Getting By, Not Getting On: Technology in UK workplaces (2003)

This is a bookmark more than anything for a report published in 2003 that inspired me a lot at the time and my approach to information technology:

New technologies are often poorly designed, delivered, managed and maintained on the ground. Managers lack the interest, staff often lack the skill to do it any better. Persistent myths about ICT and what it can do compound the problem. They obscure complex, untidy workplace realities, and make it harder for managers and employees to understand and use ICT appropriately. Technological systems thinking of this kind is inadequate at portraying how technology actually works to real life organisations. But when key decisions were handed over to technologists, as they usually were, it is this perspective that often decided what is done.

Low tech equilibrium arises from the messy realities of organisational life. It is reinforced by bad decisions and poor application of ICT, and compounded by fuzzy thinking about technology.

The original publisher has removed (or lost) it from its site since then, but I recently discovered a couple of places where you can still download a full PDF copy:

Coincidentally and well before I started working for Headshift, Lee Bryant also wrote this post about the same report.

It is well worth a read. In most workplaces, the ‘low tech equilibrium’ described in this report continues to be a major challenge.