This post was originally published on cpsrenewal.ca.
This quote from South by Southwest was making the rounds yesterday:
It connects to Nick’s post last week (see: Dragon’s Dens, Hackathons, and Innovation Labs. Nick questioned whether such approaches are being used as innovation band-aids, plastered over more fundamental problems:
If pressed to offer a TL;DR of the problem I would say that the core challenge facing public sector institutions right now is that industrial age organizational models don’t jive with digital age cultures and technologies.
I don’t know if I can fully back the idea that it’s the core challenge, but I’d agree that it’s a major one (see: We Don’t Make Widgets Any More or Healthcare.gov as a Case Study in the Digital Analog Divide).
We mistake the use of digital technology as evidence that we know how to use digital technology. Really, we’re still very much so learning this world and discovering its potential and limits. We absolutely should continue to push the boundaries, but it strikes me that we’re undervaluing reflection on what our recent history has meant.
Humans are still human, if not more human than ever. Mid-century economic models assuming rational actors with perfect information have given way to the understanding that humans are not just irrational, but
predictably irrational. Face-to-face canvassing impacts voter turnout at 5-8 times the rate that mail or phone calls do. Humans respond to what is meaningful to them, particularly connections to other humans.
Consider the Sandy Carter quote. Similarly, technology has helped people unearth many, many problems that always existed, but were hard to see. And the inadequacies of many of our solutions.