Mark Oehlert – The issue is never about technology

I should say that my viewpoint on collaboration and solutions for collaboration is different in the sense that my background is in History and Anthropology. So I look at this very much as a human issue, and that’s why I agree with the idea that vendors – one of the things that I don’t see a lot of people selling, is the idea that organizations… change management and change design within organizations is going to be the single biggest, in my mind, anyway, the single biggest challenge to collaboration going forward. We’ve reached a point where I think with the technology, where… if there’s a technical issue for something and we don’t have a solution today, then things are proceeding fast enough such that we could wait a couple of days and someone will have a product for us. This call is a great example.

I’m essentially calling your computer from my phone but not using my phone as a phone, right. I was on a flight out to San Francisco from Washington. And it was a Virgin America flight so we had wifi. And there was a lady sitting in the window seat. She had her son in between us. He’s about six. And she brought up her laptop and made a Skype video call to her mom, his grandmother, in California during the flight. And I kind of watched as you have to when you’re sitting next to somebody. And afterwards, when she shut the laptop, I said, ‘Does it strike you that that’s the six year old baseline for being able to work with someone and talk with them, that I can make a video call on a free piece of software from an airplane 35,000 feet up.’

So for me, the issue is never about technology. The issue is about, “can we adjust our organizations sufficiently to make use of the technology that we have?”.

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