In gardening one of the key components is the soil. What type – clay, sandy, rocky, and so on – of soil you have impacts the plants you can grow. But also the health of your soil or the level of nutrients in it. Plants use the nutrients in the soil as feed to grow and produce flowers, fruit, vegetables and so on.
So when your soil is poor you have two choices. Do you focus on the soil or the plants? If you choose plants you tend to add into the soil nutrients (often fertiliser) that the plants need for their growing season. If you choose the soil, you add nutrients (often compost, manure, etc.) to help the soil become healthy.
In simplistic term, if your soil is healthy it will provide all the nutrients plants need for growing, so it is a longer term solution. Adding nutrients just for the plants works well in the short term, but over time tends to reduce the quality of the soil even further. The choice is up to us.
Similarly as we seek to digitally transform organisations we have short term options and long term options. Improving people’s digital literacy, understanding of responsible data and technology use, is a bit like creating healthy soil. Training people in how to use one solution is the short term option.
And yes, you can do both, however most training on a solution, when done well, is a one-off experience with a bit of ongoing support. Building digital literacy and responsible data knowledge takes repeated engagement, ongoing discussions, and continual learning. It is often slow at first and then picks up pace when the foundational elements are grasped. Very similar to improving soil quality.
The choice is up to us.
Photo by Clay Banks