Some organisations. are in the midst of starting their digital transformation journey, while others have been on the journey for years. And I’m not talking about switching from fax to email, paper to word processors and spreadsheets. For some it is collecting survey data on phone rather than a clipboard. While for others it’s figuring out how to ‘think’ digitally in their approaches to their project implementation.
At the same time there are actors who want to manage as much of the humanitarian data as possible. Centralise it all. This comes with good and less good intent. And in many ways it is aligned with ‘how we have always done things’ in society. We have tended to centralise systems for various reasons and it has ‘mostly’ worked (especially if you are not part of a vulnerable or minority group).
When people start to question if there might be a different and potentially better way, we run into resistance. The status quo has momentum and relinquishes momentum slowly. There are obvious barriers like legal ones, capacity, and ‘it’s too hard.’ But underlying all these is often a lot of fear. Fear of the unknown, yes. But more specifically, it is fear related to status, (which is often intimately connected with power), job security, and control.
For change to take root, we need understand and address the underlying issues, not just the surface ones. One effective way to help with this is telling stories about people, people like us doing things like this. People with fear, anger, and joy resisting but also stepping out and realising it is ok. And perhaps even stories that can be revisited as the journey continues. Figuring this out might just be the most important thing.