I had a great conversation today that I wanted to capture. It was about a familiar theme - software, productivity and empathy.

My theory is that knowledge work, especially that in teams, requires a deeper understanding of individuals. However, there is no dominant way to accelerate a team from forming to performing. There is a lot (maybe billions of hours) of lost productivity because of simple conflicts that could be prevented with a little more empathy.

I wonder if software can help.

The software to help knowledge work has helped us connect and automate - but hasn’t really helped us understand each other. Yes there are personality tests and those are useful, but they are tried and seldom revisited.

It’s hard to estimate the size of this as an opportunity - productivity isn’t tracked, let alone consistently that gives us any empirical evidence. But anecdotal experience and the stories of work are filled with conflict that could have been prevented with greater empathy for each other.

I’m really interested to see how software will move to solving those higher order problems.