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What the heck is a sociotechnical system?

First, what’s a system?

Put simply, it means you have different entities working together for some unified goal.

So, a sociotechnical system is simply a system comprising of both social (human individuals, teams, businesses, etc) entities and technical (software, robots, AI, etc) entities working together.

Cool, but haven’t we had sociotechnical systems for ages now?

Yes, we have. However, the technical side has always been in the background. Today, developments in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence means we may see a complete shift in this balance.

We see it happening now with garbage, auto-generated social media posts and blogs. As the capacity increases, for these new developments, it completely changes the equation of many of these existing systems.

The bar for competence will raise - it will no longer be enough to be mediocre if you can get that for cheaper and faster. And, similarly, the value of excellence will go up - it’s no longer an advantage if everyone has access to mediocre, yet excellence shines through even more powerfully.

So, how can you tweak your systems to help encourage excellence? What is okay left to mediocre? What are the biggest points of leverage in your competitive landscape?

These are questions worth asking if you ask me.


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