Smart Human or Smart Sapien
Sapiens have come a very long way in their evolution. We're talking about an era that spans 100s of thousands of years, millions if we take into account human-like species. And here we are. Smarter than ever...
But are we aware of this, or do we not even have time to reflect on developments? Have tools, which have always been man's best friend on the evolutionary journey, suddenly become man's worst enemy? Has the sapien become a slave to technological devices? Devices that are supposed to help us, that are called smart, that may ultimately have started to make us dumber?
The focus is definitely wrong when we talk about smart devices, we should instead talk about smart people, smart sapiens. How do we transfer smart from device to human, in order to give more abilities to humans, to make humans smarter?
These are the questions I will try to debate, to highlight the problems and hopefully offer some clear answers and suggestions on how we humans should act to get the most out of IT solutions. Don't take any answers for granted, because we live in a constant state of change and what is true today may no longer be true tomorrow.
The most important thing is to understand the meaning of the interaction between the human and the tool, whether it is a physical object or a digital solution. Man created the tool to become smarter, but has man become the tool of the tool?
Are we aware that we have the privilege of being the smartest people who have walked the Earth so far? Collectively of course, but also on an individual level under the personal responsibility to take advantage of what the collective offers. Whether you believe that human species have existed for millions of years or that humans have existed for only a few thousand years, the fact is that we have never been smarter.
Information technology has played an important role in this, and it has all unfolded over the last 50 years. The pace of development is now enormous and the exponential rate of growth makes it difficult for us to reflect on our success and do a baseline analysis that makes us aware of how smart we really are.
Many people talk about mindfulness and being self-aware, but rarely are there any guidelines on how and why. I would argue that we should focus on being aware of all the new and wonderful abilities that are being given to us humans through the evolution that is taking place. Isn't this wonderful? What more do we need to be aware of than that we are getting more opportunities with each passing day? That means freedom, doesn't it?
But wait a minute. Can't even enormous choice mean more stress, the feeling that we're missing out on something we're choosing not to? So how do we limit those choices? What is optimal? Tricky, tricky.
Do people use IT solutions to improve their lives or have IT solutions started to use people to fulfill their purpose? Either way, people should be aware of their role and value, thus taking control of their choices, because remember it's about each person taking personal responsibility for the opportunities the collective offers. Integrity and intelligence, plain and simple.
Tools - friend or foe?
The first creatures to make and use these tools weren't even human: they were a human-like species called Homo habilis, or 'skilled person'. They lived by hunting and they used sharp stone tools that were used to kill and skin animals. This was for 2.6 million years ago and even then we could understand that the tool had a friendly role in people's everyday lives. Tools have helped humans to survive in the first place or you could say that tools were used to increase the quality of human life over the years.
That tools have been man's friend was pretty clear back then, but if we fast forward 2.6 million years, we can't help but wonder about the question: have tools become man's enemy?? We know we can use tools for good, but can tools also lead us to create chores we would otherwise never have to do? Tasks that do not give us any real value, but suck our energy, take our time and make us put off important things?
You know what I'm talking about, if you are aware of your actions of course. That's why I don't want to go into giving examples, each of us has to think about how we use tools in our lives. There we will find the answer to the question whether tools are friend or foe. Just remember that you are the one in control of the tools and it is your approach that determines whether the relationship is friendly or hostile. So simple, but so complicated.
Smart devices versus smart people
I will be brief on this point.
As long as we focus on making devices smart, we will overlook the potential to make people smarter. So let's focus on the interactions where we always strive to see the ultimate benefit for humans, and not to be fascinated by the technological achievements that have artificial benefits for us.
And no, I'm not talking about artificial intelligence at all, that's a whole other area that we'll cover later in the blog series.
So focus on the smart person! But how?
How do IT solutions make people smarter?
First of all, we need to explain the meaning of smarter. What does it really mean to become smarter? A simple explanation that can define the term is that people become smarter by having more abilities to do things. If we can agree with this, then it is quite easy to understand the direction in which the evolution of getting smarter is going.
Any IT solution that gives you more options has the potential to make you smarter, but it doesn't necessarily have to. The most important thing is to be aware of why you are using an IT solution, as well as what the alternative is, the rest is pretty simple maths. If the solution has no worthwhile purpose or no alternative then you can start to wonder if it makes people smarter or perhaps the other way around.
In the final section, I will review the above reasoning with the help of some examples taken from our customer cases, so that we can arrive at a nice summary. So, take a few deep breaths and get ready for the grande finale. A smarter grand finale.
Strativ's smart solutions
We develop the smart future together with our customers. Our Smart Developers has so far developed technical solutions for over 100 satisfied customers in Sweden. Our smart development is based on the agile method and the holistic approach, which is highly appreciated by companies that have trusted us to strengthen their business. Being strategic and innovative is in our working DNA, which means we always deliver the most optimal business-critical solutions. Through cost-effective work processes, we develop solutions that make organisations and people smarter. In the following examples we will walk through how this is done.
