There is a weird dual-speed thing happening in organisations at the moment.

The pace at which modern technology can be developed and deployed is running at a far faster pace than the speed at which we as humans can adapt. My favourite benchmark here is the gap between the invention of the internal combustion engine-powered car and the opening of the UK’s first out of town shopping centre (for me the bricks and mortar embodiment of a culture that has adapted to the world of the automobile). Hazard a guess?

91 years (Benz’s car was 1885, Brent Cross was 1976).

Yes, information technology, and particularly internet-based systems can be delivered far more quickly than it takes to develop a shopping mall, but nonetheless online social networks were first developed in the 1970s (or the Roman era if you take them offline and start with graffiti, according to Tom Standish’s argument in his book The Writing on the Wall).

We are slow to adapt to the speed at which technology can be developed, as you’ll soon find out whenever the likes of Facebook drop a major redesign on the world.

On the other hand, however, the combination of resourcing and legacy technology means that for many organisations the IT department is seen as the slower party (and it often can be).

Managing these expectations, both ways, are a key priority for many of today’s CIOs.


I’ve recently launched Stamp London’s first physical product – a set of playing cards called CIO Priorities. You can find out more about them here, and order a set for yourself here (or simply download the PDF and print them out).

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