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Time to look up? How your mobile may be stifling innovation and productivity.

People using mobiles

While we are increasingly becoming addicted to our devices where does that leave our ability to innovate and build enduring relationships? Two of the most fundamental nutrients to long-term business success.

We’ve got all caught up in devices, email and social tools… but is this at the expense of real relationships? Could this be threatening to undermine the very thing that successful highly adaptable companies really thrive on? Healthy, motivated, people with diverse skills that can work well together towards a clear vision.

As we move towards an era where change is accelerating and the type of change is increasingly transformational in nature, it becomes even more important to have diverse skills collaborating closely in a supportive, nurturing and learning environment. It’s hard to see how we achieve that when most of the time our heads are in our device. This dopamine fuelled addition is also reducing our attention span and ability to create. How many times recently have you just stared out of the window on a train or been sitting in a restaurant on your own just looking around and thinking? Looking around the train right now while typing this (yes, I get the irony!), almost everyone is looking at their phone.

This also extends to our social lives, including the drinks with colleagues after work. There is guaranteed to be at least one who is only half listening because he or she is looking at their phone. That’s basically saying this device is more interesting than you! Suggest leaving your phones at home and everyone thinks you’ve gone mad.

Technology and globalisation will continue to increase the scale and pace of change. 3D printing, AI, Internet of Things…all have the potential to more or less wipe out or at least fundamentally change whole industries, never mind the companies in them.

To stay relevant in the face of such fundamental change needs stronger, more collaborative relationships and even more creativity. It would be very easy to sleepwalk in the opposite direction without realising it. This is without even considering the potential mental health issues I can see down the road as the demand to be always “plugged in” starts to take its toll.

So, my thanks go to Simon Sinek for a timely wake-up call. I for one will be putting the mobile down more often and being more present in the moment, whether at work or at home. I truly hope I can make it an enduring habit as well. After all, real life is the stuff that happens around us while our head is in our device.