From Technology to Purpose in 5 Steps

I have always been a tech guy – not so much as a user, but as an imagineer – “what can this shiny new toy do for us?!”

It was what got me to my line of work – studying IT and leveraging hardware to develop my own creative arts projects. In the 2010s, it kick-started again with enterprise social technology. How do we bring private life community enablement into the workplace?

The brilliance of the tech tools like yammer was the sheer effortlessness of it. The cloud freed us from tinkering and upgrades. Suddenly, we could move away from program / tech management and protocols and focus on the value add – the techniques of collaboration and communication.

This was phase 2. How should we share? What should we share (and yes, what should we not share)? What is my role in the narrative of the work and the company? We stopped talking about technology, because the tech was given to us, in one piece, one size fits all. End. Of.

Instead, we discussed the work – across the organization, around the world. Yammer, and then Microsoft, flew me around North America to talk about this journey of discovery. People talking?! Who knew such a thing could happen openly and without huge process oversight?!

Once people were talking, and sharing, suddenly we had a plethora of content to use. Great, personal, from-the-horse’s-mouth content. Simple content – the wins, the updates, the milestones, the pats on the back. Pure organizational content, unadulterated. Phase 3. We were able to activate people and content, we had massive amounts of outputs to share with our external audience, which we quickly grew to 200k+. Everything was organic, simple, pure, and true.

As everyone shared and learned and iterated, new norms emerged. New shared feelings – our culture, which was always rich and real, became more tangible. We were able to note it and record it and theme it. Always true, now channelled better and iterated upon. The culture was not just the founder’s story – it was mine too, and yours. This begets better strategy conversations and organizational effectiveness outcomes – because we can see the language and feelings pulse through the organization. Phase 4.

And that gets us to now, and a clearer understanding of our purpose. The conversation has moved and evolved, and got BIGGER. No-one talks about technology, we talk about transformation. We are now in the first phases of our digital journey, and a lot of the work is tactical and technical, but we are able to frame it into a bigger narrative, into a more purposeful dialogue with all our stakeholders. This digital journey is the future of the company.

In the header image, Virpi captures the magic that happened back in the early ’10s. The cape is still used for good; it’s just used for different. From tools…to purpose, in 5 emergent steps. How’s your journey?

This Much We Know.

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