Don’t Start with the Tools: They Are Not Your Final Destination

10 thoughts on “Don’t Start with the Tools: They Are Not Your Final Destination”

    1. Hi Rebecca, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Goodness!! I couldn’t have described the problem as good as those few words you just shared above! So spot on! Scary!

      I surely agree with you that most of the times we seem to get lost ourselves with the tactics, which are easier to obtain and execute than with the actual strategy, which is the tough cookie in this case. It’s also part of the short term vs long term dichotomy, as to which one would your business want to focus on. Hopefully, the long term one, because otherwise we are back to square one, once again!

      Hope it doesn’t happen this time around showing that we have learned the lesson over the last decade… Thanks again for those great comments! 🙂

  1. Great post, Luis. I’d like to insert one another thought, if I may.

    As you point out, tools are enablers – so are values/culture, offices/spaces, skills/expertise, context/purpose, education/training or incentives/motives. These are all enablers to achieve better business results (I’d include process improvements, too).

    So Enablers > Results.

    Now, E2.0, at its core, enables conversations, which in turn lead to better understanding, thus more informed actions.

    So Enablers > [Conversations > Understanding > Actions] > Results.

    I think it’s this bracket that now gets tremendous amplification through new E2.0 conversation patterns (with lots of uncertainty what to do with all these actions).

    Just a thought inspired by your post and maybe way off track.

  2. This line of thought is part of the introduction of any new tool into the workplace. Just recall the user progression for using email, shared calendars, word processors, spreadsheeting, etc. Every one of these took time to be weaved into the way people work every day.

    Looking at E20 in terms of replacing current work practice, it seems the email inbox and the intranet as a task list/sharing/collaborating mechanisms is what is being targeted most. So how can we effectively shift people from the current to the new? Understanding the concept of integrating tools into the work flow that produces a business result is easy enough. Now that we’ve identified the “what to do”, we need a lot more conversation of the “how to do it”.

  3. Funny things tools. If you buy a tool with the intent to use it for what it was designed for, then you had better really understand that, become properly familiar, etc.

    However, sometimes (and I had this epiphany recently) a tool that I had been using for a couple of years (Xmind) actually had a whole raft of other uses. It is basically a mind mapping tool, but it is quite surprising (at least to me) that using the tool, I could create a whole raft of other really useful diagrams (not models exactly because they are really just diagrams), but diagrams that were just about impossible to do any other way. I wouldn’t have thought to draw the diagrams that way, but the tool gave me a thinking model.

    So let’s not just dismiss tools as things that solve specific problems, but let’s look and see what power a tool gives us by opening up our thinking to there ways of solving problems.

    Yes a proper use of a screwdriver is to stir paint (just as k my ex wife!)

  4. I really appreciate your post, as in the last few years I felt a little bit “outdated” in my KM consultancy approach. For years I developed my KM solutions based on the statement “do not start from technology, start from people’s issue and day in the life activities” to make knowledge available when you need it and where you need it. But with the arrival of web 2.0 tool and techniques a strong importance was given to technology and although I am still convinced that a people centric approach to knowledge management is far more better than a technology approach, every day I hear people that stress the importance of tool and technology as the only solution to KM.
    Thank you again for your post, you make me feel better 🙂

  5. Thanks for this great post, Luis. It brings Oscar Berg’s “Don’t start with the tools” one step further: Don’t start with the tools, and don’t talk about changing corporate culture. People don’t want their culture changed! People want their pain points addressed, want their working lives more efficient and fun. When you can achieve this, then the culture will change automatically.
    In my experience, tools can only hinder change, e. g. by lack of usability, but never promote change. This can only be done by people!

  6. TQSM for sharing your thoughts and experience. Many business managers and administrators tend to fall into this trap. The irony is that some don’t learn….and later seek to blame others for failures.

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