It’s 1980 and you sit down at your desk to start your workday. On your desktop are a telephone, stacks of papers, a pen or two. Your inbox is a metal tray. Your contacts are stored in a Rolodex. Your calendar hangs on the wall. And you get your news from a newspaper.
Today, it’s difficult to imagine working in such an environment. No email. No internet. No text messages. No sales force automation software. Not even a spreadsheet. What on earth did they do all day?
With all our productivity-enhancing technology, you would assume we are significantly more innovative than people were then. But we’re not.
True, the pace of innovation, as measured by productivity gains, increases exponentially. But the acceleration is rather steady.
In other words, periods of remarkable technological advancement, such as we’ve seen since 1980, do not remarkably affect the pace of innovation.
That’s because technology is not innovative. People are innovative. Sometimes technology helps, sometimes it hinders. Recognizing this distinction is critical to success.
Now back to work. Somebody has to get through all that email today.