Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Change and Software

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Nov 15, 2006

Responding to: Change

It's one thing to say this: "we must change existing conditions so that it is normal and possible for a majority of people to move forward."

And something very different to say this: "how can I assist my institution, and others, in understanding and responding to change?"

Empowering the organization is not the same as empowering the individuals within that organization, and indeed, the two from time to time work at cross-purposes.

This is why (to address what I see as a major challenge for Michael's new company) I have never interacted with Oracle.

Nothing Oracle produces helps me as an individual. It does empower my employer, but not in any way that helps me, and sometimes in ways that hinder me.

From my perspective there are two approaches to effecting the widespread use of some software:

- scalability - the software can get bigger
- networking - instances of the software can talk to each ofther

The problem with scalability, in my mind is:

- the software gets unnecessarily complex, as it must incorporate features for a wider base of users
- the software gets more expensive

Scalable, enterprise-level software is beyon the reach of the individual, because it is too expensive and too complex. By its very nature, then, it empowers the enterprise, but it disempowers the individual.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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