Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Trust the technology

When is an in-store bakery like a life-support machine?

This riddle popped into my mind as I called for bread after listening on the car radio to a discussion on the government’s proposed legislation on the ‘living wills’ of people on life-support.

Scimitar’s perspective model prompted it. This is the tool we use to try to develop a risk-manageable balance between a firm’s strategy, and the combination of technology and people it uses in trying to achieve it. There is an inherent risk that the technology constrains the people to such an extent that they become detached from the strategy and ultimately detached from their work. Risk management is impossible without this state being addressed. So is trust.

Seen from this perspective, the technology of life-support systems keeps people alive who are detached from life’s generally agreed strategy. My hope is that the legislation is aimed at doing something about it in terms of restoring some trust. The in-store bakery in my local Sainsbury’s does the same for the guys making bread. But nobody seems to be doing anything about it at all.

‘Any organic?’ I asked the guy in the baker’s hat. He looked at the meter on his oven and said ‘five minutes.’ I came back after a stroll round the store. ‘Large white organic, please,’ I said. ‘Only doing wholemeal today,’ he replied.