Bring on 2021

Nearing the end of a turbulent first week of January, and despite lockdowns, riots and rising R numbers, we still feel we have good reason to expect a lot of good things this year.

We learned a lot in 2020 about hygiene, about ourselves, about what we are good at and less good at. We realised the value of human interaction and the importance of mental health, finding ways to cheer ourselves up when the news is so awful. 

We learned a lot about CHANGE. We humans have a reluctance to embrace change for good reason mostly, because it involves risk, stepping into the unknown and that only becomes attractive when the status quo is so bad, anything must be better?  

So what have we learned? 

That commuting takes time, dressing from the waist up is quicker, that by collaborating with colleagues and playing team, gets things done faster, sharing innovative ideas and bouncing ideas about produces results. The more we achieve, the more we want to do more, hey this is addictive. 

When all the normal restraints are taken away, our minds start buzzing, what else can we do? Closed restaurants become busy takeaways, shopping for groceries becomes click and collect and they put it in your car for you how good is that! 

Using Zoom or Teams we see and talk to colleagues around the world and get decisions made in  minutes that would have needed days away from home, flights and hotels. Ok, some of us enjoy that, 1st class travel to exotic places, food and drink to die for… but having just proven we didn’t need to do it, will we ever go back to that? 

Change, when it works out well, is addictive and having seen what science can achieve by mass collaboration, producing vaccines in short order, has opened our eyes to the potential.  Software and data have been used in ways not seen by many before, Even government bodies not normally noted for their agile ways or openness have taken to Zoom and presented daily graphics that help us to quickly see the problem and make good decisions.  

Yes there have been some cockups, excel data being lost?  mistakes in calculations, talk about algorithms when trying to elevate their data above what we all know is simple maths.  But hey… governments moving quickly? Not a natural synergy? We all now realise that we no longer have to procrastinate or wade through glue to get things done. Brexit has happened, Elections concluded, Vaccines are being administered. 

Having worked with Smartsheet, a tool (for collaborative work management) for businesses for the last 10 years, we have seen companies achieve great things when they can work better together in short order and seen the power of addiction to continual innovation but never at the scale of what we have seen in 2020. 

For my team, working efficiently remotely has been our bread and butter for years and it’s been fun watching the rest of the world realise the same benefits. 

So what is coming next? Well good news… now, the world is no longer fearing change but embracing it, our minds are open to new ideas, using our access to good quality, easily consumed dashboard data,  we are happy to evaluate new ways of working especially if that means less time working and more time with family. 

Good news is that AI or Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning are now practical realities which will do the heavy lifting for us, presenting us with those easy to understand graphs and charts that make decisions by us humans easy to make.  

Software has gone from being a “pain in the butt”, to being our servant (at last).  It has to operate on any device we choose, wherever and whenever we wish to use it, be intuitive and helpful and save us 2 hours a day and if it doesn’t? We find a solution that does. 

So in 2021 we have lots to look forward to, software that serves not to annoy, human in person meetings because we value them, not because ‘that’s what we always do’. =  More time with those we love.  And yes we will be able to travel again ….. But for fun and holidays and enjoy time with our friends.  Yes, 2020 taught us a lot, but let’s move on and benefit from our learnings. 

No longer will we be happy to put up with technology that doesn’t make our lives easier, nor go back to commuting for commuting sake when we can spend more time with those we love doing the things we enjoy. 

This is more than just the “ Fourth Industrial Revolution” or the “Internet of things” and 5G on our phones….

2021 is the year we embrace change, be that in ourselves in working smarter or in climate change solutions to make our world a better place for our children. It took a pandemic to shock us into this fabulous opportunity so let’s make the most of what we have learned. 

Bring on 2021 we can’t wait to make Progress!