The current culturalist vs technologists discussion at Gapingvoid certainly gets the good old gray matter going, slowly but surely. Here's another punt at one of the core issues:
[NOTE of SIMPLIFICATION:] Here I use culture as in work and life - not the artistic, taste & refinement (hmpff) or agricultural versions. Technology as in technology for users, not the CERN or NASA versions.
Culture equals "this is the way we always do it".
Technology equals "this is the way you always have to do it".
Workplaces uses technology in abundance, almost no task or process happens without technology tools.
Change culture, and the supporting technology falls offside. Change technology and you get a "huh?"
Work life examples:
Technology that was easily adapted:
What's common? No preset culture for their use.
More technology that was easily adapted:
- word processors, accounting software etc. etc.
- copy machines
Common? No real change to culture, at most a tweak.
Technology that changed work culture:
- Mr Ford's Highland Park plant in December 1913.
- Ehh, seems that was the only one. Anybody who has more?
So, what if we want to change a set culture? At work for example.
- Do we need to change culture at work?
- How the heck can we do that as long as the technology is omnipresent?
- Exhibit 1: A few million readers of Dilbert. Exhibit 2: We all know we need to. Simple as that. Exhibit 3: The amounts spent on consultants etc. Could make economic sense.
- Smoothly, smoothly. Under the radar, unimposing, clever, change the technology incrementally.
Yeah, easy to say smoothly and clever, but how?
Let me suggest what we need:
Technology built for easy change to "how things are done" incrementally or in one go, that can mimic current ways, then leave it to the underlying forces.
That would do the trick, that could let the cultural change-forces loose.
Lemme see now, what does the "enterprise systems big boys" offer, any hope here?
"Best practices" software with some "Adapt to market changes". Duh.
Not a word about "adapt to cultural changes", no "adapt to completely new ways of running your business". Nope, nothing.
And we know all too well how flexible they are. Like not at all.
Crap stuff for cultural change fans.