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Last week we had a thought experiment with my CSO regarding the challenge of describing spime to a new customer. I started by relating it to our other social constructs like money. If aliens from Mars arrive and don’t have a concept of money, how would one describe it?

“It’s a unified way of defining value to things”, he started. But how can things with so different properties have a unified value system? “Then it changes by supply and demand.”. So it’s not definite, but changing. Alright. “There’s the real economy, meaning that you have power to obtain bare necessities like food and shelter. Then there’s the finance economy, where value is more much fluid.” OK, two different economies running on this money thing. Puzzling.

We have recently seen many bold statements like “Data is the New Oil” and “Everything will be connected” and “Everything-as-a-Service”. These may well be true, but how do we get there?

Most of our current thinking is driven by tradition, education, resistance to change and convenience. Human mind usually abhors disruption, even when it would eventually bring about much better results.

Efficiency is also something which is promoted across industries. It’s good to be more efficient, but what does it actually mean? More work hours, larger amount of products per hour, shorter delivery times? These are all context-specific. How to measure the efficiency of a spa vacation? And why would anyone go on such a thing as vacation, if it’d technically reduce efficiency? Complex.

Industrialists often forget that efficiency is also a social/human construct, which means different things to different people. It might sound more efficient for me to work remotely all the time (living 51km from the office), saving transport costs – but meeting my people physically a few times a week has proven mandatory what comes to, yes, efficient management. Sometimes I find myself being the Chief Empathy Officer.

Data will be the new oil and everything will be connected, but this must be done by placing the human well-being in the center stage. Data is to be used to help people to be more creative and productive, but most of all – happier. Remember the US constitution, Pursuit of Happiness?

Spime service design offers the best framework for human-centric innovation and continuous development, but it requires dropping some heavy dogmas we learned in the university and even before that. Efficiency without human approach leads inevitably to totalitarianism. It sounds alluring though, just using algorithms to control us all.


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