I do a lot of consulting. And consulting involves a lot of listening. A few too many times in the last month I have heard phrases like these tossed around a bit too carelessly:
- “the right application of technology”
- “applying technology to the right efforts”
- “use technology to our advantage”
I began to wonder if those speaking these words understand that technology isn’t a substance nor is it purely mythical whimsey. I trust they do. Yet, to my ears it sounds like technology is either thought to be a magic bullet or some kind of enhancer applied only for making projects or efforts seem “modern.” I’m sure those using this language don’t grasp technology concepts to the depth I do (nor do I believe everyone should have to), but it is curious how technology is referenced by some almost like a food additive or seasoning — something not quite definable but assumed it must be included for a satisfactory end product. They’re convinced this “technology” does something they must have to “get it right.”
Cooking and baking actually have some great parallels to technology, but even so, technology itself shouldn’t be described like an ingredient in the recipe. Rather, technology should be considered the oven, the pan, or the cookie sheet. It is the enabler for solutions, not a single-ingredient solution unto itself.
Rather than take the time to expound all the finer differences of technology usage, I’m using the cooking analogy these days to help explain such concepts (as are some of my colleagues.) Inspired by the success of this approach, I whipped up a tongue-in-cheek prop to further help illustrate why technology can’t be viewed as a “sprinkle-on solution” for merely spicing up efforts:
Here’s a flattened (and stitched) version of the spice jar label:
So far, this one has gotten some great chuckles from those who have seen it… followed by some weak smiles — the recognition that perhaps we occasionally do expect to sprinkle on the magic technology seasoning to fix up all that troublesome “stuff.”
What’s your reaction?