Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Apr 2018

Current vs Currents

Composing this as the start of yet another Excel class is about to begin. The framing is simple — to get a company of people who do various transformations and reporting with data to have the same floor — yet the feeling is not one where there has been much movement. An outsider teaching others how to use their tooling to do some aspect of their work feels like a bit of greaseing the wheel for a train which will never be moved forward. And yet, here again, there’s a sense of the current activity not exactly lining up with the currents of what it means to work.

This isn’t abnormal when some kind of paradigm shift is present. The current tools, methods, and perceptions which have led to a paradigm shift are certainly entrenched to continue life as it is. There’s a comfort and balance with understanding what might be able to work, what doesn’t work, and wrapping up those tools and methods around these perceptions. This is how work gets done. Right up until it becomes a limiter to the outcomes which made that work necessary.

The currents at play in the workspace/workplace include machine learning-infused tools, empathy and clarity, equity and equality, and a healthy does of boundaries/margin. We notice these things, but don’t always go about the work of changing how we work because of them. And this is a problem, at some point, the work either enables us to stay current, or moves us forward with the currents towards the next islands of opportunity and advancement. Rarely does the work enable both.

It is probably clear from the initial context this work sounds merely operational, not creative/production-focused. Yet, bending into just that perspective would not be too wise. Every space which has been touched by some aspect of connectivity or digitization is under the threat of the current work not allowing the current workers to flow with the current rate of change. We want to remain employed, yet gain the benefits of higher productivity per person. We want feelings of association and neighborhood-ness to broker what’s authentic, but also the constraints of safety, security, privacy, and agency. The currency of our age is changing, and its not really about keeping folks current as much as it is helping them utilize a suitable-enough oar so they could navigate where change might be directing them.

Avanceé responds to this by enabling those in this Excel class to not thing about “how do I do my job” but rather, “what are the things this tool enables my job to do better.” We have a focus on asking a better question of our tools, methods, and processes so that our perspective towards responding to change enables us to address the current needs, while also skating to where the puck will be. This is what it means to be “Avanceé” — being just outside of the box enough to see and create the next best responses. Is this something you and your team/organization could use help stepping through? If so, get in touch and let’s use those oars together.