My Pi-spective on Technology

My Pi-spective on Technology

(A pi-spective is where you write about something using only 314 words)

Technology isn't what we think it is. Or rather, most of us confuse technology with tools. We have lots of tools but our set of technologies is much smaller.

Technology is an organised doctrine or science of skill or craft. Technology produces tools. Tools inform technology but I believe that one comes before the other.

Effective management is a technology. It produces tools such as frameworks, 2x2 matrices and heat maps. Not all managers apply a clear and explicit technology to what they do. Without intention, people in rote roles are like algorithms.

We build machines to execute algorithms because human's aren't very good at them. Or rather, aren't consistently accurate with their analysis. However we rely on people to form the ethics, rules and strategies of technology.

This is a good thing because we are much better at being creative and there is a critical element of creativity in technology. Business is a fundamentally creative activity and the role of the manager is to make strengths of people effective in terms of creative contribution to the organisation's strategic aims.

This is why effective management is a technology. There is a lot of necessary organising around the doctrine that we apply to the craft in question. If we don't organise and don't know our doctrine, we can't be managing effectively.

Good management is a technology but good technology isn't management. We can play around with all sorts of tools, knick-knacks and gee-gaws that come straight from HBR or whatever, but without organised intention its just so much hand waving.

One great thing about management as a technology is that you have great scope to design and invent tools. Effective management tools are easy to change, communicate and evolve. The best ones are useful for generations, centuries even.

Double entry bookkeeping is possibly the best example of a tool designed by an effective management technology.

Image by Jean-Marie Grange via Unsplash