In the 19th century, butter was so expensive that Emperor Napoleon III announced at the 1866 World’s Fair in Paris that he would sponsor anyone who could come up with a better alternative to the popular spread. Three years later, French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès invented oleomargarine (later known as margarine) after mixing beef fat with milk and salt.
Mège-Mouriès’s invention became a hit and by the late 19th century, 37 companies were making margarine. The new spread appealed to a lot of people because it was cheaper, had a better shelf life, and was seen as healthier than butter.
But the butter barons didn’t take things lightly. Seeing margarine as a threat, they demonized the substance to protect the dairy industry. They tried to convince politicians and the public alike that margarine was being fraudulently passed off as butter, that it came from diseased animals, and was “polluted” and unhealthy. After almost a century-long battle, however, margarine manufacturers are still in business.
Unfortunately, margarine was not the only victim of ignorance and misinformation. The same thing happened to many other great inventions like refrigeration, coffee, and genetically modified foods. At one time, these everyday fixtures of modern life were greatly opposed and criticized.
In fact, small business owners who want to introduce new technologies to make their company more competitive may find themselves in the same boat. Why does this happen? How come innovation is usually met with resistance, a pattern that has been observed in the last 600 years of human history?
In his new book, Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies,
Calestous Juma, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said people fear new things because they often lose a piece of their identity or lifestyle when something different is introduced.
Thus, when new technologies change normal working routines, employees may feel stressed, confused, or even hostile. This is because you are changing old habits and making workers part with something that they have been using for years.
When new technologies are rejected, it’s bad for business since innovation is the key to survival in the ever-changing marketplace. To prevent that from happening, here are four ways to make technology work for you:
1. Determine what you need
Don’t innovate without a good reason. Before introducing new technologies, ask yourself: Do you really need them or are you wasting money? Are they good for the company? Will they help employees work better? Can they boost productivity, reduce costs, or improve processes? If the good points outnumber the bad, be glad you’ve found the right-fit technology.
2. Create a timeline
Don’t expect new technologies to be adopted by employees at once. It takes time to learn new things, like replacing your landline with a superior VoIP system. So be prepared to explain everything to your people. Train them so they’ll know what to do when confronted with something different. Share your goals with the team and explain how these will benefit the entire organization.
3. Build superstars
To educate employees, get key opinion leaders who can promote new tools. Create your roster of talented tech endorsers to get feedback, influence others, and quell misconceptions or fears about emerging tech.
4. Be supportive
Don’t leave your employees in the dark. Provide the necessary training and support they need, especially during the early stages of implementation. Equip your workers with online manuals so they can learn things at their own pace. Helpful guides and videos will make their lives easier.
Are you prepared to take your business to the next level with the help of new technologies? Start with a reliable managed services provider like Capstone IT. We specialize in managed IT services and have helped many small businesses in the Rochester and Buffalo areas. Consult us today for your tech woes!