Food for Thought V6: How Technology Slows the Pace of Change

I was listening to the radio just recently.  A caller was asked about something he had done that was a bit unusual and his answer was “Run a 14km fun run in a Gorilla suit with my best mate”.  Asked how wearing gorilla suits impacted their race time, his answer caught me and the radio host a bit by surprise.  They had been running in the gorilla suits every year for over ten years and their race time had become not just slower, it had become exponentially slower as each year had gone by.  The reason – technology!

What had technology done?  It had put a camera in the pockets of the masses.  Just about every runner in the race was carrying a smartphone with an A-Grade camera and they were snap-happy.  Being the polite gentlemen that they are, they could not refuse a request for a photo.

This got me thinking about how else technology slows us down.  Here is my hit list:

  • We wait for it patiently.  We wait for the next best thing and miss out on the short-term benefits from the “now” best thing.


  • We wait for it impatiently.  We fail to implement technology well and we wait until we get it right and way too often we wait and wait and wait.


  • We don’t wait for it, we grab it and we play with it.  This is the typical techo.  They can’t help themselves.  The technology is soooo cool, it has to be played with.
  • We don’t wait for it, we grab it, we play with it and we discard it way too soon.  This is the typical non-techo.  We grab the technology all starry-eyed with grand visions and we are soon disappointed because we didn’t meld the technology into our environment.  We just shoved it in.

For me this reinforces just how hard it is for designers to communicate to us about their technology and for us to assess it.  Irrespective can you all please keep designing and assessing, as without doubt, technology makes the world an incredibly interesting place!