Are we ready to build emotion into HR tech?
“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”
Why You Should Care
Using tech to improve our feeling of having a place in the world is a challenge.
Are we ready to build new tools to help us along our existence journeys, as organizations, and as individuals?
Our next frontier must be a species-defining one - tech that improves our existence.
The brutally beautiful question: How can emotional tech help in the workplace?
Blast across the world in this moment and someone, somewhere, is at their desk, at work, crying in frustration over their circumstances. They’re tied into an intense knot, mugged of their identity. You may have seen it in your past working life too, heard the sobs, and it’s still happening. What does this have to do with tech? That person will be in there alone but they’ll have a phone with them, dozens of apps installed. But which one is enough? Which app shows up and over-delivers help in a heartbeat. Do any? Probably not. This is why People and Emotional Tech is amazingly exciting. Tech can do so much more because tech can help so much more.
What do we do in moments when we doubt ourselves? In our minds, we take a walk over the fields by reaching for technology. Yet using tech to improve our feeling of having a place in the world is a challenge pitched against Sartre’s echoing war cry to the mind: “everything has been figured out, except how to live.” Are we ready to build new tools to help us along our existence journeys, as organizations and as individuals?
How do we avoid building the soulless remote factories of tomorrow? How do we use the opportunity of investment, connections, invention, and sharpness of spirit to build something that’s good for us as a species? Perhaps we can build an app that brings us to tears with the beauty of it as we delve in for the first time, because it shows up in our lives, batters us from nowhere with a soothing tennis-racket-to-the-face of compounding good.
We’ve walked into an open-ended calendar where we can place the most intimate value into people’s hands. And there’s a soundtrack playing all the time to that. Right now, I’m hearing a soundtrack that encourages many of us to jump and fly higher than before. But we can simultaneously build the best landing zone to sustain our nature as an entire species between flights. To achieve this we need tech that says no to what’s wrong, says yes to what’s right, and skateboards down the oil-splashed roller coaster of everything in between. We need tech that guides and directs the uncertain lives of the billions of new adults and children yet to parachute into our buildings, bus stops, boutique lifestyle contracts, and banking systems.
Coding emotional tech through the human spectrum
In the tech world, I think we have access to both the poison and the remedy. The choice is ours which tracks to full-on-embrace as we form our next model of daily living. From a position like this, why not produce tech that helps us make friends with ourselves all over again, build tech that enhances the pumping beat of emotional good. Perhaps this calls for a colorful display of miracles, yet I can already smell one crackling in the pan. Emotional tech. The tech that, like your favorite novelist, finds its own way to put a hand on your shoulder when you’re lonely.
Our next frontier must be a species-defining one. And it’s something to believe in, it’s sustenance, to realize that there are people walking the same streets as us, stepping off the same pavement edges, who are out there setting about reaching it. We need tech builders, emotional designers, and leaders who can see the beauty in the dark. Who write life into the dark. And I’m going to find more of them: Energy donors – Hope setters – Adventure hunters – Fixer-mentors – People swishing with growth and naked possibility – Fearless nobodies ready to prove Sartre wrong with an edgy new algorithm. We need tech that, when the lights go out, shows us the wonder in the atoms of our humanity. Therefore let’s build something with the depth of potential to massively improve our existence.
Winning where the water lives
How can we convert tears of frustration into tears of joy, using tech? Anyone who answers that can use my bathroom anytime. It’s a colossal ask to execute. But my heart tells me we’re committed – to that blink of an eye, where the tech head and that person on the lavatory shake hands and, for just a few moments, become the greatest of friends.
Our future needs a soundtrack that makes us smile when things get beyond hard. It needs emotional tech. So work out a way to reach someone in tears who you’ll never meet. Kick their toilet cubicle door down with your polymorphic abilities. You see, with all the IP and investment in the world, we still need a picture. We need someone sitting on the porcelain somewhere, ready to use our app. Someone now stepping from the sink to breathe from your ten-bagging fentanyl hand dryer. Do it all, that’s my blurred plea. Rollback your shoulders. Create your hum of emotional tech success.
Senior Content Partnerships Manager
Abigail shares awesome stories from the HR technology community, integral to its tapestry of challenges and wins.