Innovation comes from people looking at what they are doing and finding new or better ways to achieve outcomes. Innovation is about inspiration and finding new solutions. While automation can repeat a task over and over again, it has no way of objectively assessing what it is doing and determining if it’s the right thing, or even the best thing to do.
It takes ingenuity and creativity to design a car or write a computer program. While automation can help with those tasks, creating new things takes a degree of creativity that automation is simply not capable of. Creativity comes from experience and the ability to think outside of the parameters of a specific situation.
People are amazing problem solvers. They use insight and experience and approach situations from different perspectives. Once we solve a problem, and know the solution can be applied repetitively to solve the same problem, we can leverage automation. When automation encounters something unexpected and fails, a person needs to look at what happened, analyse the situation and come up with a new solution or handle the exception.
Value at work comes from much more than simply executing tasks. When people work together they bounce ideas off each other and team up to create things that, individually, they couldn’t achieve. One of the most important human skills we can bring to our work is empathy the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Automation is bereft of empathy, all it can do is follow rules.