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Daveslist Volume 3 Issue 11 🤦♂️
Wait, what? Technology matters now?
Continuing a recent theme here, I was at the weekend mulling over the - perfectly correct - narrative that “technology isn’t the most important thing”.
To my mind, this has unfortunately been interpreted by many as “technology doesn’t matter at all”, which has left many organisations in a bit of a pickle.
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Gavin Beckett pointed me to this article, sadly only available now via the Wayback Machine - but then, at the same time, hooray for the Wayback Machine! - in which Andrew McAfee helpful put this more pithily - “it’s not not about the technology”.
Note that he wrote that in 2007.
To be absolutely clear, I am not saying that we need to start putting tech at the forefront of all our discussions around change. Just that, in the classic triumvirate of transformation, the focus must be balanced across people, process, and technology equally.
As Ben Unsworth put it in on Twitter/X, “nuance is hard”. And to be fair, it is. As we can see from the rise of populist politics across the world, people like a simple answer to a complex problem.
People who, for one reason for another, struggled to get their heads around technology problems within their organisations heard the “tech isn’t the most important thing” and interpreting it as meaning they didn’t need to bother with it.
I’m always delighted if the things I write about are of use to people. Sometimes folk need a bit more help - in which case my advisory services might be just the thing they are looking for.
The truth of the matter is that a good team can achieve great things with poor technology - however, it doesn’t mean they should have to. Continuing to ignore issues in the technology space - failing to keep up with upgrades, allowing infrastructure to rot, sticking with outmoded applications - makes your chances of success significantly lower.
So what to do about it? I think we just need to be careful when talking to decision makers about this stuff. ‘Digital’ is all about new ways of working, new roles and skills, different emphasis on whose needs are most important. But we must make the case at the same time that it’s also about using internet-age technology, which needs to be modern, secure, and flexible.
This issue’s links
This Friday, Nick and I will be opening the doors to our ‘innovation igloo’ and you are cordially invited. No, I have no idea either.
I’ve loved supporting Tass Smith as she blogs her work in the digital and technology space at Warwick District Council. Her recent posts on launching a community of practice, and on her noise reduction service design work are fantastic example of the kind of things individuals can do to make a real impact within their organisations. Be more like Tass, if you can.
A lovely example of open product strategy from the GOV.UK Pay team.
The Mysterious Power of the Platform, the Internet’s Building Block - “If everything is a platform—sites for networking, ride-sharing, dog-walking—does that mean nothing is a platform?”
Love the way Coté records his conference talk practice runs for our edutainment. Open working FTW! This one is full of wisdom:
That’s it for this issue. Don’t forget to hit reply if you have any feedback, or forward this on to anyone you think may enjoy it.
Until next time,