Implementing Emerging Technologies in Spite of Your Day Job

Implementing Emerging Technologies in Spite of Your Day Job
technology

It’s an exciting time to be in Safety and Injury Prevention. The emerging technology is going to make our jobs easier and more effective - once they get implemented.

And therein lies the rub.

We’re all fascinated with and enthusiastic about computer vision, wearable sensors, virtual reality, exoskeletons, and the like. But given your current responsibilities, how do you make time to learn and implement the new technology?

At ErgoScience, we refer to our safety colleagues as “EEAOs” (Everything, Everywhere, All at Once). Safety professionals are tasked with ensuring compliance with safety rules and regulations, implementing training, accident investigation, and follow-up, and staying current with any regulation changes. All of those responsibilities often equal more than a full-time job.

It takes time to learn and implement new technology, even if it’s user-friendly. And after implementation comes the question: “So what?” What is your organization going to do with the new information/data? New technology and the resulting data are of no real use unless they spark change within your organization.

So, what can you do to get the ball rolling with new technology?

  1. Establish goals. Everyone has heard of “SMART” goals, right? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Realistic, with a specific T For example, take computer vision technology for ergonomic assessments. You might set a date by which you’ll have familiarized yourself with the software, another for taking and uploading your first video, a third for creating your first report, and a final goal for presenting your recommendations to management.
  2. Calendar blocking. If you don’t block time on your calendar to do the above steps and honor those time blocks as if they were a meeting with your boss, you’ll be unlikely to happen. There’s always the next training deadline or the next accident to investigate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shirk your other job duties, but calendar blocking helps you put the new technology project as a priority – otherwise, the whirlwind of your other responsibilities will always take precedence.
  3. Enlist an accountability partner. Find someone who is enthusiastic about the new technology as well. Set up brief meetings with that person that correlate to your goals. Present your findings. Ask for help if you are encountering roadblocks of any sort – technical, administrative, data interpretation, and recommendations.
  4. Jumpstart the process with help from experts. Last but not least, it really helps to have an external expert(s) helping you launch the project. They can teach you how to use any software and interpret reports faster than you can muddle through it on your own. 

 

In the case of computer vision technology, they may be able to conduct the first few analyses so that you have some examples for reference. They can provide a template for your summary reports. In the case of wearable sensors, they can help you build a meaningful dashboard and suggest metrics to track that address your specific issues.

Certainly, you’ll pay for those services. But what’s the lost opportunity cost to your organization if you don’t fully implement the technology or don’t implement it effectively? What’s the cost to your reputation if you don’t have the bandwidth to follow through?

According to a recent survey that ErgoScience conducted with regard to the implementation of technology, the bandwidth to implement was the second most cited reason (behind price) not to implement technology.

Maybe it’s better to put the technology in the hands of fewer people, get some external guidance and assistance for implementation among the selected associates, and establish a team of internal “experts” and champions before you roll the technology out company wide. During the pilot, you’ll learn things specific to the application of the technology to your organization that will make it easier for a large cohort of folks to learn.

The world of technology is rolling along – sometimes at a breakneck speed - and those who embrace it will be the leaders in their organizations and in their industries. Don’t let bandwidth hold you back.

And if you need an expert to guide you through the process, contact us to start a conversation.

 

Source: 5 Emerging Technologies in Ergonomics and Why They Matter (assp.org)

Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.
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