In the early 20th century, the clocktower was a ubiquitous technology that helped regulate public life. It was usually on a church or government building in the center of town and although it remained in the background, its familiar tolling provided a sense of place and belonging in the community.
There is an implicit ethic in the idea of a clocktower that’s worth considering.
How technologies have an impact at a human scale matters. How they are implemented and how they shape our behaviors are valuable questions to ponder now even more than at the turn of the last century.
It’s easier now to spin up a new technology platform. As an individual in a company, it’s trivial to start up a new (even rogue) instance of Slack, Hipchat or a dozen other applications, but is it the best way to collaborate in an organization even though it may be agile and relatively easy?
It’s easier for enterprises to create a technology platform experience that lives on all of our personal technology devices, but are those technologies being implemented thoughtfully and responsibly to engage employees, customers, and stakeholders? Does the technology provide what they most need? Or does it only serve the organization?
The relative ease of implementing new technology means that we need to spend less time thinking about how to implement and manage software and more about how it has an effect on people.