Overdose Digital

January 31, 2023

High-Tech, High-Touch... motto or dilemma?

The expression initially coined to describe the challenge of reconciling digital scalability and humanized engagement in client relations was, gradually, also applied to organizational inner challenges.

As work relations have been reshaped over the past decades in the wake of the social ethics transition, expression high-tech, high-touch presented itself as a fundamental premise along the digital transformation journeys. Trinomial connection-experience-expression has become the aspirational symbol in the social ethics of pleasure, where even the digitization forces should, in theory, be harmonized with the emphasis on the humanization of work relations.

Technology in itself is always neutral, but not always is its application. The successive waves of automation and digital initiatives taking place within large organizations (not only, but mostly, in the past 20 years) had focused primarily on binomial productivity-efficiency. Simplicity, traceability and speed in human capital management processes were the determining premises of countless associate work-shift designs. It is a fact that employee-centrality was on the agenda at several moments, but it would be hypocritical to say that perspective overshadowed the look at costs – it was a delicate balance, at best.

The abstraction of the physical for the digital matrix is expressed in multiple dimensions of our lives. From the imminent disappearance of paper money to the growing relevance of dating platforms. It has been no different on the corporate routine... The very abstraction of the place of work to countless virtual variations, in formats and rules, presents itself as one of the latest frontiers in the growing relativization of professional relations (soon, probably, it will be the turn of the work permits).

Oftentimes, contradictions, paradoxes and incoherences emerge in the wake of innovations announced with all pomp and circumstance. And it is not any different in the daily experience with the motto (or dilemma) High-Tech, High-Touch. The same technologies that have enabled flexibility and breadth have resulted in distancing and distortions.

Where is the balance between the unimaginable possibilities associated to high tech, and the necessary high-touch stays that ensure the humanization of organizational environments?


Daniel Augusto Motta é Managing Partner e CEO da BMI Blue Management Institute. Doutor em Economia pela USP, Mestre em Economia pela FGV-EAESP e Bacharel em Economia pela USP. É Alumni OPM Harvard Business School. Atua também como Managing Partner da corporate venture capital WhiteFox sediada em San Francisco (EUA), como Senior Tupinambá Maverick na content tech Bossa.etc e com Membro do Conselho de Administração da Afferolab. Também atua como Diretor de Planejamento Estratégico da UNIBES e Membro do Conselho Deliberativo do MASP. Foi Membro-Fundador da Sociedade Brasileira de Finanças. Foi Professor nos MBAs da Fundação Dom Cabral, Insper, FGV, ESPM e PUC-SP. É autor de diversos artigos publicados por Valor Econômico, EXAME, VocêSA e Folha de São Paulo, e também tem três artigos publicados pela Harvard Business Review Brasil. É autor dos livros best-sellers A Liderança Essencial, Anthesis e Data Insights.