Stop looking for the Silver Bullet – it doesn't exist

I don’t think that a week goes by without someone somewhere suggesting that their latest piece of technology is a silver bullet for a problem that someone is facing.

People then leap on the back of that technology, or concept, or idea and proclaim it as the new holy grail.

Lake District SnowI’ve been in IT a long time and have never seen one of these technology predictions come to pass in its all things to all men guise.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these technologies/concepts/ideas have made a significant difference to the way that we work, but they’ve never turned out to be the panacea that some professed them to be.

Experience says that IT silver bullets are as common as flying reindeer, or vegetarian great white sharks.

What puzzles me is that people are still looking for and still taken in by the rally cry of another IT silver bullet.

What is it that makes us participate in such madness?

If the car industry tried to tell us that they had invented a vehicle that required no fuel we’d never believe them.

If the food industry tried to tell us that they had invented a meal that would lead to eternal life for everyone we’d treat them with scorn.

If the Emperor tried to convince us that his new clothes were so wonderful and fine we  would surely shout out?

What makes the IT industry different?

Are we spending so much time listening to our own hype that we think it’s the reality?

Do we really want a silver bullet anyway? Sometimes it’s the journey that’s as important as the destination.

Why can’t we recognise the Emperor’s new clothes?

Or perhaps it isn’t just IT?

Why play is vital — no matter your age

I love the TED talks, they are great way of hearing thought provoking ideas presented in a way that is always engaging.

This morning I listened to Stuart Brown talking about why play is vital – no matter your age.

Speaking as a British person, we have a strange relationship with play.

We have invented some of the worlds most popular sports and continue to create new ones, but business is a serious business. And yet, there’s still a lot of business getting done on the golf course.

We all grown when someone asks us to do an “ice breaker”, but I’ve seen people turn into children as they do.

I quite like the concept of the wearable meeting – you’ll need to watch to find out.

There are also interesting thought here for people who work from home and only interact with people on the phone.

What I tend to do is put the TED videos onto my iPod and listen to it in the gym. The audio is often enough, but you also get to sense when there is something interesting to see and can go and have a look.

Idea herding

Swans, swans, swansFor a few days now I’ve been thinking about issues of reuse and exploitation.

How do we get people to reuse things?

How do we get people to exploit what is already there and expand upon it?

The phrase that keeps going through my mind is “herding cats”, so I’ve decided to turn my thoughts to “herding ideas”.

When it comes to idea I think that some are like sheep and some are like cats – that’s about as advanced as my thoughts have got so far.