Problem-solving shouldn’t need huge amounts of imagination

Stu MacLaren

March 13, 2023

Very early on in my venture into the tech space I attended a conference where a keynote address, by a country manager of a large consultancy firm, ended on a point which has stuck with me. To paraphrase the point, she said that we have reached a point where tech is no longer a limiter but rather the human imagination is.

Now initially I found this to be quite a daunting statement. She basically said it’s 'us' that will be solely accountable if there is a lack of progress, development, etc.

Fortunately since then I have seen how true this sentiment has been, and I have struggled to see a problem that could not be solved through leveraging the tech at our disposal. More importantly, I have been fortunate to see/experience that with the right technology combined with the right 'imagination' the world is our oyster.

But then again, maybe I had reason to doubt that statement all those years ago.

My recent experience has shown me perhaps we do need tech to evolve slightly in order to achieve more audacious goals. Tech needs to evolve to remove limitations entirely, and make problem-solving easier. Basically, with the right technology, any question should be answerable. Businesses should not have to rely on huge amounts of imagination to solve problems like “What do we need to do to be X% more profitable by Y?”

During my short tenure at Ramp I have seen this evolution take place. Initially I was blown away as I experienced Jai and Angus tell our clients what they needed to do, and how to do it. Leveraging the Ramp platform, they could quickly answer questions from clients like “How can we get maximum ROI?” “How do we increase our profit?” and many more. Clients were given solutions, all backed by data-driven insight and without having to wait for the call to end first.

Luckily for us, and unlucky for others, there aren't many Jai's and Angus's in the world.

But with the support of an incredible team of exceptional individuals I then experienced our clients unpack and gain similar insights without a Jai or an Angus in the room. How? Ramp removed the tech limitations that previously hindered problem-solving. Clients were able to answer questions and address issues that had troubled them for weeks (and even years), and they were able to do so quickly, sometimes within days or even during the onboarding process.

Now look, I am going to caveat this by saying not all business challenges can be solved through asking a platform a simple question and making a decision off the back of the output it generates.

My point is I have seen businesses stumble and waste time trying to make decisions, have circular debates filled with empty hypotheticals all while trying to execute blanket solutions at the same time because of the lack of access to tech, or because they have the wrong tech for the job.

Do you agree with me on this? Connect with me on LinkedIn and let's debate it.