Suddenly everything is Smart. Or is it?


Among the many dictionary definitions of smart are: “having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability” or “shrewd or sharp, as a person in dealing with others or as in business dealings”. So it would seem that it is a character trait. A way of working, behaving, thinking.

Suddenly though, everything with a battery or a cable is apparently smart. Smart TV, Smart Phone, Smart Watch, Smart Toothbrushes that tell your dentist if you are brushing enough. Don’t forget to connect them all up in your Smart Home. I spent six hours on Friday afternoon crawling on a succession of (not-so) Smart Motorways which is what got me thinking about this topic.

So have we forgotten what being smart really means? I was always told to work smart. It was a mindset, a way of approaching things on a daily basis. When I started managing teams I was trained to set people Smart Objectives (a topic for another blog perhaps) but they were all ways of approaching specific tasks to achieve positive outcomes. Are we now saying that instead of a mindset, Smart is just an algorithm? A pre-programmed outcome based on specific criteria being met or not. Just a Logic Gate?

So the dictionary also says “…equipped with electronic control mechanisms and capable of automated and seemingly intelligent operation”. Seemingly…? Hmm.

Let’s just all keep in mind that Smart devices are only as smart as the teams that create or programme them and can’t learn in the way that you can. Don’t give up on working smart, looking smart when you meet a client, and all of the positive connotations of being perceived as smart. You are not an algorithm, you are an ever evolving personality and that is (hopefully) why people like you.

But be mindful, as my mother told me, nobody likes a Smart Arse.