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The Power of Combining Form and Function

The unveiling of Pebble Steel at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier today triggered a series of thoughts that ultimately led me to ponder the power of combining form and function.

Too often, of course, we hear about solutions that offer either one or the other – really pretty gadgets, for instance, that don’t offer very much in terms of utility, or information management systems that can do all kinds of wondrous things but are just too hard to use. So when Pebble announced a smartwatch that, well, looks like a watch and not like a geek toy, it occurred to me that this could serve as a terrific object lesson.

Consider the impact on these habitually thorny issues:

  • User Adoption: technology that readily blends into the workday and works well means two critical objections are overcome at once
  • Change Management: engaged early adopters create a positive buzz that others actively seek to be part of
  • Training and Support: the emergence of a community of ‘pioneers’ means people will ask questions of each other as they put the new solution through its paces, if not lessening the load on the help desk then at least changing the nature of the help requested

There’s plenty more to the story than this, of course, but I suspect you see what I see: the opportunity to derive incredible value from the technology you embrace by ensuring you pay attention to not only how it works, but how it plays to your users as well.

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