The 4 phases of new tech

Adopting new tech is a challenge, but it’s essential that we do. New technology helps to improve our productivity, supports innovation and ensures that we continue to create beautiful and compelling campaigns for our clients. 

Christmas is the time for giving and at 42group, it was no different. Santa managed to find his way into our office at Bristol’s Paintworks (we’re not sure how, because there is no chimney) and brought us some new treats for the office. With them came fancy boxes, new chargers and interoperability challenges.

As an agency we need to stay on top of new tech. As a marketing and content agency that works with industry leaders, we need to know how we can use new technology and innovations for the benefit of our clients. It’s what they would expect.

We’ve never lost that joy for new devices, and the new ways of working that they support. It’s great to get a new toy, but for us  that unpacking new tech means unpacking new opportunities.

We’ve been early-adopters for years, and through that time we’re learned a lot about the way that individuals and organisations adopt and adapt. Incorporating something new or different to the way we work helps us learn and develop as

Over the years we reckon there are 4 phases to new tech: anticipation, frustration, inspiration and pretension.

Anticipation

Our business runs on tech. Specifically, an awful lot of Apple tech. That means iPhones, Macs, iPads and about 4,000 chargers.

(Like most offices, we have no idea what device approximately 50% of our chargers are for; but keep them anyway in the vain hope that they may be useful one day).

The first piece of new tech we invested are a number of 12.9” iPad Pros. The reason? We’re doing a lot more film and image work, and these are the perfect devices for sharing and interacting within a group.

They’re powerful enough to be usable for image processing, and accessible enough for group working. A simple cable also makes them great for presentations and pitches.

When we saw the iPad Pro launch in 2015 we were excited – but not overawed. They’re evolutionary, not revolutionary and it’s taken a while for us to make the leap.

Since then we’ve followed the development of the platform, watching closely as software has been launched and optimised for the platform.

An iPad Pro isn’t a big investment, but we’re not in business to waste money. Waiting to see how the platform has developed has meant we’re excited about the opportunities the iPad Pro offers for us and our clients.

This is what Phase 1 is all about – the excitement of anticipation.

Frustration

Capturing images is an essential part of what we do, so it’s natural that we would invest in good quality gear. It’s particularly important this year as we’re just about to start some incredible new projects (more about those later in 2017).

In the past our studio has exclusively used Canon SLR cameras, but these unwieldy beasts aren’t that portable. After some research, we settled on our newest addition for capturing images on the fly: a Panasonic Lumix GX 80.

A new piece of tech means learning new ways of doing things – and that can sometimes be frustrating.

However intuitive an OS may be, there’s always that period of frustration – when you learn a new way of doing things; a new range of icons; or a new process of navigation.

Putting in some serious time is the only way to get this right.

The Lumix GX80’s 4K photo select is a really cool feature, but it takes a little work. We’re having the same issue selecting the right modes and picking the best lense for the job when all we want to do is get on with the job.

The second phase of tech is frustration.

Inspiration

New technology should make things simpler, easier and better – that’s the definition of progress.

It should also inspire.

New cameras and new tech like the iPad Pro are great, but what has excited us the most is the much derided Apple Pencil.

Collaborating on paper is easy, what Apple has done is made that collaboration simple and intuitive. Steve Jobs may have hated the idea, but things move on.

via GIPHY

It might seem stupid to spend up to £1000 on a bit of tech that replaces a pencil, but it’s more than that. It turns the passive iPad into an active tool for collaboration.

New tech doesn’t just inspire us, it inspires those people who work with us too. Over the years we have embraced developments like online collaborative software, new tech like the iPad and innovations like the Apple Pencil to improve the way we work.

Sometimes they’re great, and sometimes (we’re looking at you Apple Watch and Pebble) the novelty can quickly wear off and the innovation just turns into annoyance.

They’re inspirational, but they can quickly lead to phase 4.

Pretension

Waving around an iPad; answering a call on an Apple Watch or using an Apple Pencil in a meeting is likely to elicit a variety of responses from those present.

One of those will inevitably be an accusation of pretension.

Pretension is always a problem with new tech. It stretches back generations. Imagine the horror on the faces of the austere Victorians as a Penny Farthing rolled by. Moustaches were probably twiddled and sensibilities offended, but someone had to tame that giant steel horse.

If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have seen the bike develop into the incredible form of liberating transport we have now. (And we wouldn’t have worked on the Tour of Britain or the Bristol Grand Prix, so we would have been upset).

There’s no real way to avoid this. If you’re using new tech, you’re going to face it.

Just embrace it and be safe in the knowledge that without pretension there’d be no progress. And progress is what 42group is all about.

42group is a leading Bristol communications and marketing agency that helps organisation to tell their stories. We also aren’t afraid to share our insights either.

We help our clients to help them develop, design and deliver marketing, communications and content  campaigns that make a difference. If you’d like to chat about how we can help you tell your story, contact us today.