The rise of affordable consumer technology causes problems for businesses

Latest piece for SC Magazine:

On a visit to the US shortly after the civil war, Oscar Wilde was asked why he thought the country was so violent. “I can tell you why America is so violent,” Wilde replied, “it is because your wallpaper is so ugly.”

That might sound like a typical Wildean witticism, and it is, but what Wilde was really expressing was the importance that he and others in the aesthetic movement attributed to beauty and good craftsmanship and its impact on how people behave. To be surrounded by ugliness, the Irish writer believed, led to ugly thoughts and ugly actions.

It might sound like a stretch to apply this philosophy to the current popularity of devices such as the iPhone, but there is a link between good design and productivity, according to some experts. “Although it would be difficult to quantify through a cost-benefit analysis, a happier user is generally considered to be more productive,” analyst group Gartner claimed in a 2008 report on employee-owned technology schemes.

At least some of the momentum driving staff to want to use consumer technology in the workplace is that on the whole it not only looks better but, crucially, is a lot more user-friendly than the “good enough” approach taken by many business-technology makers.

For more go to: SC Magazine UK

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