Ideals, Trade Offs, and Compromise

by | Apr 6, 2022 | Change, ICT4D |

Ideals, Trade offs, and compromise

During high school and into college, I had FOMO before FOMO was even a thing. I worried about missing out. This resulted in some interesting logistical challenges as I tried to ‘make an appearance’ at more than one event. I knew life was about trade offs, but I didn’t know how to or want to trade.

Trade offs continue to haunt me. Working with systems and people is all about trade offs. And there is no perfect answer, especially in the midst of a crisis. There isn’t one ideal way to register, enrol, deduplicate, and track interactions with millions of people all in different locations. And all on the move. You or the organisation you work with may have determine what the ideal looks like for you , your context, and your part of the millions. But what happens when my ideal is different? And Jose’s is different again? So is Kristin’s? And so on.

Trade offs and power wars.

As an old friend said to me once, ‘I can make the system 100% secure, no problem. But it will not have any use to you or anyone.’ Similarly we can make deduplication relatively straightforward, but then everyone has use the same system and it has be online all the time. The consolidation of data also results in the consolidation of power, which unfortunately usually makes the data un-usable for assistance work.

My ideal may be ideal for me but not you. So we are back to trade offs and compromise. And yes, you can reread the post substituting efficient for ideal. When trying to figure out trade offs and compromise, perhaps it’s helpful to consider the whole picture, not just a part. Also perhaps expand the timeframe being consider. Perhaps some ‘inefficiency’ now in the immediate makes the whole ‘efficient’? Lose the battle, win the war idea.

What is your ideal and how can it change to make the whole, the bigger purpose an ideal more people can buy in to?

Photo by hadi hosseini


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