Sun Traps and Operational Context

by | May 26, 2020 | Change, ICT4D |

If you step onto our patio, turn left and sit outside the kitchen window, you’ll find yourself on in sheltered sun trap. It’s a lovely place to sit, warm and cozy, even if the rest of the patio is a bit cool. Different plants grow there than on the rest of the patio or even the property.

Similarly, there is another spot, not a sun trap, but which is sheltered from the wind. Again different plants grow there.

When we take plants from these areas and move them to other spots in the garden, they don’t flourish as well. Some even die. The growing conditions matter.

Seems fairly common sensical and understandable. The same applies to technology and how we ‘go digital.’ Context matters. Operational context and organisational context. And while an organisation may operate in many different locations, the organisational context in each location may still be different. Just like our garden has various different growing conditions.

Context matters. Too often when we ‘pilot’ or experiment with a new technology, we test if the technology works and what the business processes are. If we’re lucky, we consider people – what capabilities they need, how the technology impacts roles, and so on. Occasionally we think about the operational context. Too often though we fail to consider the organisational context and culture in that location that helps or hinders success or failure.

All organisations have sun traps and places sheltered from the wind. These places allow innovations to flourish, new technology to take off. However, we need to be careful when we think we can easily transplant what ‘grows’ in these locations to other places.

Context and culture matter. They matter more than we think. We pay too little attention to them at our peril.

Photo by Rampal Singh


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