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Why do we fear technology?

Sometimes fear can be a rational response when it comes to new technology. Fear of the unknown and how it will impact your role within an organization is a legitimate feeling. Vendors usually promise that their application will do everything that is needed and the same goes for new hardware solutions. New technologies come with promises of efficiency, updated functionality, and layers of techno-jargon.

I realize that technology is the past, present, and future of education. It's how we use technology that matters. However, fear of technology can cause us to stumble in our professional endeavors. Becoming aware of the origins of our fear can help us to overcome it and make great things happen with new technology. Here's my list of three reasons why we fear new technologies:

  • Fear of Dissonance: Learning new things in an organizational context can be challenging. Where will we find time to learn, to experiment, and to "get good it?" I've written several posts about the need to create an organizational ethos that is built upon lifelong learning. When everyone is always learning, new technologies are brought into the fold without anxiety, but with a critical view.
  • Fear of Losing Your Job: I remember when a colleague once told me that they were worried that a new software solution would cause us to lose our jobs. Sure, maybe the version of our jobs that we currently occupied would shift, but the gist of our employment wouldn't just evaporate overnight. Fear of losing your job usually means that you need to think more broadly about what your job will be in the future. How do you evolve with your position? If technology can remove an aspect of your job, what will you do with that extra time? Plus, how will your organizational leaders respond to the natural evolution of roles/tasks in the context of technological enhancement?
  • Fear of Perception: No one wants to look like they don't know something in front of their peers. Okay, maybe some people are okay with it, but most professionals seem to have a lot of anxiety around the perception of not knowing something. Again, this is an organizational culture issue. When experimentation, learning, and ideation are cultivated and encouraged, it's far easier to adopt anything new. If you don't know how to use a new technology, don't worry, everyone else is figuring it out, too.

What would you add to this list?

What can we do to change our cultural norms when it comes to technology adoption?

How can vendors / solutions-providers assist organizations in overcoming techno-fear?



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