Paul Miller, VP, Principal Analyst and Dan Bieler, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

There’s little doubt that automation technology can deliver efficiency and process optimization. But is automation technology a creativity killer? Not in the view of analysts Paul Miller and Dan Bieler, who laid out their arguments in a session at Forrester’s Technology & Innovation EMEA event last fall. In this episode of What It Means, we’ll revisit that session and learn how automation technology can, in fact, be used to enable human-centered innovation.

The discussion focuses on the European market — where automation is having a significant (if varied) impact across regions and industries — while also examining the impact within manufacturing specifically. Bieler level-sets the conversation by emphasizing the value of creativity within a business context, saying, “Creativity is really essential during the identification of a customer challenge or a business objective … creativity is the basis for coming up with a solution to a problem or opportunity.”

So where does technology fit in that equation? To answer that question, Miller points to European manufacturers’ creative switch to robot-led remote inspections and repairs during the early days of the pandemic. It’s such a good example of how a robotic technology can enable human creativity so that “we don’t see anyone going back from it now, because they discovered it gets the job done cheaper, faster, and more effectively than the old way of sending engineers out on planes and trucks,” he says.

The most creative and engaged employees are often those who feel the most valued and trusted by their employers, and rumors of their being replaced by robots can send even your best employees running for the exits, so positioning of your automation usage is key. Miller provides guidance on how to communicate the value of automation technology to the workforce. To bring that point home, the analysts walk through several diverse examples of European firms that have successfully implemented automation technology alongside human workers to enable more innovation and creativity.

If you find this episode interesting, be sure to check out the agenda for our upcoming Technology & Innovation EMEA event in London, October 13–14, where both Miller and Bieler will be presenting on related topics.