Making it digital won’t make it smarter

Some little shops where you often go, give you some simple fidelity cards. You know the one with the empty dots. When you got 10 points, each point for a coffee you already had, you receive the 11th for free. These simple fidelity cards in the format of simple business cards in paperwork quiet well. One of these shops where I often go upgraded their fidelity cards. They aren’t anymore with dots, but with a QR code. That seems smart. You keep the same card, and you don’t have to throw away paper for nothing. Smarter? No. The problem with this «upgrade» is that now I don’t have any idea when I will receive my free gift. I could check with my smartphone. I could take it out, find a QR code scanner app. Install it and then scan the QR code to finally now that I am far away of the gift. In fact, I haven’t scanned that dumb QR code even once. Before, when it was some stupid piece of paper, the fidelity card was much smarter. In a blink of an eye, I knew if I was going to be happy with a free meal, or just pay it.


This experience shows that simple analogue objects sometimes work just fine. They don’t need to be smarter with digital aspects added to them. I have the feeling that sometimes we try to innovate in fields where innovation isn’t required. There are objects or concepts which work from long ago. It’s not because you translate these notions in the digital world that they will be better. To make something great with digital aspects you can’t just make it digital. You have to start from scratch. That means a lot of research, prototyping, etc. All this for a little thing like a fidelity card which already worked well. So, here is my simple rule for these types of situations:

«If something works already well in analogue form, do not make it digital just to make it sexy. It will just bother people.»