“Your simple reality- you won’t solve complex new problems using old methods!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s fascinating – and frustrating – to watch organizations try to cope with a new reality by clinging to what worked in their old reality.
Right now, we are in the midst of a world in which various groups of big government organizations around the world are trying to build big systems to manage complex vaccination logistics and appointment systems.
It’s not going well.
They cling to a belief that they can throw old, outdated technology and system concepts – centralized architecture and legacy technology – at massive new challenges. The problem is that what they’ve built in the past – driver licence registration systems, tax systems, business registration – don’t work in a new reality in which millions of people all want to press ‘Submit’ at the exact same moment in time.
It’s not like this is a new problem.
We saw it happen with the rollout of healthcare reform in the US many years ago – and the implementation of one big, large legacy system that simply could not keep up. It wasn’t until a group of senior executives brought in their Silicon Valley, fast-world tech smarts that a reliable, scalable system was built.
We should be doing the same thing. Our new world of IT involves the massive coordination of fast teams, the rapid implementation of scalable cloud servers, new methods of coding and construction and other methods that world-class organizations have been using to build a massively scalable system.
The geeks could save the world if we asked them – and yet oldsters in charge of government haven’t asked them, because they seem to still be living in the world of mainframes and Cobol.
Do I sound frustrated? By all means – because in the meantime, organizations on the front line – hospitals, pharmacists, regional health care authorities – are having to roll out what is essentially a series of Google forms to dump data into a spreadsheet on the backend. It’s a bandaid system that can’t cope with what is a massive flood of demand.
It’s not going to end well.
And the thing is, we know better. We should be able to do better.
The problem that many organizations have in this new world is that they think that old methodologies can be applied to new challenges; that stale concepts of how to manage problems can fix the new ones; that the structure and process of the past can deal with a future that is staggeringly different.
It’s not a lot of fun to watch a train wreck in real-time.
Particularly when there are thousands of us – no, millions – out there who know how to do it better.