At the individual, firm, national, and global levels, we have been facing pressing demand to get jobs done better. Hence, we have been on a relentless journey in leveraging technology possibilities for advancing and recreating means of Getting jobs done.
Leveraging technology means deploying technology to get jobs done better through increasingly effective and efficient usage of scarce resources. Jobs could be (i) getting light in the darkness, (ii) offering better quality products at less price for serving more to make higher profit, (iii) winning competition, (iv) disrupting the monopolies, (v) raising tiny Startups into high performing firms,(vi) growing embryonic ideas into radical innovations, (vii) increasing per capita income by leveraging education and creativity, (viii) propelling a natural source poor country to high-income status, (ix) empowering the bottom to drive prosperity, or (x) driving economic growth and addressing worsening environmental issues simultaneously.
At the personal level, Jobs to be done encompass all the urgency, from having a good night’s sleep to communicating with others, which we keep addressing daily. In business, technology leveraging focuses on performing business functions better and innovating products and processes for sustaining innovations and winning the competition. Businesses face both the opportunity and threat of leveraging technology as it sometimes unleashes Disruptive Innovation effects. To drive our economic prosperity, we focus on leveraging technologies to create increasing Wealth from natural resources and labor through incremental advancement and creative destruction. This we succeed in keep producing more with less and increasing per capita income. Hence, leveraging technology is at the top of our living standard, sustaining business success, pursuing disruptive opportunities, and sustaining economic growth by consistently finding alternative, better means of creating wealth from scarce resources.
Leveraging Technologies Examples
Let’s begin with pressing issues like getting light in the darkness. Since the early days of human existence on this planet, there has been a relentless journey of inventing, advancing, and leveraging technology to get higher quality light at less cost of energy and environment. Consequentially, the light source has been evolving, leading to LED light bulbs—giving us better quality light and costing less energy.
Even the most expensive iPhone is cheaper than far poorer Motorola’s Dynatec handset, costing $3995. Consumers are after getting higher quality products at lower prices. On the other hand, profit-making incentive is the driver of producers. Leveraging technology is at the core of addressing this conflicting situation. Due to technological advancement, mobile handset or Television set makers have been making more profit than ever before while offering increasingly better products at decreasing prices.
In the 1980s, there were 75 hard disk producers and more than two dozen word processor makers. In those days, profit margin was thin in producing and distributing those products. However, technology offered the options to win competition for ferreting more profit. Consequentially, by leveraging superior performance in technology advancement, Toshiba and Microsoft outperformed the competition, attaining highly profit-making price-setting capability.
In the 1970s, IBM was a monopoly in the computing market. Similarly, at the dawn of the 21st century, Nokia emerged as a virtual monopoly in mobile handset making. However, leveraging technology led to the rise of Personal computers and keyboard-free iPhones like smartphone waves. Consequentially, those monopolies suffered from disruptions.
Rise of Startups due to Leveraging of Technology
Over the last 40 years, we have witnessed the rise of tiny startups into mega-success stories, unleashing disruptive effects on incumbent behemoths. We all know the story of the rise of Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and many others, from humble beginnings to mega-corporations. Leveraging technology has been at the core of such a spectacular success. For example, Apple succeeded by leveraging graphical user interface technology. Leveraging semiconductor technology has fueled rising Microsoft, Intel, and many other startups.
Technology for Business Growth
At the core of business growth has been to create a flywheel effect of increasing the quality and reducing the cost. You need a Flow of Ideas to develop momentum turn by turn and sustain it over many turns. To fuel it, you need a technology core. For example, by leveraging the technology core, Apple succeeded in releasing successive better versions, leading to the rise of sale of the iPhone from a mere 1 million units in 2007 to over 200 million units in 2022. Similarly, by leveraging technology, Sony kept improving Radio, TVs, and many other consumer electronics products. In modern times, the sale of Electric vehicles has been growing, fueling the growth of Tesla and many others, because the underlying battery technology core has been progressing, increasing range, reducing charging time, and lowering costs.
Technology for Economic Development
In the 1960s and 1970s, millions of low-skilled workforce in less developed countries like South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh were unemployed. Due to the progression of automation and production line technology, those uneducated and untrained workforces became eligible for factory work. Thus, they found employment in factories for manufacturing products for Western multinational corporations. On the other hand, due to the leveraging of technology, Middle Eastern countries have become wealthy by discovering, producing, and refining petroleum products. Hence, it is fair to say that leveraging technology has been at the core of creating economic value from labor and natural resources. In retrospect, we have graduated from the pre-industrial age due to the scalable path wealth creation out of leveraging technology.
The rise of natural resource-poor Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan to high-income status has been due to technology. Instead of using technology as consumers and operators, they focused on advancing technologies through creating a flow of ideas and commercializing them. Consequentially, by leveraging technology, they succeeded in creating an endless flow of wealth creation from the idea economy. Of course, to find a highly scalable path of ideation, they had to leverage emerging technologies like semiconductors, data storage, LCDs, electronic image sensors, and many more.
Technology for Remote Work
During the COVID-19 time, we found technology as a means of offering us to work from home. However, not only Covid time, leveraging technology for remote work got importance. Let’s look into the underlying reason for India’s IT service export business’s ascent of the BPO business in the Philippines. Due to the growth of telecommunication, Internet, Conferencing Software, e-mail, and Personal computers and their leveraging led to the rise of an option of remote delivery of IT and BPO services from remote locations like India to the Western market.
The progress of remote work by leveraging technology is likely to continue. The development of AR, VR and Metaverse technologies will keep increasing the scale, scope, and positive externalities of remote work by leveraging technology.
Benefits of Leveraging Technology
There have been ample benefits from leveraging technology. As explained, it’s a vital means for improving our jobs. Leveraging technology offers scalability by substituting labor, energy, and materials by adding an endless flow of ideas. In addition to providing benefits, the race to leverage technologies keeps destroying monopolies, jobs, and firms. It’s a tool for creating new opportunities by causing destruction. Besides, upon showing initial progress, technologies get caught in a chasm, creating a hype cycle. Hence, we must carefully manage leveraging technologies to maximize benefits and minimize loss.
This article is part of a book, Engineering Economics and Management–Modern Day Perspective.