Euan Semple – You haven’t to train people to use your technology

I think about the problem of adoption of technology, and I have blogged about, I tweeted about this yesterday. I was walking away from a conference where a lot of communication folks had been saying “we have a problem with adoption”, or “our staff don’t have access to technology because they’re working out in the street” or whatever… And on my way from that to my next meeting I walked past some guys digging out the road, and they were having a break and they were all standing up with their smartphones. And I thought well, actually, problems with adoption or people not having access to technology, really these days just means they don’t like our boring intranet and what we’re doing with it. They’re having no problem adopting technology in the right circumstances with the right motivation.

And I think that goes back to the thing about skills, you haven’t to train people to use your technology; you’ve bought the wrong tool, frankly. Because nobody trained you to use the internet or Facebook or whatever else, it is just only to the tool’s manufacturer to make it as useful and as easily assimilated as possible. That’s not generally the orientation of people in business systems, almost as interested in making them as obscure and difficult as possible. For all sorts of interesting reasons, but it is also ownership, isn’t it? I mean it’s like the thing that we saw years ago; people who were guarded about saying on an internal system that they had a particular area of expertise, for instance. While happily spread over LinkedIn without thinking about it, but it’s… Then making judgment, sometimes subtle judgments, about who is going to do what with this information, and what’s in it for me, and how much control do I have… And again I guess, I suppose that’s the shift, two shifts. One is the — it used to be that your best technology was available at work, that was where you had the best computers, where you had the faster networks… That’s not being true for a long time, and it’s really, really not true now.

But also it’s the fact that the individuals increasingly are aware of their… they have more control over things. They’re realizing that the stability that an organization used to represent has ceased to be the case. That they have to build networks. They have to connect. They have to be seen to know what they know, and be able to jump ship when they have to, and find the next job. So I think that those two things: the technology be better outside, and more people be more savvy about the boot being on the other foot, if you like, it’s part of what’s putting organizations on depression, they’re beginning to realize this.

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