Automation anxiety and the trouble with humans [Podcast]

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Katie Sadler

“I wanted to file a patent or a trademark on #automationanxiety because it's a real thing,” said IEEE’s Lee Coulter

End of the hype cycle

The automation hype cycle has lasted five years but over the last 12 months, conversations have turned to change management explains Lee Coulter, CEO at Ascension Shared Services and chair of IEEE’s Working Group on Standards in Intelligent Process Automation.

“How far can you push a rope before somebody needs to pull it the rest of the way through the hole,” he explains to AIIA Podcast host Seth Adler. “You've pushed automation into your organization, but you've gotten about 12 per cent of the capacity back. Then you start to notice that you're pushing, but nothing is happening. Then you get a little bit of more traction because you get upset and you issue some edicts and tell people, just do it!”

“There was bafflement among the early practitioners. Why is this encountering a barrier? What is both surprising and fascinating is that all the basic tenets of change management apply here.”

“Having done change management and major change initiatives for so many years, I thought I knew what I was going to find”

You can make some pretty good predictions about where to expect resistance or change fatigue. Truly in my heart, having done change management and major change initiatives for so many years, I thought I knew what I was going to find.”

Join Adler as he picks up on a previous conversation with Lee Coulter.

Listen to this forward-thinking podcast and discover why Coulter believes anthropomorphization or human bot harmony is an essential tool in an organization's tool belt.


Top takeaway from this week’s podcast

Establish training for a human and digital labor force

“When you move from tactical automation, which is opportunistic, fundamentally cost-oriented automation, pretty much everybody loves that. It's stuff the people didn't want to do. The managers didn't want to manage. The leaders were just irritated that even existed, and the business is really happy to be without.

“Now what we're finding is all of a sudden you're into the stuff where people are like okay, now I have to change. Our challenge was in the frontline supervisor. The people that we had somehow unreasonably expected to know how to manage a human and digital labor force together.”