Moore’s law talks of the number of transistors doubling every two years. Since Moore, the updated version of the law states the speed of computing doubles every 12-18 months. To state the obvious, computing power continues to get faster.
In the financial world, Wall Street expects growth every 3 months without fail.
Both of these expectations shape our world. Most democracies have 4 or 5 year terms. Most board members of charities, not-for-profits have 3 year terms. These now seem like long periods of time.
In many ways the opposite of this is a tree and a garden. Most trees take decades to grow to maturity. You can plant trees, large trees, to transform spaces, however it takes trees years to grow into the soaring heights we imagine. And while you can completely change a garden in a couple of days, it takes years to ‘settle’ in and mature. The thing about a garden is that you could bring in hundreds of plants grown in pots elsewhere. You could plant them in a garden, transforming the look and feel of the place almost instantly. You don’t even need to pay attention to the soil type, light, moisture. Just put them in and instant colour and loveliness.
However, a week or two later you’ll see something different. The plants will not look so lovely. The soil, light, and moisture will begin to matter. After a few months, plants will have died, flowers fallen off, and it will be different.
Technology can be wonderful. It can help us transform our organisations and how we help others. In some cases overnight. However, like a the flowers, the technology will wilt quickly if the ‘space’ into which it is planted is not supportive of it. With tech it is not about soil, but most often about the business processes, the people, the culture, the context, and so on. This the ‘soil’ for the technology and this, this takes time to mature. It needs tending to.
Speed can be great. Speed can be very helpful. However, it can also push us into short term thinking expecting instantaneous results. We must involve people who think long term, who ‘see’ the long term – they tend to be the ‘gardeners’ of organisations. Find them. Seek them out. You’ll be glad you did as they will help you build something that lasts.
Photo by Veronica Reverse