Vaccina belongs to the Docty AB group of companies and is a registered healthcare provider under the supervision of the Swedish Health Care Inspectorate (IVO). The fight against Covid-19 meant that Vaccina was challenged with managing the large number of tests that needed to be conducted and verified. Doctors, nurses, patients and external laboratories needed a single point of contact for seamless communication and secure data management. It sounds like a resource-intensive challenge, so what was the solution?
Strativ has developed a system, i.e. a web platform and mobile app that functions as a medical record system. The system consists of a scalable backend in the cloud, integrations with third-party services, and a modern and user-friendly frontend for end users.
So what is the purpose of using these tools (web platform and mobile app)? The purpose is quite clear, you want to have a smooth communication and secure data management. No weirdness.
What is the alternative for this? Well, having to be physically present for the communication to take place, as well as remembering all the patient data in your head or writing it down on paper. Smarter? Wouldn't think so.
Since the purpose is clear and the alternative is much worse than what the IT solution offers, it is only fair to conclude that people are gaining more skills thanks to the IT solution Strativ developed for Vaccina. Thanks to this, 100s of thousands of patients have been helped and the collective has become smarter. In addition, the solution has contributed to a safer society. Smart, isn't it!
More Sailing is happy to help you plan your sailing holiday in Croatia, Greece, Italy or the Caribbean, talking dreams of sailing across the Atlantic or investing in your own boat. This has been done since 2009 and More Sailing is today one of the leading players in Sweden in sailing tourism.
They wanted to create a secure booking system that handles all their sailing tour bookings. The cloud-based solution would connect to their website, accounting system and also their banking and payment portals. They wanted a central system to manage all bookings and accompanying information. Many exciting use cases where the user will gain new abilities.
Strativ has built a cloud-based scalable web solution that allows More Sailing to manage all its tours and bookings through a single system. Customers can log in and access all the necessary information about their upcoming trips. Various integrations with external systems are made in order to facilitate the work process for all parties involved.
What is the purpose of using the cloud-based web solution? The aim is to be able to securely book your trip and have all your information in one place. Clear and transparent.
What is the alternative then? The alternative is to have many physical offices around the country that you need to get to, which creates unnecessary booking costs. Another is to pick up the phone and call, but will the line be open? If not, then you have to wait, while time goes by and you don't get back. Also, managing all the booking information manually is also quite resource consuming. We could go on browsing through bad options, but we stop here and conclude that the options are worse than what the IT solution offers.
Our work has had a direct impact on More Sailing's business operations and has helped the More Sailing team to increase efficiency. They have become smarter. The system we developed contributes to smoother booking and management process, which resulted in increased number of sales. The system manages the entire work process seamlessly and results in resource savings. The whole organisation has become smarter. Passengers on the other hand have been able to complete their booking process quickly and smoothly, where the time they saved can be spent on something else more productive according to their preferences. Win-win for everyone involved quite simply. Everyone has become smarter thanks to the IT solution.
This is a very good example of how an IT solution can have a direct and positive impact on people. Photon Sports is the world champion in optimising physical performance. With a diverse team of talent, they have created a playground of science and data-driven innovation that is at the forefront of developments in physical performance analysis and injury prevention. Photon Sports is a values-driven brand and advocate for healthy physical performance optimization for all who aspire to be champions.
To achieve this, a performance tracking system was needed, integrated with a sensor-based system to generate 3D data based on various performance data for the athletes. Using a digital solution, coaches and physiotherapists can help athletes stay healthy, as well as optimise their training to get the best possible results from their workouts.
The development team at Strativ has developed a mobile and web application consisting of a scalable backend and frontend in the cloud, as well as integrations/connections with third-party devices and services.
So what is the purpose of using this IT solution? The aim is to improve the user's performance, optimise training and thus achieve the best training results. Smart, isn't it!
What is the alternative? The alternative is to try to go by feel. Pure feeling. No concrete measurements, except by eye. No data to deal with then, which means you can't optimise your training and therefore have much lower chances of becoming a world champion.
The system we developed makes it easier for the various parties involved to work together with greater efficiency, which we call a smart solution that creates world champions. Putting aside the talk of world champions for a moment and focusing only on how the system makes people smarter, we can see that it simply offers more capabilities to users. As a result, people become smarter and have a much better chance to develop compared to if they did not have this IT solution.
Smarter people in focus
At Strativ, we believe that smart development is all about putting people first. Our values are integrity, intelligence, positive energy and enthusiasm and these permeate all the development processes we undertake. Our vision is to develop Smart Society Solutions and we love to witness how the solutions we develop contribute to the development of the Smart Society. We are Smart Developers. Smart Developers are developing the smart future, with smarter people at its core.