three phones is probably a good idea.
Attitudes to data privacy are relaxing
- ‘Death tends to put things into perspective’, to misquote John Maynard Keynes. Privacy suddenly seems less important if your phone is tracking the acceleration of covid19 cases or being used to support AI-assisted health science programs to combat the virus. Less me, more us. Halleluiah.
The rise of digital workflow and collaboration tools
- Document sharing, cloud storage, scanning with character recognition and similar tools are now viewed as a much better idea than they were in January.
- Tools that felt, to be honest, bloody annoying, (think Microsoft Teams) are actually proving quite useful. Perhaps they are not, after all, a conspiracy to control those who reject the church of project management.
The threat of Robotic Process Automation now has context
- RPA will increasingly be seen as a way to work better and smarter, and less as a threat to people’s jobs. However, this may change when we recognise how much of the work of a financial director or CEO can be automated.
Online events, but not as we knew them
- Increasingly, larger organisations will create their own digital events and tv programs, relying less on industry expos. Unless of course they are in really nice places.
Technology, not trains and planes
- Business travel will become a binary choice, distance will be irrelevant. We travel if it is essential and/or potentially valuable. Pre-qualification will be done through technology.
- The adoption of homeworking practices has highlighted the stupidity behind the decision to invest in HS2 (think bullet train costing a large wedge of your GDP). A strategy based on how quickly you can transport people away from an area you want to develop is clearly questionable. Developing local economies around key industries and investing in the technology to support them makes far more economic sense.
- They don’t look so stupid now, do they?
You’ll no doubt have identified your own examples of Zoomonomics over the past month or so. Feel free to share them below. And of course, please stay safe and sane.