People and Technology (Part 3)

by | Sep 12, 2018 | PACE approach

Paintbrushes and Coffee

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology 

Our person with an idea needs a name, otherwise this story will be too hard to follow. Let’s make the name Jon, because that could be short for Jonathan or Joni, and whether our main character is male or female isn’t of relevance to the story. We just need a person to take the initiative and act, and while any name would do, we’ll run with Jon.

Jon pulled out a new journal on the way to work, and got ready to think in ink. The fast train always provided a way of getting into the flow for Jon; the rushing scenery that made it hard to discern objects in detail served as a reminder to pull back from the specifics and notice the bigger picture. The swaying of the train, the low murmuring of discussions throughout the carriage, and the smell of fresh coffee wafting from the onboard cafe helped too. 

Jon was fascinated by the intersection created between people and technology. By the opportunity that people had to choose their own tools in the first instance, but how those tools then came to define the chooser. The kid playing with a hammer became the builder. The teenager selecting the perfect paint brush became the painter. The baker of cakes for school fund raising became the restaurant owner. The guy with an email address became the prolific and relentless writer and checker of emails. What technology offered as a gift to each one became part of who they became: a learned response, an ingrained behaviour, an expected approach.

But what has been done in the past could be changed in the future, and Jon had seen it change with friends over the past 15 years. The builder embraced a nail gun. The painter uses a spray machine. The veritable sender of email switches to using Slack. Change is possible across all the roles, but change must be seen to be relevant, applicable, and delivering value. At an individual level – person-by-person in isolation where the actions of one don’t have an immediate effect on others – the journey of modernisation and change is only a matter of a new decision, a new skill, and a willingness to try. In a larger group context, where people work together and are inter-dependent on each other to deliver something of combined value, a re-forming of how the group works together is required. While one can champion for change, one can’t force the change, but must instead take others on the journey of change.

The conductor’s announcement interrupted Jon’s thinking; it was time to get off the train. Jon looked at the writing on the page, and circled two words: “people” and “technology.” It was a good and essential start, although nothing earth-shattering.

But what else?

To be continued … 

See Part 4. Unpacking People

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