Jonathan Tarud, Koombea
How Technology Spurs Innovation (And Can Spur Positive Change)
Consumer technology products are changing our world. From bracelets that track our health and prevent emergencies, to more accessible and targeted education, technology is becoming more capable and empowering.
But—as we’ve learned from the Spider-Man saga—with great power, comes great responsibility.
People’s needs are powerful and technology is a powerful way to meet those needs, but we need to be cautious and make sure that the products and platforms we’re building are actually engendering a positive change for the intended audience.
Let’s look at three ways technology is bringing about positive change in the world around us.
A More Health-Conscious Community
People now have all the tools they need to both maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent health emergencies before they happen.
With the help of fitness trackers like Fitbit that sync with smartphone apps and websites, people can count their daily steps, track their sleep habits, and see how many calories they burn in a workout. With special features that allow them to share achievements and progress toward goals with friends, they have extra motivation to get active and stay healthy.
In terms of preventing health emergencies, there is some exciting technology on the horizon in 2015. ADAM (Asthma Detection and Monitoring) is a wearable, three-sensor monitor that will hit the market later this year. It will help the growing population of Asthma sufferers (over 25 million in the U.S. alone) detect symptoms of Asthma, provide alerts, monitor respiration and heart rate, and listen for wheezing.
A Greener Environment
Technology — while sometimes damaging to the environment in the past — is now showing its potential as a change agent capable of wielding a tremendously positive effect. And there are big things in store for “green technologies” in 2015.
And much of it has to do with helping people form better habits.
You may be familiar with smart technologies like Nest, which help people track the energy they use in their homes and businesses and reduce their energy bills. Well, in 2015, apps like Think Dirty—which allows people to scan a product’s bar code to see whether any of its ingredients are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, or neurotoxins—will take it to the next level.
Then there are apps like iRecycle, which lets you know the nearest location where you can properly dispose of almost any household item.
Technologies like these solve important needs. Many people want to be more environmentally conscious, and these apps remove the obstacles and make it easier for them.
A Learning Revolution
Technology is making it easier to learn, grow and spread ideas. From artists to students, it’s never been easier to learn and build a new skill set, or grasp an idea.
Mobile technology allows for continuous learning. In other words, education is no longer a finite resource tied to school systems. With innovative online education platforms, shared information, and instant access to educational content at any time of day, the classroom can follow people wherever they go.
This is all leading to more customized education, where the focus will be much bigger than just digitizing current education systems. It will be more about helping people choose their own paths and follow their passions by leveraging their talents. And that will set the stage for even more amazing new ideas.
People’s needs are powerful, and we can meet many of them through technology. Health, environment, education—these are just a few areas technology can be used to reinforce positive change. The possibilities are vast.
Jonathan Tarud serves as CEO and Founder at Koombea that specializes in helping companies launch new products and reach their product market fit. By focusing on big problems and engineering solutions, Koombea harnesses the power of technology for tremendous positive change.