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Misusing Mobile Apps in the Enterprise

As the definition of productive work-time evolves from physically being on a production line or in an office, to anywhere and anytime you are contributing to the goals of your employer, there also needs to be an evolution into new ways of valuing and managing time.

I recently watched, with great interest, a passenger sitting next to me on a plane answering dozens of emails in the course of a few minutes. At the rate of the responses flying off of the laptop next to me, I suspected the emails were not on topics like complex legal briefs, new government policies, innovative business plans or scientific experiments.  I genuinely felt sorry for this person.  It seemed a shame to me, a waste of brainpower to have some very capable communicator (typist at least) answering mass volumes of simple emails when there are great-unsolved issues begging for mental energy and committed time like great public works, innovations, inventions, health and scientific breakthroughs.  These accomplishments require thinking-time, not mindless busy work.

If the passenger’s massive digital stack of messages were the accumulation of days worth of communications and then efficiently dispatched during travel thus freeing up quality thinking-time, then I am a fan of the process I witnessed.  However, if that digital stack represented a typical day, then something is wrong.  We are wasting thinking-time, and that is a travesty.

The human brain has a great capacity to love, inspire, invent, improve, design and solve.  Why would we insert this amazing organ into a mindless process?  We can develop code for that.

Today, mobile devices and apps are NOT being used effectively.  We are using them to reduce and restrict thinking time - thinking that could be dedicated to solving problems, improving humanity, developing relationships and advancing the good.  An effective and efficient use of mobile devices and apps would be to use them to expand thinking-time, by reducing outside interferences and mindless busy work.

Just about anything of substance and value requires thinking-time.  Are companies valuing thinking-time as they should, or are they reducing thinking-time by packing more mindless busy work, data collection and reporting into a day via mobile apps?  I think it is time for each of us to be a bit more critical of the way technologies are being applied.  Are we thinking too small, or not at all?

Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.