All of us face limitations in what we can accomplish. There are only so many hours in
a day, and our human minds can, roughly speaking, only process or actively remember
so much at any one time.
Knoweldge workers make use of valued tools to get more done and to make their lives feel simpler. People can become adept at arranging and manipulating the world around them to make their actions easier, thereby improving their ability to accomplish certain outcomes. By appropriating useful artifacts into their practices, individuals and their organizations can positively transform work that would otherwise require tedious labor or complex mental operations.
Product teams can envision opportunities for knowledge workers to distribute effort among themselves, their colleagues, and their computing tools. High level ideation around “what people are good at and what computers are good at”, while useful, may not drive teams to sufficiently consider the particulars of workers’ specialized motives and local cultures. To arrive at powerful and valuable offloading options, teams can focus on possible intersections of specific burdens in work practices and potential technology responses that could either alleviate these burdens or augment workers’ related abilities.
This category contains 6 of the 100 application envisioning ideas in this book:
E1. Offloading long term memory effort
E2. Offloading short term memory effort
E3. Automation of low level operations
E4. Automation of task or activity scenarios
E5. Visibility into automation
E6. Internal locus of control
Product teams can use these ideas to explore potential transformations of work practice through the reduction of specific memory burdens and appropriate automation of operations, tasks, or larger activities. Aging workforces within a product’s demographics, who may be experiencing decreases in some of their faculties, may find such offloading options to be especially valuable.
The central notion of this category is most closely related to the “Exploring work mediation and determining scope” (A), “Considering workers’ attentions” (D), “Supporting outcome exploration and cognitive tracing” (H), and “Facilitating communication” (J) categories.
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