Forward Motion

The Devil's Chair

Motion is relative. I was reminded of this on a recent guided walk across the Shropshire Hills in the company of officers from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust . As we stood atop the Stiperstones close to the Devil’s Chair we were regailed by the epic 600 million year + story of Shropshire’s geological journey from what is now the Antarctic region. On that rocky road we’ve accumulated fossilised coral reefs, desert landscapes and tropical sea beds. But standing on the windswept ridge, the only thing that appears to be moving is the rustling grass and the showboating skylarks. But the journey that began all those years ago hasn’t ended. Shropshire is still on the move, albeit imperceptibly. Allow me one more natural analogy before I get to the point. A woodland is alive at this time of the year. Wild garlic covers the ground and trees burst into leaf. But even in winter, a woodland is still on the move. It is a cycle of germination, growth, decay, death and recycling. So, what are we to learn from this? Well, in terms of the woodland, if it aint growin, it’s dying. With respect to geological time, even if you can’t see movement, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. In both respects, nothing is stationary. I reflected on the nature of change in organisations in an earlier blog. Here, I’d like to put forward the case for pre-empting change. Unilateral innovation, if you like. In my new role, I’ve often been challenged by non-techies with the cry “Yes, but how many people actually own a smart phone?”. It’s a fair comment but often masks a resistance to, or fear of new technology. I’m sure you’ve done your research and understand the emerging trends but the analogy I use in this scenario is;

“Imagine someone came to you and said that in 5 years time they would invent the motor car and you responded by saying ‘give me a call in 4 years time and I’ll explore building some roads.’ Would that make sound business sense?” 

I’m keen to explore the use of QR Codes and Microsoft Tags as a suppliment to traditional forms of information delivery. View it as ‘digital’ alongside ‘analogue’. Both forms are free to generate and the apps are free to download. So, why shouldn’t we begin to add codes as a matter of course?  

Local authorities can and should be innovators or at least early adopters. The world has changed but then it always does, doesn’t it?


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