Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

The Future of Retail 2017, PSFK’s newest report, examines the current retail landscape and provides insights into an industry that is increasingly data-centric and online-based. Below are insights from the Founder of NOBL Bud Caddell who has been focused on systems design for over 15 years and went on to be named “one of the most creative people under 30” by Business Insider. 

There’s a paradox in retail: we want thinking machines and programmable people. We’re giving autonomy to screens, equipment, and all manner of sensors, and taking it away from our frontline staff. We prize machine learning and human rigidity. The increasing cost of labor and the shrinking of microprocessors (both in size and price), have led to this paradox, and the rise of Big Data only promises to exacerbate it. The problem is, data answers questions, but won’t tell you what questions to ask—you’ll be overwhelmed by all of the data you’ll receive from kiosks, appliances, cameras, or apps. Despite advances in technology, the most capable sensors and the most responsive interfaces are still your workforce. Your staff must be critical partners and sensors of change.

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